Friday, September 28, 2012

Ceramics Class Draws on Local Landscape For Inspiration

John Zimmerman came back to Gallup in August energized. The University of New Mexico-Gallup ceramics instructor had just spent a year at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft on sabbatical and was eager to engage the new students in his Ceramics I class in a way that would convey that energy.

The class, none of whom had ever worked with modeling clay, responded enthusiastically to Zimmerman’s “Landscape Project.” His goal of having the students work together on their first project for the class helped open them up and promoted interaction – a thing that is not always easy for the cultures that intersect at UNMG.

“I chose this topic because the landscape is the one thing that everyone shares,” Zimmerman said. “It’s something we all have in common.”

The collaborative sculptures started with the basics. Students learned the coil-built procedure to create the base structure. From there, they added on, creating interesting and sometimes fantastical interpretations of the local landscape. Bighorn sheep and fearsome snake heads, plants, geographical features such as waterfalls and caves, totemic figures and humans ascending a rough-hewn staircase, all figure into the sculptures and create a sometimes phantasmagoric aspect.

“They built the structures the same, textured to look like rock, and added individual elements to create a theme,” Zimmerman explained. “They tried to think of their projects in a holistic way, creating one big thing as opposed to several small things.”

Zimmerman is planning two more such collaborative projects: a seascape and a cityscape.
Many of UNM-Gallup’s students have never seen large bodies of water, so Zimmerman says he’s eager to see what they will come up with. In the seascape, they may imagine sea creatures they know through images, he says, but he is also encouraging them to think about water on the scale they are familiar with – be it a puddle or a well, or a windmill and a pond. He will encourage them to think in terms of their daily experience.

The cityscape will likewise provide some challenges for students who are mainly rural and whose experience of the wider world may be limited. Zimmerman also looks forward to seeing how they will try to translate what they know about urban life into ceramics.

Beyond breaking down social barriers, however, Zimmerman sees these projects as a way to help beginning students understand Contemporary Art. Many are familiar with traditional Indian art but it can take a class like Ceramics I to open them up to the expressive possibilities that lie with Contemporary Art.

“I’m a white guy from Ohio,” Zimmerman said. “I can’t teach Native American pottery, but I can help push the students beyond this one tradition. My job is twofold: to allow them to express their own culture, but not just to stop there. I can help them ask, ‘how do I express living within this culture but with a contemporary world view?’ How is this information relevant today? We see a duality in these pieces, for instance, in that they talk about the past and honor it, but also express a view that is about the present and the future.”

He credits fellow instructor Ken Roberts’ History of Art classes with opening the door to contemporary art for many of the students.

“Ken’s classes give them a huge spectrum. I can tell which students have taken these classes – their knowledge is larger.”

Zimmerman, who is also manager of the Ingham Chapman Gallery, says ultimately the goal of UNMG’s Fine Arts Department is to honor the local culture but also to provide students with an opening to see new horizons of artistic expression.

The results of the class’s first efforts, the Landscape Project, are on view in the display case in Gurley Hall.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Digital Link Between Gallup and Zuni Campuses Faster

GALLUP -- The speed of digital communication between the University of New Mexico-Gallup and the South Campus at Zuni just got a whole lot faster.
With the completion on Sept. 21 of a microwave relay beamed from Gibson Peak north of Gallup, to Black Rock on the east edge of Zuni, students, faculty and staff at UNM-Gallup’s Zuni campus now enjoy access to the internet at speeds 100 times faster than they ever have before.
“Everything from email to e-learning tools is suddenly at our fingertips” said Bruce Klewer, Zuni campus manager.  Students can now easily gain access to distance learning classes taught from UNM-Gallup or UNM Albuquerque. IT professionals can also now maintain equipment from the Gallup campus without having to drive 74 miles round trip to Zuni.
The Zuni microwave link is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between UNM-Gallup, UNM-Albuquerque’s IT division (IT@UNM), and the Navajo Nation and Navajo Technical College’s “Internet to the Hogan” project. Navajo Technical College, through a grant from the National Science Foundation, and UNM-Gallup, jointly funded the $315,000 project.
“This was a very important investment for us,” said Wynn Goering, interim executive director of UNM-Gallup. “Both the Zuni connection, and the fact that it also increases our connectivity to the main campus, dramatically increase the quality and quantity of what we can do here.”
UNM-Gallup, IT@UNM and Navajo Technical College will hold a press conference on October 11 at the South Campus at Zuni to discuss the collaboration and also to showcase the newly developed broadband network infrastructure.
“As part of UNM’s commitment to student success, we are working to ensure that all students, across all our branches and locations, have access to the technology services they need in order to succeed today,” said UNM President Robert G. Frank.  “We have worked relentlessly on this implementation as part of our promise to provide access to an excellent education to students at UNM-Gallup.” 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Passage of Education Bond C Means $1 Million in Water/Sewer Upgrades for UNMG

