The SITE Scholar Program is an initiative to honor college and graduate level creative students in the community. Founded with the goal to increase student participation in the museum and contemporary art world, this program enables students to enrich their educational experience. Comprised of top students from The Santa Fe University of Art and Design, the University of New Mexico, the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Santa Fe Community College, St John’s College, and Highlands University, these nominated students are recognized by SITE Santa Fe as high achieving leaders within their schools. The students selected for the SITE Scholar program are given opportunities to network and work on projects that help them transition from student to professional artist. Additionally, the students are presented with a membership card that gives these students free access to SITE’s programs as well as membership in the North American Reciprocal Museum Program and the Modern/Contemporary Membership program, both of which offer complimentary admission to most art museums nationwide.

2014/15 SITE Scholars

Biographical information about the scholars:
Miranda Blas has always been creative and artistic. Her earliest memories involve messy paints, brushes, crumbly chalk, and the intense want to make things. As she has grown older and into her intelligence, she come to know art as a dynamic way of life. Her experience at St. John’s College these past four years has deepened her appreciation for a creativity and her personal relationship to art. She is grateful for the recognition of this from the St. John’s community and SITE Santa Fe.

Brian Clinton came to Santa Fe from Northern California in 2012 to attend the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Arriving at school as a painter he quickly moved into sculpture employing a variety of media, most recently including video and audio components. Exploring each medium thoroughly in his work, Brian aims to apply them uniquely and successfully to convey his concepts. His work is greatly identity based, linked to personal experience and executed to connect to a broader spectrum of concepts and relate to the greater viewing public.

Melissa Dulanto

Andrea Gallegos was born and raised in Las Vegas, NM. She grew up working on a ranch, which is where she gained the appreciation of working and building projects with her hands, using mostly wood.  She worked as a Production Manager and AD Operations Manager at an online advertising company for 4 years in Colorado Springs, CO. After the company downsized due to the economy collapse, she moved back to Las Vegas to finish her degree at NMHU. Andrea graduated with a BFA and is currently working on her masters degree in the MAC program at NMHU.

Jesse Garcia was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is where he currently resides. He did not have any formal training in the arts prior to attending CNM Community College (2010), and now attends Santa Fe University of Art and Design (2013-2015), perusing a BFA in Studio arts (final year).  His work consists of narrative paintings encompassing personal a deep personal narrative exploring his own existence both here on planet earth in the physical and within his own mind. His work in progress associates with what he believes to be existence in four parts memory, being, waiting, and light. He often recreates scenes, incorporates symbology of his own design to examine not only the creation of his own narrative but to understand (or try to) how it can play a role on how the story unfolds.

Erik Gellert
is an artist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His aptitude for the arts first emerged out of the medium of clay leading him to pursue the study of drawing and painting. He applied these skills working as a preservationist, working with historians to recreate wall textures and color schemes in many notable homes including the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. He moved from Chicago to Santa Fe in 2011 to pursue advanced studies in ceramics at Santa Fe Community College.

Lara Goldmann moved to New Mexico in 2013 from Berlin, Germany with a Stipe from the DAAD. Interested in the multi-disciplinary approach towards the arts here, she decided to continue her studies and pursue a MFA within the Arts & Ecology department at UNM. In her work she tries to re-interpret the differences and layers of individual perception, mainly in installations, using rhythm and repetition, fragmentation and quotations, single elements of various media to create a space that reaffirms and negates itself; an open end, a line of thought that moves in circles.

Emma Goos
in her final year of studies at St. John’s College, is an emerging artist. She grew up in the town of Aurora, CO, where life is often more a question of surviving than of thriving. Encouraged to put academics first throughout high school in order to escape said living conditions, a natural aptitude for the visual fell to the back burner. It was not until pursuing higher education at St. John’s College that she was able to stoke the creative fire within her and, for once, allow that unrestful inner voice to express itself. Tentative at the idea of throwing oneself into pure expression, she has fiddled with different mediums, including charcoal drawings, fiber arts, and music composition. One medium which has risen above the others is photography. Just this past summer, she picked up a camera and began looking at the world through a tool which allowed her to simultaneously distance herself from the world whilst actively arranging what a viewer will see of it.  She is now using the lens to explore anonymity. By portraying emptiness and silence, photography has enabled her to understand not only how she sees the world, but also how the world sees her.

