Thursday, June 07, 2018

Curtis Fort to receive Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts

Santa Fe – Today, Governor Susana Martinez and the New Mexico Arts Commission announced the artists and major contributors to the arts who will be recipients of the 2018 Annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. “I’m pleased to pay tribute to these remarkable artists and arts contributors through these lifetime achievement awards,” said Governor Martinez. “These artists and patrons of the arts help drive our creative economy and ensure our status as the Land of Enchantment.” The 2018 Governor’s Arts Awards ceremonies will be held on Friday, September 14, at 5:15 pm at the St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. The ceremony is preceded by an afternoon reception and exhibition opening, 3:30 – 4:30 pm, in the Governor’s Gallery at the State Capitol. Both the awards ceremony and gallery reception are free and open to the public. This year marks the 45th annual celebration of the Governor's Arts Awards, which was established in 1974 to celebrate the extensive role that artists and their work have played in New Mexico. A diverse and noteworthy list of painters, weavers, sculptors, dancers, musicians, storytellers, poets, actors, playwrights, and potters have been honored by the Governor’s Arts Awards. Past awardees include: Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Maria Martinez, Tony Abeyta, Glenna Goodacre, Tony Hillerman, N. Scott Momaday, Tammy Garcia, and Catherine Oppenheimer. Governor Martinez and the New Mexico Arts Commission announce that the awardees for this year’s Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts are:

Individual Artists:

Curtis Fort of Tatum, Artist, Sculpture/Bronze: Curtis Fort has been called a “Storyteller in Bronze,” for his realistic portrayals of the west, particularly cowboys and ranch life, both contemporary and historical. Fort grew up on the Dickinson Cattle Company ranch in Lea County, and has been a working cowboy most of his life. “I have been following Curtis Fort’s career as a sculptor for many years, and I feel his sculptures represent our state and the West with skill, authenticity, and deep feeling,” said Max Evans, who received a governor’s arts award for literature in 1993. Fort, who became a full-time artist in 1980, recently completed a life-size horse monument at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, which is dedicated to Big Bend law officers who have died in the line of duty. “There is not a more deserving native New Mexican artist to receive the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, given his lifetime of work and significant contributions to the world of art,” said Don Maddox, director emeritus and general counsel of the J. F Maddox Foundation in Hobbs, which received a governor’s arts award as a major contributor to the arts in 2012. Maddox noted that the lobby of the new Center of Recreational Excellence in Hobbs features a wildlife scene and a series of historical plaques by Fort. Fort’s artwork is also displayed in galleries, museums, private home and businesses, said Jim Harris, director of the Lea County Museum in Lovington. “Mr. Fort has established himself as one of the most highly regarded bronze sculpture artists in the nation,” said Frank Dubois, New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture from 1988-2003. “His depictions of cowboys, Native Americans, wildlife, livestock, and western landscapes are things of remarkable beauty and faithfully represent the history of the West.” Fort is credited with pushing the boundaries of his genre. “It is the subtleties, especially the attention to detail that is most prized in his works,” Dubois said. “If there is a boot, spur, bit, saddle or other cowboy paraphernalia in the piece, you can be assured it is an accurate replica of the original.” Fort has also written stories of his life as a cowboy that were published in the New Mexico Stockman Magazine from 2010 to 2014. He is currently consolidating those stories into an illustrated book for publication. Fort was one of the founders of the Will James Society, serving as the first president of the group, which is dedicated to preserving the art and books by Will James, as well as to promoting the values shared by working cowboys and their families. In 2017, Fort received The Rounders Award from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, which honors those who live, promote and articulate the western way of life. Fort is also revered as someone who “happily gives back to his community,” DuBois said.

Congratulation Curtis, a well deserved honor!

And many thanks to you and Carol for all you have done with the DuBois Award and in supporting the NMSU rodeo program.

Who would have thought when we met in the 60s, that I would be writing this. Certainly not anyone who knew us at the time!

Thank you for your friendship, and for sharing your wonderful talent with all of us.


Myles Culbertson said...

A great pick. This is an artist with the genre in his bones and a passion for the life depicted. I could be more pleased and excited for my old amigo.

Myles Culbertson said...

Correction - I could NOT be more pleased !!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful pick! No one represents New Mexico better than Curtis Fort. His family history in this state is impressive, as well as all of the Fort's contributions. Bravo Curtis.

drjohn said...

believe it or not I have some will james books that I have had for over 70 years. I will be going thru Tatum in about five days and would like to see him . is there a museum in tatum?

Anonymous said...

Not a museum in Tatum.....however 20 miles to the south in Lovington there is a good museum and Curtis has stuff there and done many shows there & is best friends w/ the curator, Jim Harris.........Curtis( Curly Bill) would be way excited to hook up w/ you asap. His cell # is 575-399-9974. Adios.