Opening Celebration: SITE Scholars 10
Celebrate 10 years of SITE Scholars at the opening of the 2023 cohort’s exhibition! Join us for a hand-holding by SITE Scholar Marlene Tafoya, a DJ set by CAROL, food by Dos Amigos, drinks by Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery, and art by some of New Mexico’s most accomplished emerging artists.
Congratulations to exhibiting artists Kristen Toledo, Sierra Gutierrez, Frank Reynolds, Blayne Greiner, Christoper Schuldt, Marlene Tafoya, Eliza Lutz, Adelaide Theriault, Daniel Forest, Lydia Gonzales, August Baldy, Rose Driscoll, Sydney Whitten, Peter Sloan, Mekko Harjo, Erin Gingrich, Jontay Kahm, and Jerome Nakagawa!
About the Artists
Kristen Toledo, born in 2000, grew up on the Navajo Nation and is currently living in Rio Rancho, NM. She is a self-taught artist who mainly focuses on digital media and graphite-based works, Although Kristen likes a variety of art forms she mainly focuses on realism and life studies. In her spare time, she likes to crochet, bake, and play with her pets. After taking a break from high school she decided to go to college and pursue a degree in Fine Arts. One of her goals is to expand her knowledge in the world of art, such as trying new mediums to challenge herself. With this opportunity she will be able to take a huge step towards a career she would enjoy.
Sierra Gutierrez: “I am a young artist born and raised in Albuquerque NM and am currently studying Fine Arts (a double major in Studio Arts and Art History) at CNM. I have been doing art as far back as I can recall; both my art and I have evolved quite a bit over time and are still constantly changing the more I grow and learn. Art is the first language I ever felt fluent in and is one of the few things that bring pure joy into my life. I started off just using pencils but soon branched off into charcoal, pens, markers, pastels, acrylics, and more recently paper mache and mixed media sculpting. I really love live figure drawing and live portrait drawing, but more so I adore creating what I like to call “creatures.” These little monsters create themselves almost as much as I do, and as their form starts to take life beneath my fingertips I can almost see the way they move, how big they are, and what sounds they would make. They have stories too, hidden behind wide eyes or soft smiles. More often than not I relate deeply to each creature on an emotional level that is hard to explain; they are my art, and they are able to communicate in ways I am not.”
Francis Reynolds is an artist working with photography and collage to explore the resonances of images from the past in the present. Trained in literature and having worked in journalism, he brings an awareness of the different ways images (photographic, poetic, and other) operate in media and the wider culture to his practice. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Reed College and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in the University of New Mexico’s Studio Art program.
Blayne Greiner is a multi-disciplinary artist whose current work focuses on the connections between people, ecology, and technology. They hold a B.A. in Theater from Columbia College Chicago and are currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Experimental Art and Technology from the University of New Mexico. Other activities include creating electronic music compositions using a modular synthesizer, drinking caffeinated beverages, and working as a carpenter / electro-mechanical fabricator for Meow Wolf.
Christopher Schuldt is a painter dedicated to abstraction. His process is guided by reflecting on culture as a container, infrastructure as support, and transmission as mobility. He believes that intuition is to be trusted and that the will to live is born from desire. Christopher paints because he desires to paint. Without desire what is life? He hopes that the work expresses something about life that could not otherwise be expressed. He received a BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of New Mexico.”
Marlene Tafoya is an Indigenous artist, performer, and manicurist from the Los Angeles Harbor Area. In 2015, she received a BA in Studio Art from California State University Long Beach and is currently pursuing her MFA in Sculpture at the University of New Mexico. Breaking the traditional barriers of presenting artwork, Marlene enjoys involving her family and friends through interaction and exchange. While addressing decolonization as a means of survival, building trust and humor are the two main formalities of her work. Trying her best to live by words from Oasa DuVerney, (in Five Ways to Disrupt White Supremacy in the Mainstream Art World) Marlene, hopes to be “gangsta” and continue creating for current and future generations to come. Tafoya has exhibited her work at Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach CA, Honor Fraser, Los Angeles CA, University Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM, Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque NM, Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles CA, and LAXART, Hollywood CA. Additionally, she co-curated Language, a union among artists and The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and Safe Space LA, an alternative art space hosted by Slanguage Studio.