Abbey Hepner
is a conceptual artist investigating the human relationship with the landscape and technology. Using the mediums of photography, video, public art intervention, web interaction and electronic processes, she considers issues related to population growth, man-made disasters, and the complex and often contradictory roles surrounding technological progress. She addresses the psychological motivations existing in the gray area between political extremes and the complexity of hyperobjects. Hepner holds bachelors degrees in Art and Cognitive Psychology from the University of Utah. Her work on the topic of nuclear energy made her the recent recipient of a Puffin Foundation grant. She is an international exhibiting artist, recently finishing a body of work in Japan and participating in a residency and solo exhibition in Berlin, Germany. She is currently an MFA student in photography at the University of New Mexico.

Ian Kerstetter is an artist of Oneida and European-American heritage. He is currently completing his BFA in Art & Ecology at the University of New Mexico with a minor in Sustainability Studies. As a queer indigenous artist, Ian is passionately interested in the intersections of identity, food, community, healing, and storytelling. Ian is trained in a variety of traditional and digital media, and often works in interdisciplinary, collaborative contexts. His most recent work includes a mural in downtown Albuquerque created with young artists to celebrate growth and collaboration as central to healthy communities, and creating a food + identity workshop as part of his undergraduate thesis work. Ian is a founding member of Vecinos Artist Collective, a group of New Mexican artists who work to strengthen the endeavors of local organizations and communities through powerful artistic collaboration.​

Betsy Leonard was born on April 5, 1991 in Montpellier, France. Her interests lie in the three-dimensional. The materials that she uses for her sculptures and instillations vary as the idea generally manifests itself before the construction. Although she doesn’t favor any material over another she spent seven years building ponds. The familiarity with stone can be seen in her work. Leonard also has a fascination with light and shadow. The content of her work is directly affiliated with her past and present being. Because she traveled extensively as a child one can see ideas of displacement, longing, fear, and uncertainty as well as beauty. Her work also touches on sexuality as she has a fascination with multiple phallic forms. She equates these with death as well as they are also reminiscent of maggots. Leonard attended Maryland institute College of Art and design for a year and a half before transferring to Santa Fe University of Art and Design. She is inspired by many artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama, Tara Donovan, Bruce Nauman, and Sandy Skoglund.

Monty Little is studying at the Institute of American Indian Arts with a double major in Creative Writing and Studio Arts. His current work reflects on his experience of war and duration as a rifleman. Little’s paintings and prints are his understanding and observations of his service during and after war. His multi-application of acrylic and oil, sand, joint-compound, and charcoal are the marginalia to his obscured memories.  Little uses each medium as erasure, where unsettling truths reveal personal components and texture is integral, yet disruptive to find his past chaotic.

Jasper Mockingbird

Siera Reisler
relocated to Santa Fe from Northampton, Massachusetts in 2013. She is a multimedia artist currently in her last year of undergraduate studies at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Persistently exploring the thematic capacities of accumulation and endurance, her work is about the process of working. Often performance-based, her art objects reveal themselves through obsessive curiosity and extended duration. As of late, she is concerned with impulsiveness, inefficiency, and sparse functionality. She is especially interested in information and objects that are only useful in acutely specific situations, or those which were realized in an equally urgent and tedious way.

Franco Andres makes work located at the intersection of the naturally occurring and the manufactured while drawing from his own experience as source material. Andres grew up in Miami, FL and after a stint as a pre-medical student at the University of Miami moved to NYC where he studied at SVA and embarked on a career working with interiors. A move from San Francisco to Santa Fe prompted a shift in sensibility contributing to his current work’s decidedly post-minimalist, gestural aesthetic.

