May 6th: 2021 Mayor's Arts Awards
Santa Fe Mayor, Alan Webber and the Arts & Culture Department are pleased to announce the five artists and arts’ supporters who will receive the 2021 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. The Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts program was established in 1989 to acknowledge individuals and active organizations that have made significant contributions to arts and culture in Santa Fe. Nominations for consideration are collected each year from the community. Over the years, the awards have honored a remarkable list of artists, individuals, organizations, and businesses. The 2021 Mayor’s Arts Award Recipients are: ARTS: Lightning Boy Foundation was founded in the memory and honor of Valentino Tzigiwhaeno "Lightning" Rivera, a hoop dancer from Pojoaque Pueblo who passed away at the age of 8 in 2016. The nonprofit foundation is dedicated to empowering youth and helping them preserve cultural roots. The foundation supports a tribally inclusive Lightning Boy Hoop Dance Group and other youth performance and visual arts objectives. ARTS INNOVATOR: Santa Fe Independent Film Festival serves as a creative center for film year-round, and presents a robust collection of top films each October. SFiFF provides professional opportunities for artists, and unmatched audience participation in the world’s greatest little film city. SFiFF began in 2009 as a fringe festival that took place in a community center. By 2011, it was the largest event of its kind in New Mexico, screening over 100 films during a five-day fest. SFiFF has become a top annual event in New Mexico and has effectively helped extend Santa Fe’s tourism season into late October. CULTURE CONNECTS: Israel Francisco Haros Lopez is a community-minded artist, poet, mentor, muralist, and gardener. Currently he is the cofounding member and Artist Director of Alas De Agua Art Collective, where he works to create opportunities for Black Indigenous People of Color and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual and/or Ally Artists. PHILANTHROPY: Andrew Wallerstein and Mary Sloane have over the years have provided generous financial support for SITE Santa Fe, the New Mexico School for the Arts, Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA), The New Mexico Museum of Art, and many other arts organizations to create creative programming and collaboration in the arts community. Andrew served as Board Chair of SITE Santa Fe for eight years and continues to be an active Board member; he led the $12.5 million capital campaign for SITE’s new building and grew the endowment to $10 million. He is currently serving on the board of directors of Radius Books, a Santa Fe nonprofit arts organization that publishes and distributes books to schools and libraries. Mary serves as a board member at the New Mexico School for the Arts. MELISSA ENGESTROM YOUTH ARTIST AWARD: Theo (aka Satya) Kutsko (they/them/theirs) is a junior studying theater at New Mexico School for the Arts. Theo is a Vocalist, Pianist, Actor, Theater Technician, and Visual Artist. In 2020 Theo was a finalist at Broadwaycon's Star to Be competition in NYC, and was the youngest performer at the All Things Broadway showcase at Feinsteins/54 Below. They serve as a member of student Wellness for Voice and Empowerment team and is Vice President of NMSA’s Gay Straight Alliance. Theo has performed locally at Eldorado Fall Festival, Rock the Arts, at Chili Line and during the pandemic did a Ghost Light Session on stage at The Lensic.
This year's awards ceremony will be held virtually on Thursday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m. The event will be hosted by local artist, comedian, and performer Carlos Medina, and will feature a performance by and Mariachi Xóchitl.