Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

Groundbreaking New Mexican artists recognized among recipients of the 2023 Governorís Awards for Excellence in the Arts

New Mexico Arts

August 03, 2023


Santa Fe, NM – Artists who reflect their people, their communities, and their culture are being recognized among the recipients of the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA), New Mexico Arts (NMA), and the New Mexico Arts Commission (NMAC) join in the Governor’s celebration of this diverse group of influential and impactful individuals. 

"I want to congratulate the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts winners," said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. "This year’s recipients come from every corner of the state, showcasing the immense possibilities of the arts across New Mexico. These artists are musicians, authors, sculptors and designers who push the boundaries of telling stories about the state and their lives through art. I am proud to recognize and show off such talent to the rest of the world." 

It’s the 49th year for the awards which were created to celebrate the extensive role artists and their work play in New Mexico. This year’s recipients represent not only the extraordinary diversity of New Mexico’s rich cultural traditions, but the depth and generosity such diversity encourages. The artists work in a variety of forms and materials, ranging from visual art to writing to music to sculpture, while the major contributors work tirelessly in their communities to support the arts. 

The artists, musicians, and contributors to the arts who earned the award represent the entire state: Paula Castillo of Belen, J.C. Cervantes of Las Cruces, Raven Chacon (Diné) of Albuquerque, Judy and Ray Dewey of Albuquerque, Jim Harris of Hobbs, Patricia Michaels of Taos, Mark Ian Saxe of Dixon, and Judy Tuwaletstiwa of Galisteo. 

About the 2023 Awards recipients 

Paula Castillo, Visual Artist, Belén  
Indo-Hispanic artist Paula Castillo holds an MFA from the University of New Mexico in 3D Studio, focusing on Contemporary Theory, Human Geography, and Relational Aesthetics. She is currently working on three monumental permanent public sculptures, Glyph, Equis, and Trestle, for the Denver Art Museum Campus, revealing Denver’s deep Mestizaje narrative.

J.C. Cervantes, Author, Las Cruces  
J.C. is a New York Times best-selling author. She has published ten books across multiple age categories and in more than twelve countries. Her books have appeared on national lists, including the American Booksellers Association, Barnes and Noble’s Best Books, and Amazon, and Apple Books of the Month. She has earned multiple awards and recognitions, including the NM Book Award.  

Raven Chacon (Diné), Musician, Composer and Artist, Albuquerque  
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer, and installation artist from Albuquerque, NM. A recording artist over the span of 22 years, Chacon has appeared on more than eighty releases on various national and international labels. In 2022, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Voiceless Mass.  

Judy and Ray Dewey, Major Contributors to the Arts, Albuquerque  
Judy and Ray Dewey have been actively involved in the arts in New Mexico since the early 1970s. They have been art gallery founders and trustees of multiple boards. They are collectors, supporters, and donors to arts organizations and publications. They raised their two sons Adam and Justin in Santa Fe, and currently reside in Los Ranchos, New Mexico. 

Jim Harris, Major Contributor to the Arts, Hobbs  
Jim Harris’ honors include those from the NM Association of Museums, NM Humanities Council, NM Department of Agriculture, and as a New Mexico Eminent Scholar. He spent 31 years teaching college literature and writing, 21 years as a museum director, and has written more than 1,500 weekly newspaper columns on art and history.  

Patricia Michaels (Taos Pueblo), Fashion Designer, Taos  
Patricia Michaels is a world-renowned fashion and textile designer. She studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Chicago Art Institute. Patricia has designed and created costumes for opera and theater productions, custom resort uniforms, and red-carpet gowns. Her groundbreaking participation as a contestant on “Project Runway” garnered national awareness and recognition for Native designers.  

Mark Ian Saxe, Stone Sculptor, Dixon  
Mark Saxe was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, served his country in Vietnam, and while traveling in Europe, discovered his love of stone. Completing his MFA on the GI Bill, he became an apprentice stonemason before moving to New Mexico to open his stoneyard and begin his long career as a sculptor.  

Judy Tuwaletstiwa, Visual Artist, Galisteo  
Judy Tuwaletstiwa is a visual artist, writer, and teacher. After earning degrees in English literature from U.C. Berkeley and Harvard University, she discovered the power of visual art to connect us to the deepest part of ourselves. She has spent her life exploring and expressing this, using different media.  


About the Governor’s Arts Awards 
On October 20, NMA will host a pair of events recognizing this year’s recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, as well as last year’s. An exhibition of work from the 2023 recipients will open in the Governor’s Gallery in the Roundhouse, coupled with an opening reception at 2:00 in the afternoon. The awards ceremony will be held at New Mexico Museum of Art in the Saint Francis Auditorium from 5:00 until 7:00 in the evening. The ceremony celebrates both 2022 and 2023 recipients. (To learn more about the 2022 Governor’s Arts Awards, read last year’s announcement.) 

The Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts are presented by the New Mexico Arts Commission (NMAC) and NMA, the state arts agency and a division of NMDCA. This year’s Awards were made possible in part by contributions from Thornburg Investments, the Chihuly Foundation, and the Gale Family Foundation, as well as the members of NMAC. 

“The New Mexico Arts Commission is proud to present this outstanding cohort of 2023 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts recipients demonstrating quality and diversity and we look forward to honoring them with in-person public events for the first time since 2019,” said Nancy Cooper, New Mexico Arts Commission Chair. 

About New Mexico Arts     
New Mexico Arts is the state arts agency and a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. New Mexico Arts administers the state’s One Percent for Public Art program, awards grants to nonprofit organizations for arts and cultural programs in their communities across the state, and provides technical assistance and educational opportunities for organizations, artists, and arts educators throughout New Mexico. 

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