This fall voters will have an opportunity to improve New Mexico’s higher education system and benefit nearly every public college and university across the state by supporting General Obligation Bond C. A “yes” vote on Bond C will fund capital improvements and renovations to our higher education system and will create an estimated 1,200 new jobs with no increase in property taxes.

Locally, the University of New Mexico-Gallup stands to gain $1 million for much-needed water and sewer upgrades for fire and safety needs.

“State GO Bonds are especially critical for McKinley County projects," said Wynn Goering, interim executive director of UNM-Gallup, "because we always receive a great deal more than we put in.  They're by far the best way to meet our infrastructure needs."

UNM-Gallup is one among New Mexico’s many aging institutions of higher education with facilities that are badly in need of repair. In order to keep our institutions competitive and ensure that New Mexico has an educated workforce, major capital improvements and upgrades to existing facilities need to be made regularly.

Higher Education Bond C proposes a total of $119,400,000 for capital improvements and renovations that will include nearly every public college and university in the state.
A complete list of proposed projects statewide is included on a website –

General Obligation Bond C is funded with no new taxes. Campaign organizers say that voters would, instead, see a positive economic impact due to the addition of an estimated 1,200 jobs for architects, contractors and other workers to complete the capital improvements.

Proponents also say that by improving our higher education buildings, New Mexico provides a better learning environment for students and builds a more highly educated workforce.

“No matter where you live in New Mexico, there is a school and a community that will benefit from Bond C,” said former New Mexico Governors Garrey Carruthers and Toney Anaya, who are statewide honorary co-chairs of the 2012 General Obligation Bond for Education Campaign Committee. “These infrastructure improvements to our colleges and universities are critical to maintain a high standard of education and produce the skilled workforce that is essential in a competitive economy.”

Absentee voting begins Oct. 9, and lasts through Nov. 2. Early voting is scheduled from Oct. 20-Nov. 3, and polls are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6.

For more information about Bond C, visit

Additionally, voters will also be deciding about Library Bond B, which if passed, will provide the UNM-Gallup Zollinger Library with $28,942 in funds for acquisitions. If all three ballots – which include a senior facilities ballot as well as the above two ballots –are approved by the voters in November 2012, the average cost to the owner of a property worth $100,000 over a 10-year period will be $8.04 per year.  Of that $8.04 average cost per year, $6.88 is attributable to the higher education ballot, $0.59 to the senior facilities ballot, and $0.56 to the library acquisitions ballot. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

UNMG's Ingham Chapman Hosts NMSA Faculty Work

An exhibition by the faculty of the New Mexico School for the Arts Charter School and Art Institute, “Simple Stories,” is on view through Sept. 27 at the Ingham Chapman Gallery at the University of New Mexico-Gallup.

Artists whose work is exhibited include the following:

Cristina Gonzalez, Acero Picado, 2012. Gonzales describes a perforated steel sculpture as an enlarged, modern adaptation of papel picado, the decorative craft from Mexico in which artisans use chisels and scissors to create elaborate designs in stacks of tissue paper.

Jacob Sisneros, sheep stop, 2012. Clay. Clay sheep populate a painted swath of the Diné landscape, while the work incorporates other well-known features of Dinétah – roads and roadways, and the “Route 66 endeavor to connect and direct,” while “the sheep say Ka’ad.” Red dominates the rocky landscape and even the sheep’s wool becomes part of the russet-toned geography.

