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Winners of Governor’s Arts Awards announced

SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez and the New Mexico Arts Commission have announced the seven artists and arts supporters who will be recipients of the Centennial 2012 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

The Centennial 2012 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients are: Tony Abeyta of Santa Fe for painting/jewelry; Michael Berman of San Lorenzo for photography; Lonnie Klein of Las Cruces for music; Ed Sandoval of Taos for painting; Thomas B. Catron III of Santa Fe, major contributor to the arts; J.F. Maddox Foundation of Hobbs, major contributor to the arts; and Catherine Oppenheimer of Santa Fe, major contributor to the arts.

The Centennial 2012 Governor’s Arts Awards ceremonies will be held from 5:15-7 p.m. Sept. 14 in St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. The ceremony will be preceded by an afternoon reception and exhibition opening from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Governor’s Gallery, fourth floor, State Capitol. Both the awards ceremony and gallery reception are free and open to the public.

Artist Tony Abeyta of Santa Fe is considered one of the finest contemporary painters in New Mexico and beyond. Growing up in Gallup surrounded by the Navajo and Zuni reservations, his modernist painting style pays homage to native culture and place.

Abeyta continues to work in different artistic media, and has recently started making jewelry.

He left home at 16 to study at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and received a master’s in fine art from New York University. A large mural by Abeyta graces the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture’s gathering space, and one of his paintings served as the official illustration for the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Artist Michael Berman of San Lorenzo has photographed the desert Southwest for more than three decades and captured its dramatic surroundings in compelling landscape prints.

Born in 1956 in New York City, Berman came west to study biology at Colorado College. He later received his master’s of fine arts from Arizona State University.

He has lived for 34 years in San Lorenzo on the edge of the Gila National Forest, the focus of his next book, currently in production at the Museum of New Mexico Press.

Musician Lonnie Klein of Las Cruces serves as the conductor and music director of the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra at New Mexico State University, where he also is a professor of music. His passion for the arts has led the orchestra to new levels of artistic excellence, with rave reviews, and 10 consecutive sold-out seasons.

With a career as a conductor that has spanned over three decades, Klein holds a doctorate in performance from the University of Illinois. Klein has led the orchestra for 13 years, and in his work as a guest artist both nationally and internationally, he serves as an artistic ambassador for the Las Cruces Symphony.

Taos artist Ed Sandoval’s depictions of rural Hispanic New Mexican life have ensured that he is one of the most popular contemporary artists in northern New Mexico. His canvases use bold color and texture to portray the people, places and architecture of his surroundings.

Born in Nambe, Sandoval lived in various northern New Mexico communities before settling in Taos. He received a bachelor of fine arts from Eastern New Mexico University, and master’s in psychology from the University of Utah.

In Taos, he operates his own gallery, Studio de Colores. His classic style has been compared to the Taos art colony artists.

Thomas B. Catron III of Santa Fe has made significant contributions to the cultural life of New Mexico through his support of the local museums and performing arts organizations. Catron is recognized for his efforts to shape the state’s reputation as a cultural hub and was the driving force behind the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, the Santa Fe Opera board, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art/Spanish Colonial Arts Society.

The J.F. Maddox Foundation of Hobbs was established in 1963 by Jack and Mabel Maddox to serve the residents of southeastern New Mexico. The foundation has played an important role in funding the arts in Lea County, supporting many arts organizations, events, education, and community development initiatives.

The foundation gave approximately $426,000 to arts and culture projects and events in Lea County in 2011. Ten years ago, the foundation granted $1.5 million to fund the establishment of the CORE Knowledge curriculum in the Hobbs Municipal Schools which included principles in teaching liberal arts, with emphasis on visual arts and music.

Though Jack Maddox died in 1978 and Mabel Maddox in 1987, their family legacy continues through the work of their nephews, retired District Judge Don Maddox and James Maddox.

Catherine Oppenheimer of Santa Fe is recognized as a major contributor to the arts for her work supporting strong arts education programs in New Mexico. She co-founded the National Dance Institute of New Mexico in 1994 (NDI-NM) and is a past chair.