Elizabeth Starks
‘ background is in Studio Art: Drawing and Painting, and she has spent the last ten years designing for both print and web for such employers and clients as the San Diego Natural History Museum, La Jolla Historical Society, School for Advanced Research IARC, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Haak’u Museum, and others. Her interest in exhibit design and cultural preservation led her to the Institute of American Indian Arts where she completed the Museum Studies Certificate, and she is currently in her last year of the Software-driven Systems Design Master’s program at NMHU, developing digital and physical interactive applications for cultural institutions. In her own art, she is interested in combining traditional art making techniques with accessible electronics and exploring how, “smart,” devices influence how we learn about our own cultures and express ourselves.

William Thoms
was born in southwest Washington State in 1974 and raised in a failed timber community on the edge of the Chehalis Indian Reservation. Since receiving his B.S. in Motion Picture Studies from Emerson College, Thoms has parlayed his education and film experience into a broader study of the visual arts. Inspired by the special effects industry and applied sciences, his work pairs industrial and commercial arts mediums with an exploration of the traditional Coast Salish native motifs of his homeland. Thoms has exhibited in a handful of minor galleries on the west coast, spurring the emerging artist to invest in more formal art studies. He currently attends the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico concentrating in sculpture and fabrication.

Mira Woodson
work embraces design through multiple lenses: textile + graphic design and photography + architecture all inform and reform her relationship with the built and imagined environment. She attempts to explore sensory experiences, narrative, identity, adjacency, and memory through storytelling. One of her interests is the storytelling role of textiles in historical narratives, and their continuing relevance in pop culture and couture today. Fibers chronicle emotional landscapes cultivated throughout the seasons. Whether in Peruvian embroidery, Japanese indigo, the soothing memory of a childhood blankie, or a runway show by Yohji Yamamoto are territories where personal and cultural stories are being told.

2013/14 SITE Scholars

Please watch this video about our 2013/14 SITE Scholars:


Biographical information about the scholars:
Lea Marta Andersson moved to New Mexico in 2003 from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico in 2008 and is currently an MFA candidate working within the disciplines of Art & Ecology and Painting & Drawing at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Andersson has traveled widely, bringing notions of place, both geographical and cosmological, to her minimalist paintings.

Seiya Bowen is a Japanese-American student at the University of New Mexico, pursuing a degree in Studio Arts, Photography. Coming from a multi-racial background, Bowen is mainly interested in the theme of identity. His work questions our inability to relate as human beings and the barriers within ourselves that keep us separate.

Destini Duran is a fashion design student at the Santa Fe Community College and has been designing for about a year now. Destini loves fashion and creating beautiful garments for women of all shapes and sizes. She strives to make the woman wearing her clothes feel beautiful, elegant, sophisticated, but also a little edgy and sexy. In 2013 she was chosen to show for Santa Fe fashion week as an emerging designer. Destini’s line is called Destinista Fashions.

Julia Edmonds is from the Kiowa and Caddo tribes of Oklahoma. She grew up in Southern California and has been attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the last 4 years. She is a senior majoring in Studio Arts, with a focus in painting. Her work leans towards Abstract Expressionism. She was inducted into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society on October 22, 2013.

