2016-2017 SITE Scholars

Each year, the local contemporary art museum SITE Santa Fe’s program SITE Scholars brings together a group of student artists from the community to create an exhibition in the spring. In spite of the major construction SITE is undergoing right now, this year’s Scholars program is no different. Fifteen artists have been selected from schools across northern New Mexico such as the University of New Mexico, the Institute of American Indian Arts, St. John’s College and SFUAD. This year, SFUAD has four students in the program who were selected last fall: Sarah Canelas, Conor Flynn, Kemely Gomez and Emily Villarma. Since then they have had the opportunity to network with each other and professional artists through SITE, as well as work on their own projects, which will be exhibited in the show Deliberate Acts at the gallery form & concept on April 28. Jackalope Magazine was able to speak with Gomez and Flynn about their experiences with the program.

Kemely Gomez is one of SFUAD’s 2016-2017 SITE Scholars. Photo by Jason Stilgebouer

Kemely Gomez is a December 2017 Studio Arts graduate. Her current project focuses on her childhood in Guatemala and her experience as an immigrant and a DREAMer, or a child of undocumented immigrants who meets the requirement of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors [DREAM] Act. “At the moment I’m kind of going back and focusing on immigration issues…I hold Deferred Action paperwork and…I’m very interested in doing artwork supporting the DREAMers currently.” Gomez’ main medium at the moment is fabric and paper, sewed together by hand or machine. Her experience with SITE Scholars has allowed her to continue to show off her work after graduation without academic structure or influence. “I’m just getting [my artwork] out without the support of the teachers or having an assignment, kind of creating my own themes.” At the moment, Gomez is taking a year off to focus on creating artwork and a place for herself in the Santa Fe community. “But I definitely would like to get into graduate school, get my master’s degree and eventually teach. That’s one of the things I would like to do in the future.”

Studio Arts senior Connor Flynn works on a mixed media project exploring the relationship between man and organism. Photo by Jesus Trujillo.

SITE Scholar Conor Flynn, SFUAD senior Studio Arts major, integrates nature and art through science. His work often focuses on the chaotic structures found in nature, such as termite nests. “I like to create really rich, intricate frameworks within two dimensional space to try and extend it to be perceived as having deep space,” Flynn says. In effect, he says, he’s trying to “create a space for someone to explore their own projections. Like a Rorschach test essentially.” His work for the SITE Scholars exhibition is based in printmaking, but he also works in painting and drawing. “I’ll switch between the three whenever I get tired of one or the other. I’m at my limits with printmaking because I’ve spent so much time in [the printmaking studio] so I’m about to put that on the backburner and start painting again.” Flynn says he was surprised and a little in awe when he was chosen as a Scholar, “especially looking at the other work that SFUAD students are making who are in the program.”