SURFACE: Emerging Artists Past & Present

by Staci Drangemeister

It’s hard to believe this is the 5th year of SURFACE: Emerging Artists of New Mexico > at Harwood Art Center (and 8th year since the inaugural program at Creative Albuquerque)! Each year, the SURFACE exhibition features some of our state’s most talented emerging artists. But what is an “emerging artist”? Though we don’t impose strict qualifications for the term “emerging artist,” we do ask artists to explain why they identify with that title when they apply for the program.

We have seen a broad range of “emerging artists” over the course of the program. Some identify as emerging because they have not had much public exposure, recently finished formal education, or are working to establish an online and communications presence. Others have returned to their creative practice after many years and are ready to dedicate time and energy to their work.

The artists from the last five years have worked in all types of media, from painting and printmaking to sculpturing and fashion design. Although SURFACE alumni are different in so many ways, they are all dedicated to their craft and to elevating their careers. If you’ve ever been to a SURFACE exhibition, you know this to be true. We are consistently blown away by the beautiful, original, ingenious work that is submitted to SURFACE. Seeing the works of these artists together in our galleries is magical.

This year’s SURFACE show opens on Friday, June 2 from 6-8p. This energetic opening is one of our favorite nights of the year (this year we’re having food trucks, live music, and art making, too!). After the excitement of the opening—and the very next day—SURFACE participants gather back at Harwood for a private day-long professional development workshop. The workshop sessions cover important topics like refining artist statements / written materials, developing a web and communications presence, and audience and collector cultivation. The workshop ends with a group walkthrough and critique of the exhibition. I could babble on about how wonderful the professional development workshop is, but instead, here are three alumni responses to the SURFACE program:

“I credit the Harwood with launching my career as a professional artist. In 2014, months after finishing my BFA, I was selected for SURFACE, which would be my first curated exhibition. I made three sales on opening night, including one to renowned art collectors who have since become my champions and friends. But it was the professional development workshop–a whole day with critics, curators, artists, and arts media–that provided the first crucial insights into how to build a sustainable arts career. One of the panelists, Nancy Zastudil, gave me my first solo show at her gallery, Central Features. A week after SURFACE, I made business cards, built a website, and followed up with my new contacts. In the year since Surface, I have had a sold-out gallery show, gained representation in Albuquerque and San Francisco, been featured in Hyperallergic and Colores!, received a prestigious artist’s residency, and sold numerous artworks to collectors nationwide. None of this would have been possible without the Harwood and its support for emerging artists like me.” – Jami Porter Lara, 2014 Emerging Artist

“I wanted to thank you all for the SURFACE opportunity afforded me and express my appreciation for your efforts in making the experience vital and rewarding. I expected that the show would provide some welcome exposure for my work, but I had no idea how much valuable information would be provided at the workshop, or how many knowledgeable panelists would be presented to us. I really learned a lot.” – David Disko, 2016 Emerging Artists

“The professional art world doesn’t have to be intimidating, and Harwood’s SURFACE program does a wonderful job at providing a stepping stone for emerging artists who have questions about taking their artistic careers to the next level. Harwood provides a dream team of artistic professionals ready to answer any questions you may have. It’s not often, if ever, you get the opportunity to blatantly ask a handful of artistic professionals how they do what they do. They give you the answers, people! I highly recommend this program to emerging artists that are ready to face the art world head on.” – David Santiago, 2013 Emerging Artist

The willingness of our arts community to educate, collaborate with and support one another is inspiring, and we feel fortunate to work with so many talented, intelligent, giving individuals. This year, we are excited to launch the SURFACE Alumni Circle for participating artists, program alumni (there are now more than 100, including artists who participated in the program when it lived at Creative Albuquerque), and workshop panelists past and present.
We’ll leave you with the full list of SURFACE artists and panelists. We hope to see you at this year’s opening on Friday, June 2 from 6-8 as we celebrate a new group of wonderful emerging artists!

Inaugural Program – 2011 (at Creative Albuquerque)
Sondra Diepen, Cindi Gaudette, Kristin Gentry, Eso Robinson, Ralph Rudolph, Molly Schell, &
Linda Mae Tratechaud

Abstracts – 2011 (at Creative Albuquerque)
Annie Marie Abbott, Stephen Ausherman, Kristine Brockel, Jill Christian, Christian Gallegos, Jessica Kennedy, Annie Nash, Paula Scott, & Rachel Zollinger

Figuratives – 2012 (at Creative Albuquerque)
Marian Berg, James Black, Marilyn Drake, Regina Guerrero, Niya Lee, K.A. McCord, Cornelia Oliver, & Zak Rutledge

Surface – 2013
Courtnee Bennett, Adam N Billie, Molly Bradbury, Katie Carillo, DeVon Fox, Jane Gordon, Laura Green, Hilary Heyl, Renee McKitterick, Katherine Minott, Ben Roe Jr., Maria Ross, David Santiago, Justin Yazzie, Jessica Zekus
In Turn – 2013
Sarah Dewey, Haley English, Tina Yara-Nieto

Surface – 2014
Issac Alarid Pease, Mia Casesa, Chris Casey, Jessica Chao, Xuan Chen, Christa Dalien, Beverly Fisher, Holly Grimm, Bryce Hample, Dani Jeffries, Georgina Latino, Jami Porter Lara,
Tera Muskrat
Parched – 2014
Jane Gordon

Surface – 2015
Emma Difani, Henry Hutchinson, Robin Kalinich, Alexis Kaminsky, Joanna Keane Lopez, Julia Lambright, Amy Mann, Stephanie McCloud, James Meara, Aziza Murray, Robbie Pino, Sophia Torres, Ben Utigard
Canta Con Pintura – 2015
Tera Muskrat

Surface – 2016
Joshua Atlas, Katelyn Bladel, Dorielle Caimi, Joel Davis, David Disko, Letitia Hill, Christopher MacQueen, Eric J. Martinez, Ruben Olguin, Rachel Rivera, David Saiz, Sophia Sanchez, Molly Zimmer
Promised View 2016
Julia Lambright

Surface – 2017
Meghan Arcaro, Jazmyn Crosby, Margaret Farrell, Michael Gomez, Jessica Gross, Kathryn Jaroneski, Shaelin Jornigan, Malcolm King, Cecelia McKinnon, Gwen Miller Wagner, Gaspar Salazar-Mendez, Jeremy Salazar
GhostPrism 2017
Christopher MacQueen

Sherri Brueggemann, Andrew Connors, Erin Elder, Meghan Ferguson, Viviette Hunt, Grady Jaynes, Jami Porter Lara, Reyes Padilla, Peri Pakroo, Kymberly Pinder, Nancy Salem, David Santiago, Valerie Roybal, Nancy Zastudil

We are deeply grateful to The FUNd at Albuquerque Community Foundation, Bernalillo County, City of Albuquerque / Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, McCune Charitable Foundation, New Mexico Arts and National Endowment for the Arts for their support of SURFACE: Emerging Artists of New Mexico, as well as to Marion & Kathryn Crissey and Reggie Gammon for establishing our endowed awards for this program. SURFACE would not be possible without our extraordinary local business partners Albuquerque Art Business Association, A Good Sign, Tractor Brewing Company and Westbund West.