David Estrada is an independent filmmaker and photographer, currently based in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He received a BFA in Film Production from the University of Central Florida and later served as a cinematography lecturer to UCF undergraduates. David worked as an editor and camera/photo assistant at Deeb Studios in Orlando, Florida, and as a freelancer and production assistant for various directors in New York City. He spent two seasons living in Denali National Park, Alaska, where he served as a photographer, cinematographer, and video editor for Aramark Sports, LLC, editing documentary-style videos for clients. David won the Best Cinematography Award at The Freak Show Film Festival in 2009 for the short film, “The Sleuth Incident”. He won third place in the Cannes Young Lions competition in 2008 for his original commercial, “Our America,” and his short film, “Tears in the Rain,” won the Bronze REMI award at the Houston Worldfest. He has spent three years documenting the economies and lives of coffee farmers in Latin America. David has led photography workshops with National Geographic Student Expeditions programs in Alaska, Iceland, Greece, Italy, Ecuador and the Grand Canyon. He is interested in how photography is changing with emerging technology, and he wants to experiment with interactive media while he pursues his MA in Media Arts at New Mexico Highlands University.

Since childhood, Sango Imai-Hall wanted to be a cartoonist. After high school he attended the Center for Cartoon Studies, a new college dedicated to comics. After graduation, Sango enrolled at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where he hoped to improve his skills as a visual artist and creative writer. At SFUAD he became preoccupied with the questions every artist must face: Who am I? What inspires me? What is my message? He began exploring these questions in his work while also experimenting with different mediums and aesthetics. He has used his studies in art history and contemporary culture to understand his role in the artistic canon. Today, he sees a general discord between the arts and entertainment and wishes to rectify their differences in his work, utilizing both pop and academic culture to create meaningful yet accessible stories and artworks. Sango’s work can be viewed at:

Shelbie Loomis grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and currently attends Santa Fe University of Art and Design on a full scholarship. Shelbie uses monochromatic colors and themes to create large-scale charcoal drawings and sculptures that express controlled environments of life and death. She also utilizes materials such as graphite, ink, charcoal, light bulbs, copper, water, bug life, and plants. Shelbie is currently a senior and plans to attend graduate school in the fall of 2014 to further explore studio arts and social practice.

Diana Padilla is originally from Mexico City. She is now in her last year of college in the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, with a major in Studio Art. She loves painting, but her main interest is in museum and curatorial studies. Diana was an intern in the Education Department at SITE Santa Fe in 2012, and she is currently working as an intern at ARTsmart.

A.J Peters was born and raised on Bainbridge Island, a thirty-minute ferry ride from Seattle, WA. He began to dabble in digital photography in high school, and in little time, pulled his mom’s Minolta out from the dusty shoebox it lived in and constructed a makeshift darkroom in the bathroom. At first he loved the ability to chronicle what was happening around him, but he slowly started to realize that his photos were actually more personal than that and shared an inward vision. After high school, A.J. spent seven months traveling in South America and felt at home with just a camera in his hand. He’s since continued to shoot, using mostly digital photography. A.J. Peters currently attends St. John’s College. His photos can be seen at

Elizabeth Shores is currently working on several projects under the umbrella of a faux institute called ‘My Presence is Productive, Inc.’, exploring different aspects of production, agency, and power through a series of projects ranging from performances and video archives to educational pamphlets, guided tours, drawings and paintings. Shores is seeking not only to understand the societal frameworks that define her by what she makes as an artist and as an individual, but also the ways in which these structures illuminate foundational concepts of society. Having received her BFA in Intermedia from The University of Iowa, she is currently pursuing an MFA at The University of New Mexico and has exhibited in museums and galleries both nationally and internationally.

Laura Walkingstick is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, NC. In 2005 she completed an AFA in Studio Arts at Institute of American Indian Arts and is now completing her BFA in studio arts, with her concentrations in ceramics and jewelry. At the age of 10 she learned how to sew pieces of scrap materials to make doll clothes. In 2006 while working an internship for the Museum of the Cherokee Indians she decided to create her own unique cloth dolls, fashioned in 18th century style clothing. Her inspirations come from Cherokee doll makers, Richard and Berdina Crowe, who made wooden dolls. Her work reflects various Cherokee traditions with unique contemporary ideas. While dolls are her main interest, she continues to explore historical ceramic works from a variety of cultures to incorporate new ideas and designs into her doll making.


