Exhibition Runs: June 5 – July 24, 2020
Virtual Reception & Artist Talks: Thursday, June 18 @ 5:30pm

Opening Reception & Artist Talks

The Opening Reception is one of the prized components of an exhibition for our artists – as well as for our whole Harwood community who gets to come meet, speak, and celebrate. As we cannot presently install in our physical galleries or have an in-person gathering, we will hold a virtual reception to honor the artists.

Building off of our platforms and recent online gatherings, we will hold a public reception and artist talk with Dante featuring “lightening” artist talks from this year’s group of SURFACE: Emerging Artists of NM artists.  Far-reaching friends and family can join us in these online spaces, along with local community that would come to the reception.

Dante Betsch received the SURFACE 2019 Harwood Art Center Solo Exhibition Award, presented annually for artistic excellence, originality of vision and dedication to practice.


1942: Dante Betsch, Digital Exhibition


“In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, sending over 120,000 US citizens of Japanese ancestry into internment camps. Households along the western coastline were moved abruptly into often stark and unforgiving desert landscapes, forced to leave their personal possessions behind. My textile collection, 1942, explores Japanese American identity through this troubled history. Each garment is patterned on historically accurate western culture clothing of the 1940s, but incorporates the aesthetics of Japanese Boro and Kintsugi techniques, which are, significantly, both mending practices. The lining is made from UV printed photos by Dorothea Lange who documented the internment camps for the US government. I used raw indigo denim for the body and screen printed scrap denim for the Boro patchwork. The gold brocade is topstitched to echo the Kintsugi practice of mending what has been broken, and underscores the possibility of creating beauty out of a fractured past.”

About Dante

Dante Betsch holds a BFA in Graphic and Textile Design and a minor in Entrepreneurship from the University of Michigan. Growing up in New Mexico, Dante was exposed to the value of different cultural approaches, and strived to be open minded towards using new media and techniques in his art. Being Japanese-American, his art is informed in part by the awareness of race dynamics in this country, and by the social and political injustices in America. Dante’s passion is in but not limited to textiles and multimedia art.


Last year, after receiving the 2019 SURFACE: Emerging Artists of New Mexico Solo Exhibition Award, Dante was interviewed by the Weekly Alibi.

Read the full interview here!

Beneath the Surface, Albuquerque Weekly Alibi Interview 2019>


Organizational Context & Approach

On March 13, in accordance with public health emergency orders, we announced Harwood’s building closure, ceased all in-person gatherings, deployed staff to work from home, and began pivoting our programs to continue mission-driven service to the 10,000 New Mexicans we engage each year. In this transition, we have made fundamental shifts in the content, strategies, and financial models we’ve refined over 29 years of rootedness in our public, physical, arts center, and we’ve shaped, tested and rolled out an array of new distance arts and exhibition engagements, and have many more to come.

As we contemplated how to adjust SURFACE, for a time when we cannot plan physical convenings (such as exhibitions or opening receptions in our galleries, which have been cornerstones of this program), we’ve explored countless ideas, and we’ve sketched out a revised framework that we believe upholds the core value(s) of the program and adapts best to the upsidedown of now.

Digital Program Adaptations

As we cannot presently install in our public physical galleries, we’ve put together an online exhibition and comprehensive digital catalog for the exhibition.

Surface Professional Development Workshop & Alumni Circle Reception

These are the heartbeats of the SURFACE program, and they will take place in digital classroom spaces. We have an amazing network of program alumni and panelists who have served in the workshop in years past, and we will work with them to adapt content and dialogue with the recognition that there are not yet experts and best practices for this current landscape, that we are treating SURFACE as a collaborative laboratory to experiment and explore them, and that we can all benefit from a circle of support and camaraderie.

Surface Awards

Previously, artists juried into the exhibition became eligible to win endowed cash awards; in 2020, we are including a smaller total number of artists, converting existing award funds and combining with existing program support from the City of Albuquerque’s Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, to provide microgrant awards ($250) to each participant. These microgrants will support each participant in acquisition of new tools, trainings, or subscriptions that could facilitate visibility and viability in this era of distance. We will also and still select one artist as the Solo Exhibition Award recipient.


Digital Exhibition Catalog

Recorded Artist Talk