Every year ARTsmart selects an artist who is distinguished not only in New Mexico, but also throughout the world. As part of his/her mission, the Honorary Artist works with Santa Fe high school students in creating artworks that are auctioned during ARTsmart’s Annual Dinner & Auction fundraiser. Proceeds from the sold works are split between the student artists and their school. This program connects students with their community while teaching them about the possibility of a career in art.
Honorary Artist, 2019
Gallery owner, artist, and ceramics instructor Heidi Loewen’s first experience with clay was thanks to a class she took as a 10-year-old and she remembers instantly falling in love with the malleable material. An avid classical musician, Loewen thought of becoming a concert pianist, but instead studied art at Skidmore College, interned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, traveled to Switzerland to take art history classes at the Sorbonne and eventually returned to her native New York, where she worked at Sotheby’s before managing a private art collection in Boston. While taking pottery classes at Harvard she realized she wanted to work with clay full time; Santa Fe felt like a natural next step. When she moved here in 1992 she first taught ceramics at St. John’s College and Santa Fe Clay before opening her own space four years later. Heidi Loewen Fine Art, her gallery and school, has been at 315 Johnson Street for 26 years.
“Clay is ancient. Clay is interactive. Clay is my joy. Porcelain is my sculptural canvas. I played in the mud from age 2. Porcelain is simply my new mud. I create at the wheel with its mesmerizing, non-stop possibilities. I squish, fold, slice, curl, swirl, toss, curve and carve. My creations vary from playful miniatures to large-scale vessels and multiple installations. I love refined, elegant forms and exceedingly thin rims. I capture elegance and humor simultaneously. I take my work seriously, but my live my life with humor. People often ask if I’m at a loss to create. How funny. I’m always creating new forms, applying wild finishing techniques with smoke firing, gold leafing, gemstones and oil painting. Having achieved high technical proficiency with porcelain, creativity flows easily, with enormous amounts of clay. Its fluidity fascinates me. New techniques happen by happy accident. I treasure every inventive, beautiful mistake. Our world chastises mistakes. I’m fortunate to live in an artistic world ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico where mistakes are golden, unpredictability a celebration. Having grown up with a famous optical engineer father and artist mother, I was encouraged to make discoveries in every field. I wish people could do what brought them joy as a child. I am a most fortunate artist.”