Arts and education goes hand-in-hand for Elena Baca.
For years, Baca has brought those two elements to the community.
Her dedication is part of the reason she’s been named the Museum Education Art Educator of the Year by the New Mexico Art Education Association.
Baca is the educator and program coordinator for the National Hispanic Cultural Center‘s Visual Arts Program.
The award is given to an educator whose exemplary practices and contributions to the field of museum education are deserving of recognition. The award is one of six given out annually to educators who work in different educational environments.
“The National Hispanic Cultural Center has many treasures – most of all, our talented and dedicated staff,” said Margie Huerta, NHCC executive director. “We’re so excited to see Elena’s hard work, empathy, and passion for education recognized by her peers from across New Mexico.”
Baca, an Albuquerque native and University of New Mexico graduate, has more than 25 years of experience working in museums, higher education, informal science, and art education.
At the NHCC, she works with artists to create compelling hands-on art programs for adults and families, collaborates with schools in providing participatory art activities and exhibitions that embrace cultural understanding, and develops interactive experiences for art museum patrons.
She leads a wide range of programs, from the ever-popular Happy Arte Hour to the NHCC’s monthly Colcha stitch-a-long.
Outside of her work at the NHCC, Baca is a gifted printmaker, and is generous about sharing her vast knowledge of art processes, materials, and techniques with the broader New Mexico arts community.
Baca is one of two educators from Museums administered by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs to receive an award from NMAEA this year.
Kemely Gomez, the Museum Art Educator for the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, received an award for Community Advocacy for Art Education.