Eliza Lutz is an artist, graphic designer, and musician based in New Mexico. Working primarily as a printmaker, painter, illustrator, and songwriter, their work explores the dissonance between one’s internal and external worlds, and the relationships between trauma, chronic illness, and time. They are a UNM student in the Linguistics Department’s shared-credit BA/MA program and are pursuing research at the intersection of linguistics, disability studies, and accessible design.
Adelaide Theriault is a transdisciplinary artist currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their work revolves around biomimicry and the cyclical inter-functioning of living systems. Adelaide works with found and naturally abundant material to explore their own relationship to more-than-human beings, with a particular interest in addressing and rejecting learned objectification in exchange for a perspective that honors the dynamic complexities of the life cycles of all things, with no determined beginning or end. They are interested in interconnectivity and live circuits, and in mapping out fluid paths between worlds. Through a playful push and pull between archival documentation and reimagination, Adelaide explores new eco-niches that evolve from the overgrown spaces of anthropocentric infrastructure; that offer glimpses into possible futures beyond the expected lifetimes of today’s machines. Adelaide is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of New Mexico.
Daniel Forest: “Clay is my primary medium. Sculpture is the form it takes. I’m currently in the MFA program in studio arts at the University of New Mexico. Large scale projects evolve from a paradigm of displacement and rootlessness, not in order to provide answers or solutions but to engage with the oft suppressed undercurrent of anxiety that enshrouds a person or a culture in relation to these topics. I teach intro to ceramics as a TA, and also have a well-established studio practice in Santa Fe when not working full time at the University.”
Lydia Gonzales is a multimedia artist from Ribera, New Mexico. She is currently in her senior year at New Mexico Highlands University where she is pursuing a BFA in Media Arts & Technology with an emphasis in Multimedia and Interactivity. She has a passion for Interaction Design, Physical Computing, and 3D modeling. Her design experience has led her to work with some local organizations, such as the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and Electric Playhouse. Lydia’s personal work emphasizes women’s rights and also her heritage.
August Baldy: “I was born in Albuquerque and raised in Las Vegas, New Mexico. I’m a 21-year-old videography student at New Mexico Highlands University. I’ve been a part of the Media Arts program for three years now and have been lucky enough to participate in an inspiring and motivating environment that has allowed me to grow both as a person and an artist. My favorite form of media, as you may have guessed, is video. I fell in love with visual storytelling ever since I was a little kid, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have the ability to express myself and my thoughts through such a diverse and powerful medium.”
Rose Driscoll: “I am a sculptor who has primarily worked in steel, bronze, aluminum and wood. Recently, I decided to switch mediums and learn the nuances of ‘clay.’ It’s been a steep learning curve from the fabrication of ‘hard’ materials to working my relationship with ‘malleable.’ I’ve learned the importance of managing ‘moisture’ as I helplessly witnessed ‘the slow crumble’ of what just a moment before…was a ‘completed’ piece. And finally, surface treatment is subjected to the ‘unknown,’ when what ‘makes’ or ‘breaks’ a piece is in control of The Kiln Gods. I received a BFA in New York’s St. John’s University, but my true education in the making of art began at the Santa Fe Community College. Its fully equipped studios come alive when its professionally skilled instructors both teach and mentor students in what feels like an MFA program.”
Sydney Whitten is a practicing multimedia artist. Most recently they spent a summer in France at the Marchutz School of Fine Art studying oil landscape painting, which was the first formal training in art that they have received. Here, Sydney was introduced to oil paints—a medium which they have embraced wholeheartedly. Throughout their life, their love of people and little moments has brought them time and time again to portraiture in whatever medium they could manage—from photography, to charcoals, to linocut printing. After Marchutz, they began a new practice of oil portraits, one which they are excited to continue. Sydney is currently a senior at St. John’s college, studying Liberal Arts and the Great Books.
