FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 07, 2023
Santa Fe, NM – Monika Thomas has been hired as the Events Coordinator for New Mexico Historic Sites (NMHS). This is a new role for the division, one that is meant to connect communities across the state with the resources NMHS has access to.
“New Mexico Historic Sites is elated to have Monika join the team,” said Matt Barbour, deputy director of NMHS. “The addition of an Event Coordinator will help bring our special programs to the next level. We look forward to Monika’s contributions, starting with Fall Harvest Festival on September 24!”
“I am honored to support all the communities New Mexico Historic Sites calls home,” Thomas said about her new role. “Events in these communities reflect on sites of conscience, history, and ecology with dignity and care. I see these events as public ceremonies of fidelity. They can remake the world and blossom new connections between materials, places, and living beings. Also, as a fiber artist, I am also truly grateful to be working somewhere that respects and appreciates the Navajo-Churro sheep. They are part of an important story of collective endurance, survival, beauty, and skill. I hope they add kissing sheep to my job description!”
Bringing Thomas on as Events Coordinator is a significant step. New Mexico Historic Sites (NMHS) are not just cultural centers, but members of diverse communities across our state. One important way NMHS gives back to its communities is hosting events at the sites, sharing the history and culture they preserve and offering spaces for public gatherings. There have been many successes in the last year alone, including “Light Among the Ruins” at Jemez Historic Site and “Old Lincoln Days” at Lincoln Historic Site. Events like these bring folks from across New Mexico into the smaller communities that NMHS often finds itself in. NMHS works with these communities to ensure their values and interests are represented. Everyone involved sincerely believes that the success of these events relies on collaboration between NMHS and its communities throughout the state.
In the past, site staff have always been responsible for planning and organizing events, which made sense. Staff often live in these communities too and have an investment in creating events that are meaningful to their neighbors.
But event planning is a large job, especially for a statewide organization! NMHS wanted to make sure its resources were fully available to individual sites, especially the more rural ones. That meant identifying an individual who could do it all: conceive and plan events, support staff, communicate well, travel across the state, and execute on the dozens of events NMHS holds every year.
Thomas is a natural fit for this role. As a fiber artist and poet, she has honed her skills in interdisciplinary and creative spaces, combining her prolific studio practice with public cultural events coordination and social practice. She has worked on three continents with urban and rural communities, facilitating events centered around season changes, collective expressions of grief, and celebration. Her personal work sits at the intersection of contemporary culture, heritage practices, and cosmovisions, exploring these intersections through traditional and devotional art forms, methods, and practices. This work aligns with the communities that NMHS serves, in social, cultural, and historical spaces. Thomas has spent her career building the skills necessary to organize these kinds of cultural events, and NMHS is excited to see what she brings to the table.
She started September 2. Look forward to her work across the state!
About New Mexico Historic Sites
New Mexico Historic Sites is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its donors. The New Mexico Historic Sites system was established in 1931 by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico. The eight Historic Sites include Coronado, Fort Selden, Fort Stanton, Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site, Jemez, Lincoln, and Los Luceros.