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New Mexico arts gets big boost

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gallupARTS, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum big winners

Two sizeable grants to the New Mexico arts economy were announced by the National Endowment for the Humanities Jan. 14. gallupARTS received a $100,000 grant to fund the second phase of its Gallup New Deal Art project showcasing and interpreting Gallup’s collection of New Deal Art through an interactive web site and virtual exhibits.

gallupARTS is one of only two New Mexico organizations, along with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, to receive NEH funding this cycle. Sens. Tom  Udall, D-N.M., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Congressman Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., commended the awards in a Jan. 14 press release highlighting the benefit to New Mexico’s arts economy. The O’Keeffe Museum was awarded $750,000 for a grant-matching fund to encourage private support for a humanities project.

“New Mexico’s incredible arts and culture scene is a crucial economic driver and an integral part of our culture and our communities. I’m proud to support these investments to both create new opportunities and ensure the creativity and beauty within gallupARTS and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is available to all New Mexicans and the world,” Luján said.

“We are truly honored and very excited to have received this award,” gallupARTS Executive Director Rose Eason said. “This is a significant show of faith in the full potential of the Gallup New Deal Art project to preserve and protect an important cultural resource, leverage a currently underutilized arts asset for the purpose of community and economic development, and create an innovative model for the interpretation and presentation of public art.”

gallupARTS is the first organization in New Mexico to receive a Digital Projects for the Public Prototyping grant, and one of only eleven organizations nationwide to receive a 2020 Digital Projects for the Public grant.


Gallup was one of four New Deal Federal Art Centers in New Mexico. The legacy of the New Deal lives on today in Gallup in the form of a collection of 144 objects that includes paintings, prints, murals, furniture and decorative arts, as well as architecture made in a variety of styles and by a diverse group of artists. The challenge is that the collection is currently split between five locations across town and is under the purview of three separate entities. Its dispersal and overall inaccessibility means the collection is not optimally fulfilling its intended purpose as a community resource.

The GNDA project aims to remedy this situation - to unify the collection in a virtual space, to make it fully accessible online, and to increase the community’s appreciation of it, both as an important piece of history and as a present-day asset, so that it will be conserved and, more importantly, so that the community will reap its many benefits.

“Ultimately, the goal of this project is to fulfill the New Deal’s mandate of creating public art for public purpose,” Eason said. “The GNDA website is designed to do the work of community building, creating a multi-dimensional and inclusive interpretive virtual art showcase that develops mutual understanding by serving as a vehicle for the excavation of the past and as a platform for the exploration of different perspectives and the exchange of ideas.”

The prototyping stage of the project will involve refining the GNDA website’s content and design to ensure that it will meet those goals. gallupARTS will build a prototype of the website, which will be vetted by a panel of humanities scholars and piloted by a diverse test audience.

More information about the GNDA project can be found at galluparts.org/newdeal.

Staff Reports