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A is for APS art auction

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ana Oaxaca has been painting in different media since she was a little girl. But it wasn’t until two years ago that she became passionate about one particular medium – pastels.

Oaxaca has stuck with pastels and that commitment has paid off.

Oaxaca’s pastel “Herencia Hispana” was one of three student works chosen for the live auction at the Albuquerque Public Schools’ fourth annual A is for Art! event Friday, Sept. 20 at Hotel Albuquerque.

“Herencia Hispana,” which depicts an older farmworker shucking corn, took first place in a 2012 Sandia National Laboratories-sponsored competition for Hispanic Heritage Month and last spring it earned an honorable mention in the APS’ Metro Youth Art Exhibit, she said.

“That piece has brought me a lot of recognition throughout New Mexico, so it’s really amazing,” Oaxaca said.

The 18-year-old Oaxaca graduated from Rio Grande High School in May and is currently a sophomore at the University of New Mexico.

At Rio Grande, Oaxaca was in a dual-credit program in which she took high school and college classes. She amassed sufficient college credits so that she is a sophomore at UNM this fall.

Painter Shaelin Jornigan graduated in May from  Cibola High School.

Painter Shaelin Jornigan graduated in May from
Cibola High School.

She’s majoring in political science and economics with a minor in honors.

“I’ve always been concerned with social issues. I think most of our problems arise in the political sphere. It’s either human rights or something where politics matters for the minority,” Oaxaca said.

She’s already thinking ahead to life after undergraduate work – either graduate school or law school.

Oaxaca plans to continue doing art on her own.

The other two student-created artworks in the A is for Art! live auction are by John Fatemi and Shaelin Jornigan. Their work was also in the APS Metro Youth Art Exhibit last spring.

Fatemi graduated from La Cueva High School and Jornigan from Cibola High School; both are UNM freshmen.

Jornigan’s work to be auctioned is a watercolor titled “Afghanistan.”

“It’s part of a series where I would do a portrait of someone in national dress and behind them is the country’s official animal and the colors of the country’s flag,” she said.

Jornigan, 18, also had about seven other works of art in the 2013 Metro Youth Art Exhibit that are in the A is for Art! silent auction.

She said she’s won more than 25 awards in different categories of the Metro show over four years. In the 2013 show, she won a $1,000 UNM scholarship for her portfolio that was judged on the full body of her artwork.

Jornigan also has received recognition for her art in other competitions.

A UNM freshman, Jornigan is pursuing a degree in studio art.

“I would be open to (a career) in graphic design, commercial art, maybe some apparel design. There’s a vast opportunity out there and I’m fairly flexible,” she said.

Fatemi has shown his art in the Metro Art Show and in A is for Art! since he was a freshman.

His work in this year’s A is for Art! show is a media-mixed piece titled “Gatherer.”

A painting by La Cueva High School graduate John Fatemi.

A painting by La Cueva High School graduate John Fatemi.

“John is a very talented artist … who has worked in a variety of mediums. Mixed-media is one of his specialties and he’s used a variety of different techniques and forms to create his art,” said Phill Casaus, executive director of the APS Education Foundation.

Fatemi got into art at La Cueva because it was required and stayed with it because his mom inspired him and let him flourish, Casaus said.

Fatemi, whose favorite medium is sculpture, is a studio art major at UNM.

About 200 works of art, mostly by students – plus a few by fine arts teachers – are in the event’s silent auction. In addition, three vintage school desks made into art pieces by students at Albuquerque, Del Norte and Volcano Vista high schools will be auctioned.

Proceeds from the auctions are split between the artists, the APS Fine Arts Department and the APS Education Foundation, Casaus said. The artists receive 40 percent of the total sale.

The foundation uses its split to organize the next year’s A is for Art! show and the Fine Arts Department puts its part of the proceeds into the comprehensive high school art programs, he said.

“Our goal has always been to show that the stars in high schools aren’t just the valedictorians and our high hurdlers,” Casaus said.

“They run the gamut, and that gamut includes the fine arts, where kids create beautiful things with their imagination, their talent and their commitment. We’re excited about expanding this year, because our goal for this event is to create a community of support for the fine arts while kids are still in school.”

There are also special auction “items.”

Event attendees, for example, can bid on the Atrisco Heritage Academy’s Fine Arts Department in the live auction.

Singer Mary Miranda will entertain at the fundraising event.

Singer Mary Miranda will entertain at the fundraising event.

That means, Casaus said, “you can support all of their offerings, including drama, music and visual arts. We did it to change things up, and also alert the community that the district has many programs that need community and fall under the Fine Arts umbrella.”

Also in the silent auction, attendees can support fine-arts programs at APS comprehensive high schools. Volunteers will circulate “fund-a-program” bid sheets, he said.

Besides the visual art auctions, he said, there will be a number of student musical performances at the event – mariachis from Atrisco Heritage Academy, Eldorado High School’s Gold Rush mixed show choir, Cibola’s flamenco guitar ensemble, Volcano Vista’s jazz band and La Cueva’s Camerata orchestral group.

This is the announced timetable of event activities:

  • 5 p.m. Silent auction, reception and music.
  • 7 p.m. Emcees Jackie & Tony from 100.3 FM (The Peak), student musical performances and a special performance by Mary Miranda, a former APS student who was a contestant on season four of the TV show “The Voice.”
  • 8:15 p.m. Live auction and more musical performances.