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Deliberate Acts: 6th Annual SITE Scholar Exhibition

April 28-May 20, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, April 28, 5-7 pm
Artist Talks:
Saturday, April 28, 2-3 pm

SITE Santa Fe is building a new wing of its building from the ground up—and that’s not their only construction project this season. The contemporary museum space is teaming up with form & concept to lay the foundations of art careers for students across New Mexico. The gallery is pleased to announce Deliberate Acts, the sixth annual exhibition of the SITE Scholar program (2016-17). The program offers art world opportunities to 15 outstanding student artists from institutions across the state, culminating in the group show at form & concept opening Friday, April 28 from 5-7 pm.  

When SITE Santa Fe set out to design an education program targeted at college-age artists, there was one pitfall they wanted to avoid. “We looked at what other museums were doing, and so many of them only offered unpaid internships,” says Joanne Lefrak, Education Director of the contemporary museum space. “We didn’t want to ask students to work for us for free.” Then she heard about the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, and something clicked. The institution offers free studio and exhibition space for young artists, curators and critics. Lefrak and her team crafted an experience that offered a wide range of opportunities to higher education students across New Mexico. The SITE Scholar program is now in its sixth year, and has served 75 undergraduate and graduate-level artists so far.

“SITE Scholars hands up-and-coming artists a Swiss army knife of tools to navigate the art world,” says Frank Rose, Gallery Director of form & concept. “It’s such a generous program, and we were more than happy to host this year’s exhibition.” The annual show usually takes place at SITE Santa Fe, but the museum is currently undergoing a major expansion that will be completed in fall 2017. form & concept, which is a short walk away from SITE in the Railyard Arts District, will offer the SITE Scholars a new bridge into the gallery world.

Each year, SITE engages administrators and educators at institutions across New Mexico to select 15 student artists for the SITE Scholar program. “The selection is not just based on the quality of their work, but their willingness to take advantage of opportunities,” says Lefrak. New SITE Scholars are honored in a ceremony, and given a high-level membership to the museum that allows them to attend VIP events. They’re also awarded a North American Reciprocal Museum card, which allows them free entrance into over 700 participating institutions. Lefrak sets up meetings for the SITE Scholars with artists and curators that pass through the institution, and guides them as they plan and promote the SITE Scholar exhibition.

“They get the opportunity to learn how to be treated like a professional artist,” Lefrak says. “Showing at form & concept will teach them how to present their work in a formal setting. They’ll learn everything, from installing their work to writing a press release.” The program doesn’t officially end with the final exhibition: Lefrak stays in contact with program alumni, and they’ve formed networks with each other. “There’s a group of SITE Scholars in New York that have connected with each other. The program can really help them over the span of their careers.”

Molly Zimmer, an MFA student at University of New Mexico, was nominated for SITE Scholars by her drawing and painting professor Scott Anderson. Her latest work incorporates drawings, paintings and sound pieces to reflect on land politics and water rights in the Southwest. “This program really understands what emerging artists are up to in New Mexico,” Zimmer says. “We don’t have the same opportunities as artists who typically show at SITE. Now the people that go to SITE’s shows will get to see our work and hear about us in a different context.”

Rowyn Alarid is finishing up her last semester as a Media Arts MFA at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico. For her thesis project, she produced and directed a television pilot. She plans to exhibit video art in Deliberate Acts. “I’m a little intimidated, but definitely feeling empowered and very grateful,” she says of her experience so far. “Everyone that I’ve told has said, ‘That’s a big deal!’”

Rowyn Alarid – Highlands University
David Beams – Institute of American Indian Arts
Justus Benally – Institute of American Indian Arts
Sarah Canelas – Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Conor Flynn – Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Kemely Gomez – Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Isaak Hoffman – Santa Fe Community College
Owen Kobasz- St. John’s College
Daniel McCoy – Institute of American Indian Arts
Nami Okuzono- Institute of American Indian Arts
Eric-Paul Riege – University of New Mexico
Kristen Roles – University of New Mexico
Alexandra Rose – Institute of American Indian Arts
Emily Villarma – Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Molly Zimmer – University of New Mexico

Click here to learn more about the 2016/17 SITE Scholars. The opening reception for Deliberate Acts is Friday, April 28 from 5-7 pm. The exhibition runs through May 20, 2017.

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