Sarah Spengler, Untitled (Ocean Trash), 2012. Archival Inkjet Print. “I photograph trash, discarded remnants of a society,” says the artist. This work represents her search for artifacts that have been reclaimed by the ocean, specifically plastic intertwined with marine life. A battleship game, a toy vacuum cleaner, plastic flowers – each piece is embedded with sociological information, and grouped together, forms a narrative. Paradoxically, the abundance of waste suggests excess, while the abandonment of it hints at extinction.

Edie Tsong, Chat Series, Sumi Ink on Paper. 2011-present. Tsong, who grew up in a trilingual household, says that language sometimes felt like a barrier against communication. Nowadays, however, she says she finds it is not language but intention and delivery that are silent barriers. In her “Chat” series, she explores delivery, intent and relationship through the shape and addition of eyes on speech bubbles.

There will be a gallery talk on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 6 p.m., with a reception to follow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Leadership Change At UNMG Announced

By Mara Kerkez, University of New Mexico Communications and Marketing
Sylvia Andrew, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Uni­ver­sity of New Mexico-Gallup, announced today that she is leav­ing her posi­tion to return to teach­ing. UNM Pres­i­dent Robert Frank appointed Wynn Goer­ing, spe­cial assis­tant to the pres­i­dent for Branch Affairs, interim direc­tor effec­tively immediately.
We are grate­ful for the effort Dr. Andrew has given to the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico and to the com­mu­nity of Gallup,” Pres­i­dent Frank said. “We’re going to do every­thing we can to improve the suc­cess of the UNM-Gallup cam­pus and its students.”
Andrew held the posi­tion of exec­u­tive direc­tor at UNM-Gallup since August 2009. Pre­vi­ously, she served as provost and vice pres­i­dent for Aca­d­e­mic Affairs at Anti­och Uni­ver­sity Los Ange­les, and dean and pro­fes­sor in the Col­lege of Social Work at San Jose State University.
The UNM-Gallup direc­tor­ship will be the sec­ond such post for Goer­ing, who served as interim exec­u­tive direc­tor of UNM’s Taos cam­pus in 2000–2002. He has held a vari­ety of admin­is­tra­tive posi­tions at UNM main cam­pus, most recently as vice provost for Aca­d­e­mic Affairs from 2007–2012.
Dr. Goer­ing knows more about UNM’s branches and their rela­tion­ship to the main cam­pus than any­one else at UNM,” Frank said. “We’re count­ing on him to ensure the con­tin­ued well-being of UNM-Gallup.”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Entrepreneur Expo Set for Oct. 12

The Entrepreneurship Program of the University of New Mexico-Gallup is sponsoring the second Entrepreneur Expo on Oct. 12. Local high school and college students and community members will showcase their work on business ideas for products and services and a panel of judges will award cash prizes for the most innovative ideas.

In addition, a full day of speakers and workshops is planned.

The agenda is as follows:
9-10 a.m.         Welcome address by Sylvia Andrew, executive director of UNMG
                        Keynote address, David Melton, CEO of Sacred Power of Albuquerque

10 a.m.-noon   Exhibit judging, public viewing and networking
Noon-1 p.m.    Lunch
Luncheon speaker: Jim Maguire, managing member, NativeOne Institutional Trading, New York City

1-2 p.m.           Workshops (choose one)

2-3 p.m.           Workshops (choose one)

3-3:30 p.m.      Awards ceremony                  

3:30-4 p.m.      Closing remarks

The workshops are as follows:
“Women-owned Businesses,” by Heather Fleming, founder, Catapult Design, Calvin Hall Auditorium
“Protecting Your Creativity,” by Jovan Heusser, innovation manager, STC, UNM, Gurley Hall Auditorium
“Green Economy,” by Bill Bright, Gallup Solar, Gurley Hall 207    
“Marketing Your Business,” Peter Mikelson, SCORE (organization of retired business owners).

Among the exhibition tables: Small Business Development Center, United Indian Development Assistant Services, New Mexico Procurement and Technical Assistance Program, Navajo Nation Regional Business Development Office, Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments, American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico, Gallup-McKinley County Chamber of Commerce, UNM Extended University, Bachelor and Graduate Programs

Al Henderson, director of the Entrepreneurship Program and organizer of the Expo, is accepting applications from high school and college students and community members. For more information contact Henderson at (505)863-7634,