Lauren Addario, AmeriCorps Cultural Technology Coordinator at New Mexico Highlands University

Scott Marshall Anderson, Painting and Drawing Professor, University of New Mexico

Ezra Estes, Program Head, Fashion Design, Santa Fe Community College

Mark Herndon, Studio Arts Chair, Institute of American Indian Arts

Adrienne Salinger, Photography Professor, University of New Mexico

Linda Swanson, Chair of the Art Department, Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Charlene Teters, Chair of the Art Department, Institute of American Indian Arts

Diane Tintor, Associate Professor of Art History and Jewelry and Metal Arts, Santa Fe Community College

Mary Tsiongas, Associate Chair & Graduate Director, Associate Professor Electronic Arts, Art & Art History, University of New Mexico

Edward Walpin, Assistant Dean, St. Johns University


2012/13 SITE Scholars

Please watch this video about our 2012/13 SITE Scholars:


SITE Scholars 2012/13
SITE Scholars 2012/13


Biographical information about the scholars:
Brandee Caoba is mixed media artist, blurring the line between painting and photography. Her work alternates between analog and digital, and explores the relationships of how we relate to the narratives of myth and mythologies as individuals and as a society. She is the former apprentice of feminist artist and activist May Stevens, and most recently interned with Bostick and Sullivan furthering her exploration of hand crafted photography and alternative processes. She is in her final year at The Institute of American Indian Arts.

India Cochrane is from Baltimore, Maryland and is currently a sophomore at St John’s College. She has been drawing her whole life, but she picked up art more seriously in high school where she built a portfolio of mostly charcoal drawings, oil paintings and a few pieces in fashion design. She rediscovered her love for visual art and took many painting and drawing classes in 9th and 10th grade, then in 11th grade she learned to design and create clothing. She decided upon a different route for college and chose St John’s where she passionately studies the Classics of the Western world through the Great Books Program. Art is not offered at St John’s; because of this she has once again rediscovered her love for making visual art and her need for a creative outlet.

Nina Dubois is an artist whose work and research focuses on the ways in which the built environment is informed by and reflects our understanding of natural systems. Through sculptural and architectural installations, she explores the pragmatic, phenomenological, and symbolic aspects of those relationships. After receiving a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, she participated in the Land Arts of the American West program at the University of New Mexico, where she is currently finishing her MFA with a focus in Art & Ecology. Current projects include collaboration with Jeanette Hart-Mann and Chrissie Orr on the SeedBroadcast Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station, and SOUND COLONY, an outdoor sculptural/sound installation sited at the Alvarado Urban Farm in conjunction with ISEA 2012 Machine Wilderness.

Katherine Goldman started off as an art student, then changed course and spent a number of years traveling and working as a chef.  She has recently become involved in making art again.  She is currently attending Santa Fe Community College in preparation to complete her bachelor’s degree in linguistics and art at the University of New Mexico.

Hannah Hoel’s current work emphasizes repeated action, employing fiber arts within a formal setting while exploring the relationship between the handmade and the geometric.  She is pursuing her second bachelor’s degree at Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Studio Art after previously earning a BA in Visual Culture from Goldsmiths College, London, and an MA in Eastern Classics from St. John’s College, Santa Fe.

A product of the Peace Corps, KB Jones was raised in the US and Africa. She received her BA from Columbia University in 2002 and lived and worked in the New York art world before moving to New Mexico for her graduate studies.  A second year MFA candidate at UNM, she is primarily a painter. Her work is about the figure, culture, and the practice of painting: her connection to everyone.

Lucy Madeleine is a multidisciplinary artist working in performance, sculpture and installation. She is interested in the relationship between language and the body and makes work that explores this dynamic through visual metaphor. Recently relocated to Santa Fe from Los Angeles, CA, she is completing her BFA in Studio Arts at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

KaiLani Mayer holds on to things. Her installations are carefully constructed spaces that incorporate both personal belongings as well as found objects. Focusing on preservation and the human impulse to keep things, she is interested in how we collect pieces of evidence of our past in order to have a way of understanding ourselves. She pushes her honesty, authenticity and vulnerability in order to establish an intimate experience with the viewer. Playing with both revealing and hiding, she strives to connect with the viewer while also maintaining a distance or sense of longing. Currently, she is working on her honor’s thesis work for her BFA at the University of New Mexico.

