Exhibition Runs: September 20 – October 26, 2023

Reception + Live Performance: Saturday, October 14 4:30p – 6:30p

Harwood Art Center is pleased to announce our annual capstone program Bridge: Art & Social Justice (A & S J), featuring exhibitions by our program Artist In Residence, Rica Maestas. They have been working in the A & S J Residency Studio At Harwood Art Center since March 2023. Their exhibition We Are. Here Together. is an interactive, multi-gallery exhibition of sculpture, sound, text, and performance.

Gallery Hours

Wednesdays & Thursdays: 10a – 3p

Reception & Live Performance

We invite you to join us for an Exhibition Reception & Live Performance at Harwood on Saturday, October 14 from 4:30pm – 6:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.

We Are. Here Together.

Collaborating Artists: Hank Cooper, Pico del Hierro Villa, Gabriel Maestas, mk, Ryan Parker and Harwood Art Camp Students

Through two distinct but related bodies of work, the overall exhibition playfully explores the idea of community (and perhaps hybridity) between people and plants. In the Front gallery, a pair of whimsical yucca forms invite viewers to sit together and contemplate rotating statements on a LED message board. These sculptures and statements originated in collaboration with a group of sixteen 2nd and 3rd grade students during a two-week summer workshop at Harwood Art Center led by Maestas. Designed to follow the interests of the students while imparting valuable lessons on local ecology and working with natural and recycled materials, the resulting artworks emphasize the specialness of being alive together in the same space and time.

The Hall gallery also contains a collaborative body of work centering yucca, this time adding voices of other desert plants and local artists into the conversation. Developed by Maestas and fellow Queer and BIPOC artists Hank Cooper, Pico del Hierro Villa, mk, and Gabriel Maestas, this installation presents a cast of uncanny hybrid plant-people ruminating on their own experiences and interacting with each other. Discussing their lived experiences ranging from pleasure to intergenerational trauma and climate grief, these strange characters are voiced by tonal sound developed by Ryan Parker and “translated” on LED message boards.

Emphasizing our closeness with and interdependence on the broader natural world, We Are. Here Together. illustrates the potential for healing and solidarity when we reenvision our relationships with the world around us.

About Rica

Rica Maestas is a burqueñx artist, author, and arts worker nurturing spaces where no one has to be whole. Inspired by home, loneliness, hybridity, and misunderstanding, they make gifts, offerings, and rituals as invitations into dreamy and emotionally demanding spaces.

Maestas holds a MA in public humanities from Brown University and has received numerous grants for her socially engaged projects, performances, paintings, and assemblages. Her multidisciplinary practice has included exhibiting artwork nationwide, curating independent and institutional projects, publishing diverse written works, and participating in the Santa Fe Art Institute’s Labor Residency. Profiles of her artistic and curatorial work have appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter, the Santa Fe New Mexican Pasatiempo, the Coastal Post, the Providence Journal, the Brown Daily Herald. Their first solo show, I’m Sorry (I cannot hold you.) opened at Vital Spaces in Santa Fe, June 2022.

About Harwood’s Residency for Art & Social Justice

Each fall for thirteen years, Harwood’s galleries are devoted to artists working at the intersections of creative expression and social justice. In 2021, for the occasion of Harwood’s 30th Anniversary, we expanded this offering and formally established our first official annual residency program.

We invite New Mexico-based artists whose practice is socially/politically engaged to submit project proposals for our annual Bridge: Residency for Art & Social Justice. Our 2023 Artist in Residence, Rica Maestas, received a private artist studio at Harwood Art Center to work in for the duration of their 9 month residency, a five week exhibition in both of our gallery spaces, project, promotional and professional support from our staff, a $1000 artist honorarium to support their time and creative work and a $500 materials stipend to support their project costs.

We are grateful to New Mexico Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, City of Albuquerque, Urban Enhancement Trust Fund and McCune Charitable Foundation for their resourcing of this program.

Many thanks to

Picture Perfect Photo Lab, Susan Lindner, Dust Wave Collective, Gabriel Maestas, John Sloan, Quinn Hollerbach, Hannah Yohalem, Molly Kaspar, María Luisa Minjares, Erik Benavidez, Chauné Mountainsong, Luke Batty, Marisa Phillips, Jasmine Chu, and Christina Fox for their generous support of We Are. Here Together.

Exhibition Catalog