Santa Fe, NM
Throughout his more than fifty-year career as an internationally celebrated artist, James Drake has explored the human condition, specifically its emotions and its borders, both material and metaphysical.
Through drawings, sculpture, video, and multi-media installations, Drake maps a space of humanity that moves easily in a singular language of poetry and physics, addressing both current events and cultural history. A master draftsman, his monumentally scaled black-and-white drawings are imbued with power and beauty. Drake is unique among his peers in his understanding that visual art does not operate in a vacuum; he consistently seeks out collaborators to create holistic works of art that resonate universally.
Among his many honors, Drake was featured in the 2000 Whitney Biennial and the 2007 Venice Biennale, Think with the Senses—Feel with the Mind, curated by Robert Storr. He received both a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and his work is included in major museum and private collections worldwide.
Born in Lubbock, Texas, Drake was raised in Guatemala and El Paso, Texas, and worked for over twenty-five years in Juárez, Mexico. It was in El Paso and Juárez that he embraced the unique cultural divide of the border between the US and Mexico—a topic of almost endless inspiration in his work. His multi-channel video installation Tongue Cut Sparrows (1995), for example, explores the private sign language that female partners of men imprisoned in an El Paso jail used to communicate with their loved ones. By providing them with texts by timeless writers, from William Shakespeare to Cormac McCarthy, to incorporate into their messages, Drake created a meditation on love, loss, and the gap between.
Drake is particularly adept at large-scale charcoal drawings that are replete with historical and contemporary allusions. For example, City of Tells from 2002-04, is a 12-by-32-foot drawing inspired by Raphael’s School of Athens. Drake has worked in collaboration with writer Cormac McCarthy, poets Benjamin Sáenz and Jimmy Santiago Baca, and leading scientists Murray Gell-Mann and David Krakauer
Mexico City, MX
Latin Grammy-nominated Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in México today—a vibrant, critically acclaimed artist whose music is commissioned and performed by leading orchestras, ensembles, and soloists worldwide.
Her most recent work for orchestra, Clara, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, had its world premiere in March 2022, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Three other works were recently commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, also conducted by Dudamel. Ortiz’s musical language has been described as achieving an extraordinary synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde by combining high art, folk music and jazz in novel, frequently refined and always personal ways. She has written music for dance, theater, and cinema; has collaborated with poets, playwrights, and historians; and has composed three operas in which interdisciplinary collaboration has been central. Ortiz has been honored with México’s prestigious National Prize for Arts and Literature and many other awards, including the Mexican Academy of Arts; fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations; First Prize in the Silvestre Revueltas National Chamber Music Competition; First Prize at the Alicia Urreta Composition Competition; and the Mozart Medal Award.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
El Paso, TX
Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an award-winning novelist, poet, and author of young adult fiction. His most recent book, Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, published in October 2021, was a #1 New York Times bestseller.
In 2013, Sáenz received the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his short story collection, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club. Among his many other accolades are a Wallace Stegner Poetry Fellowship, a Lannan Poetry Fellowship, an American Book Award for his first book of poems, Calendar of Dust, and a prestigious Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Texas Institute of Letters (2020). Sáenz’s first book in the “Aristotle and Dante” series, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, won numerous awards and was recently adapted into a movie, with Lin-Manuel Miranda serving as executive producer.
Shaun Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist. His performance practice, anchored by his work in Assembly—a diversion program for court-involved youth at the Brooklyn arts nonprofit Recess—is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment.
Leonardo’s work has been featured at the Guggenheim Museum, the High Line, and New Museum, and was profiled in The New York Times and on CNN. His solo exhibition, The Breath of Empty Space, was recently presented at MICA, MASS MoCA, and the Bronx Museum. His first major public art commission, Between Four Freedoms, also recently premiered at Four Freedoms Park Conservancy. Leonardo currently serves as Recess Co-Director, helping guide the organization’s continuous evolution as an engine of social change. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and is a recipient of support from Creative Capital, Guggenheim Social Practice, Art for Justice, and A Blade of Grass.
Mexico City, MX
Alejandro Escuer is a Mexican flutist, composer, improviser, and multidisciplinary artist who has been a driving force in the consolidation of a new music movement in México.
He has been the artistic director and producer of several hundred concerts, with more than 180 premieres of pieces credited to him, including several flute and orchestra concertos. His awards include the Rockefeller Foundation; the UNAM scholarship (1989, 1991, 1995); a National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Award (2012); and many fellowships and special recognitions from Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. Escuer is a tenured member of the Faculty of Music at UNAM. He holds degrees from Conservatorio Nacional de Música and UNAM; a soloist degree from Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam; and he earned his doctorate from New York University. Escuer has recorded more than twenty-two albums as artistic director and/or soloist.
