Valerie Martinez and Dr. Shelle VanEtten de Sanchez (September 2015)

Valerie Martinez and Dr. Shelle VanEtten de Sanchez (September 2015)

Valerie Martínez is a poet, educator, arts administrator, and collaborative artist. For over 20 years she was a professor at the college/university level both teaching and administering academic programs, including an Interdisciplinary Studies Program at the College of Santa Fe. For the past 15 years, she has worked with children, youth, adults, elders, artists and families in a wide range of community arts and outreach projects. From 2009 to May of 2015 Valerie was a core team member and then Executive Director of Littleglobe, Inc., a New Mexico-based 501(c)(3) that creates significant works of art/performance with members of diverse and underserved communities. Valerie is currently the Founder and Director of Artful Life whose work transforms communities through collaboration and art.

Valerie has extensive experience as a project director and/or a member of the artist team for a wide range of large-scale arts and community engagement projects including Stories of Route 66 (in Albuquerque’s International District); El Puente/The Bridge (in Albuquerque’s Barelas and South Valley neighborhoods); Women & Creativity (with over 30 organizational partners and hundreds of NM artists); Santa Fe Bus Opera; Rivers Run Through Us (along the Santa Fe River); Lines & Circles (with 3 & 4 generations of 11 Santa Fe families), Common Ground TOC (in Cuba, Torreon, Ojo Encino, NM) and Lifesongs (with elders in hospice and nursing homes).

Valerie is also an accomplished poet, author of 6 award-winning books of poetry including Each and Her (winner of the 2011 Arizona Book Award, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize). Her poetry, translations and essays have appeared widely in literary journals, anthologies and magazines. Valerie is the Founder and Director of EKCO Poets—bringing ekphrasis, collaboration and spoken word performance to large audiences in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Valerie has a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. from The University of Arizona. She has taught at the University of Arizona, Ursinus College, University of New Mexico, College of Santa Fe, Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA), the University of Miami, and in the rural schools of Swaziland. She was the Poet Laureate for the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico from 2008-2010. In 2014 Valerie was awarded a Creative Bravos Award for her contributions to Albuquerque’s creative economy. In 2009 she was awarded the Albuquerque Journal/SAGE Magazine award for “Twenty Women Who Have Made a Difference.” Learn more about Valerie and her work at www.valeriemartinez.net.

Dr. Shelle VanEtten de Sanchez has worked for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs since the beginning of 2002 where she is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives. Her professional background includes arts and museum education, classroom teaching, university instruction and research, distance education, entrepreneurship, community programs, and the pursuit of meaningful work! She received three Bravos awards (2007, 2009 and 2012) which recognize excellence in the arts and the creative economy in Albuquerque. She teaches, publishes, and presents on a variety of topics related to arts, education and collaboration. She is committed to arts and culture with special attention to collaborative programs, community connections, youth programs and celebrating the power of creativity.