Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards $300,000 grant to NMSU Museum of Art.

According to Art Museum Coordinator Jasmine Herrera, this grant is an extremely prestigious and well-deserved achievement for NMSU.

“We are so excited and proud,” Herrera said. “It really reflects on NMSU the type of visual arts work we do here and the social and cultural significance of what we do.”

The NMSU Art Museum produces approximately 6-9 exhibitions per year, two of which focus on student work: the Juried Student Show and the Masters of Fine Arts Thesis Show.

The museum consists of four unique sections: a Contemporary Gallery, a Permanent Collections Gallery, an Altarpiece Gallery, and a Bridge Gallery dedicated to displaying student and community work. Current exhibits include art from Taos, Las Cruces, and around the world as well as the gallery’s permanent collection.

For the Mellon Grant, institutions could only apply once invited by the foundation.

“With invite-only grants, it’s always competitive,” Herrera said. “I mean, half the battle is just getting an invite.”

The grant awarded to NMSU focuses specifically on how long the NMSU Art Museum highlights cultural and social diversity.

“We actively acquire works to represent a more diverse group of people,” Herrera said. “And then in terms of our exhibits, the same, like our exhibit right now highlights a non-binary black individual who does work that touches on black diaspora topics.”

Going forward, part of the grant will be used to hire more staff for the museum, such as a collections curator who will help with collection initiatives, community initiatives and online access to the collections.

“At the moment it’s just me and Marissa Sage,” Herrera said. “We are the only staff in the museum. All you see is us and the students…. [The grant] is going to have an impact on who we can hire.

The grant will also allow the museum to bring in other works for future exhibitions, including a Chicago-based curator, as well as provide free events and programs to the public.

“The contribution of this work will simply expose students to even more internationally and nationally recognized artists,” Herrera said.

Overall, Herrera is excited to see where this grant is taking the museum.

“I think it’s just great for our community and for our students to be associated with an organization like this.” said Herrera.

The University Art Museum is located on the north side of Devasthali Hall and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Mildred D. Field