Santa Fe, NM
Steve Jiménez is an award-winning writer, producer, director, and journalist who divides his time between Santa Fe and his native Brooklyn.
His television work has included documentary films for ABC, Dan Rather Reports, Fox, Nova, National Geographic Explorer, and others. His many accolades include a Writers Guild of America Award, a Norman Mailer Fellowship, the Mongerson Award of Distinction from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, an Emmy Award, and fellowships from the Writers Guild of America, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, MacDowell, and Ucross. Jiménez recently served as Vice President of the Ucross Foundation. He has curated, produced, and hosted live and virtual events and concerts with some of America’s leading artists and writers. Currently, he is in pre-production for Border Child, a limited series for television based on two novels by Michel Stone.
Los Angeles, CA
Leila Hamidi is a curator who works collaboratively across disciplines in the arts, design, and architecture to create projects that imagine a more generous future.
She was the assistant project director on the first Getty Pacific Standard Time initiative; director of program development at UCLA A.UD where she launched a robotics lab and experimental masters program in architecture; and in 2021 served as co-director of the Art Rise initiative part of WE RISE—an annual event of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. The project commissioned over eighteen temporary public art installations in and around Downtown Los Angeles, produced in collaboration with twelve museums and cultural institutions and over ninety artists. As part of WE RISE, she also curated Love Letters in Light, a poetry-based public artwork produced in partnership with LA County Library for which a short documentary was produced to chronicle the project.
As a choreographer, teacher, cultural architect and community builder, Harrison Guy uses movement to document, preserve, and honor Black history and culture.
He is the founder of Urban Souls Dance Company, Houston,TX (2004). Harrison has captivated audiences across the nation through his inspirational and unique works of truth, beauty, and activism. Using his personal identity as a Black gay man as a catalyst, Harrison is interested in how Black life and African American traditions might be accessed in the pursuit of healing. He is a Dance/USA Artist Fellow made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF).
New York, NY
Terrie Sultan is recognized as a thoughtful, innovative museum professional with strong expertise in energetic leadership, fundraising, strategic planning, donor relations, and staff and trustee mentorship.
She is highly regarded internationally for her curatorial projects and is a published author of a number of books and publications. As Director of the Blaffer Art Museum (2000-2008) and the Parrish Art Museum (2008-2020) Sultan developed and implemented major capital campaigns for endowments, program initiatives, and for the Parrish, completed a $33 million campaign for the design and construction of a new facility that opened in 2012. Throughout her career she has excelled in preparing and implementing strategic plans, and enhancing and expanding the missions, visions, goals and services to the communities of the institutions she has led.
Matthew Loden is the Lynette S. Autrey Dean of Music and Professor of Music at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
He has performed around the world, judged competitions, and served as a university lecturer. In 2018, he became CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and was responsible for commissioning world-premiere works from next-generation composers and establishing new creative partnerships. Before Toronto, he was interim co-president of the Philadelphia Orchestra and executive vice president for institutional advancement. As vice president and general manager at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Loden supervised operations for hundreds of musical events, including operations for five orchestras, opera productions, chamber music programs, master classes and lectures for 650 students. As a violinist, he performed regularly with the Kennedy Center Opera and Ballet orchestras, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet orchestras, the American Composers Orchestra, and he has been the concertmaster for the Washington Bach Consort and a principal player in the American Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
New York, NY
Martirene Alcántara was born in Mexico City. She is a visual artist who works with photography and moving images, and more recently, set design.
Her work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, as well as many private collections. After studying architecture, art, and photography in Mexico, the US, and Spain, she received several awards in Austria, Mexico, and the US, including a Rockefeller/ FONCA Grant. Alcántara has been a fellow at Ucross in Wyoming, Salzburg Künstlerhaus in Austria, Serlachius in Finland, and the Albee Foundation in New York. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums in Europe, Latin America and the US.
Los Angeles, CA
Bill Megalos is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has combined a career as a director, producer, and cinematographer with teaching at the university level and leading workshops around the world.
He has photographed over 30 full-length documentaries for PBS, BBC, and Channel 4 (UK) and has filmed in over 60 countries. His series of mini-dramas on family planning won the World Health Organization’s Global Award for Media Excellence. Megalos has served on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York, Brooklyn College, Pepperdine University, and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. He was a founder and Director of Programming at The Recovery Network, where he created six television series and produced 120 hours of programming. Early in his career, he worked as a roadie and concert lighting designer for Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, The Beach Boys, and other artists.