Jessica Minnich moved from Portland, Oregon to Santa Fe where she is a junior at SFUAD. She is interested in ideas of morbidity and the uncanny and explores notions of gender identity through her performance.

Conor Peterson is in his final year of studies as a graduate student of Electronic Art at the University of New Mexico, where he moved after studying at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Though primarily raised by roving packs of coffee and semi intelligent tree moss, Conor has taken a liking to the relics of nuclear science that litter the desert of New Mexico. Inspired by the historical complexity of the area, Conor has been transmuting the concerns of new media into novel technological works by applying his background in computer science and engineering. He recently helped to organize the Underground Symposium of Electronic Art, a metashow coincident with ISEA 2012 that emphasized local experimental art.

Alycia Smith was born in Oregon. She completed her BA in Philosophy at University of Oregon and is currently working toward an MA in Liberal Arts at St. John’s College. Her primary focus in art is poetry and photography. She is interested in the notion of transience in art, and artwork as interactive and evolving activity.

Miles Tokunow is a multimedia storyteller. He is both an artist and educator. Currently a Masters Candidate at Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM, Miles is interested in creating interactive performance spaces combining dance, film and sound. Miles has worked at and with non-profits in Santa Fe teaching elementary, high school and college students how to tell their own stories through different forms of media. He is currently in the process of making collaborative art that focuses on social change through multimedia performance.

Trang Minh Vu was born in Saigon, Vietnam. One of 11 siblings and the youngest of 7 girls, she immigrated to United States after the Vietnam War. Trang earned her MFA in 1995 from UC Irvine in Video Installation with an emphasis on Marginalized Identity. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is pursuing a degree in photography at the Santa Fe Community College. Her approach to exploring gender and the body utilizes a personal photographic narrative: a silent dialog with the camera.  The subject is the viewer’s perception of sexuality, emotion, cultural and social restraints.  The visual language includes abstract elements, ordinary objects, fetish images and the human form.  Nuance, innuendo, and symbolic constructions are all present and important.

Crystal Demientieff Worl is Raven moiety, Sockeye Clan, from the Raven House from the Chilkat region in Southeast Alaska. From her mother’s side, she is Deg Hit’an Athabascan from Fairbanks Alaska. She was introduced at a young age to her traditional arts, practices, and story telling. Today she is a senior in both Studio Arts and Moving Images at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Crystal works in jewelry metals, glass, and painting. The forms Crystal focuses on are based on traditional Tlingit form line (aka Northwest Coast Design.) Today at IAIA Crystal utilizes her education to apply new techniques and ways of presenting that have not been done before to traditional designs and stories. It is her responsibility to carry on her ancestral knowledge of creation and life through contemporary story and art and pass it down to the next generations.


Lauren Addario, AmeriCorps Cultural Technology Coordinator at New Mexico Highlands University

Michael Hoffer, Design Chair, School of Arts + Design Program Head, Sculpture, Ceramics Assistant Professor, Fine Woodworking Santa Fe Community College

Scott Marshall Anderson, Painting and Drawing Professor, University of New Mexico

André Ruesch, Chair of Arts, Professor of Photography, School of Arts + Design at Santa Fe Community College

Adrienne Salinger, Photography Professor, University of New Mexico

Linda Swanson, Chair of the Art Department, Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Charlene Teters, Chair of the Art Department, Institute of American Indian Arts

Mary Tsiongas, Associate Chair & Graduate Director, Associate Professor Electronic Arts, Art & Art History, University of New Mexico

Edward Walpin, Assistant Dean, St. Johns University