Peter Sloan is a photographer and student of liberal arts at St. John’s College in Santa Fe. He grew up in a series of rural towns on the northern west coast. His interest in photography started at a young age and has always revolved around the natural world. He is currently interested in photography as a practiced reflexive interaction with the profound beauty, complex histories, and constant motion of daily life.
Mekko Harjo is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Mekko grew up in Los Angeles, CA and attended Bard College, receiving his BA in photography. After 10+ years as a documentary and fashion photographer, he shifted focus to ceramic sculpture and digital media. His practice is a reflection of an ongoing reconciliation of his personal history with his ancestral heritage. Mekko is Shawnee, Muscogee, Seminole, Jewish and an enrolled member of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma. He is currently an MFA candidate at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM.
Erin Ggaadimits Ivalu Gingrich is a Koyukon Athabascan and Inupiaq carver, designer, photographer and installation artist living, working and subsisting in the subarctic climate of South-Central Alaska. Honoring her arctic and subarctic ancestral homelands, Ivalu’s work represents what has tied her and her ancestors to the North. Through carved, painted, and beaded sculpture and mask forms, Ivalu creates representations of the honored wild relatives that have provided for her, her family and her ancestors since time immemorial. Continuing the viewpoint of seeing these honored wild resources as gifts given to the worthy who reciprocate respect and care for the land and wild relatives that share it. Connection to the realities of subsistence lifeways and arctic survival is vital to Ivalu’s work that honors what keeps us fed, warm and present in the North. With ancestral ties to the communities of Nulato, Nome and Utqiagvik; Ivalu currently resides between the Dena’ina Homelands of Anchorage and Cohoe, Alaska while pursuing her MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Jontay Kahm (Plains Cree) was born on February 1, 1996, in North Battleford Saskatchewan, Canada. Kahm grew up on Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man First Nation where he yearned to break into the world of fashion design. Jontay now lives in Santa Fe New Mexico, where he attends the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) to pursue a BFA in Studio Arts. In 2016 Kahm earned a fashion design diploma at Blanche Macdonald in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2018 Kahm also attended the Marist College fashion degree program for two years until the 2020 pandemic, then came to IAIA to finish his senior collection with an emphasis on fashion design, his medium of choice. He emphasizes movement and sculpts characteristics of hybrid human-animal spiritual experiences into his work. In addition to incorporating his Plains Cree culture, Jontay exhibits oceanic structures and coral life themes. Kahm uses his cultural heritage by taking subtle elements of ceremonial regalia and expressing them through a contemporary perspective. His inspiration comes from his love of theatricality demonstrated through the lens of high fashion and plants his roots in performance through visually captivating fashion looks. By creating garments that evoke a spiritual awakening Kahm creates atmospheres that transform individuals someplace otherworldly.
Jerome Nakagawa is a Diné and Japanese silversmith and photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He attends the Bachelor of Fine arts program at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), majoring in Studio Arts with an emphasis on jewelry and metals. Nakagawa has completed jewelry-based apprenticeships with Keri Ataumbi of Ataumbi Metals and Cody Sanderson. Raised in Hayward, California, Nakagawa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. He completed his graduate-level photojournalism coursework at the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University in 2007. Prior to enrolling at IAIA, he worked as a photojournalist for over ten years and was the inaugural recipient of the Sandy Colton Memorial Award at the Eddie Adams Workshop. His photojournalism was published in the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Time Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. Nakagawa will graduate in December 2022 and open his own jewelry studio and business.
About SITE Scholars
The SITE Scholar Program is an initiative to honor college and graduate level creative students in northern New Mexico. Founded with the goal to increase student participation in the museum and contemporary art world, this program enables students to enrich their educational experience. Composed of top students from Central New Mexico Community College, Highlands University, the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Santa Fe Community College, St. John’s College, and the University of New Mexico, 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 to present their work in a gallery at SITE Santa Fe. Learn more…