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31 DECEMBER 2007, SANTA FE, NM. Mary Harbour, president of ARTsmart, which organizes and produces the annual ARTfeast weekend fundraiser with the Santa Fe Gallery Association, announced the winners of the annual “I Made It!” plate and placemat project conducted among fifth and sixth grade students in the Santa Fe Public Schools.

“This was the most difficult year for selecting the images to be included in the plate project, as well as identifying the winners,” says Harbour. “Since we began the project six years ago, the art teachers have become increasingly inventive in their assignments and the students are competing to create the most exciting images.”

Out of approximately 900 entries, 51 plates were selected to be included in the annual silent auction that takes place on Saturday, February 23, during the ARTfeast Gourmet Dinner at La Posada de Santa Fe. In addition, Harbour points out that this year five sets of theme plates will be sold in brief live auctions during the Gourmet Dinner, Fashion Luncheon, Wine & Jazz, and Brunch events. “Several of the art teachers created assignments that were remarkably clever, so we decided to auction sets of plates, from eight to twelve. The themes include dogs, mice, flowers, abstract geometrics, and a dozen plates in which the great masterworks are interpreted with the faces of monkeys!”

Winners of the Plate Competition. The following students were selected by the ARTsmart Board and ARTfeast Committee as award recipients. Go to The Kids for photos of winning plates, and to Kids Painting for photos of the children at work.

Grand Award: Gwen Mendoza, EJ Martinez Elementary, Deborah Hawthorne, Art Teacher
First Runner Up: Harlin Pierce, Carlos Gilbert Elementary, Katy Hees, Art Teacher
Second Runner Up: Hector V. Palacio, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Lynne Maguire, Art Teacher

Twelve Honorable Mentions were also awarded, as indicated on the list of all plate artists at The Kids.  All of the plates will be illustrated in the ARTfeast Guide, published by the Journal Santa Fe, February 10, 2008, and on the ARTfeast poster, available February 1, 2008, and underwritten by Southwest Art.

Plate Preview. The public is invited to preview the 51 plates and their placemats during a reception on Saturday, February 2, from 2 to 4 pm at La Fonda Hotel, 100 E. San Francisco St. Admission is free of charge.  Theme-oriented plate sets will be on view at Joyce Robins Gallery, February 8-18, 201 Galisteo St., call 505.989.8795 for hours.

Plate & Placemat Process. This year’s plate and placemat competition, which is generously underwritten by Los Alamos National Bank, began in the fall of 2007 when ARTsmart issued paper in a circular format to Amy Summa, Arts Specialist in the Santa Fe Public Schools. Ms. Summa distributed the blank “placemats” to the art teachers, who worked with their students to create designs. The placemat designs were reviewed by an ARTsmart panel, which selected the group to be transformed into plates. The remaining original designs were laminated and are sold as placemats during ARTfeast events.

Students were then brought to the Painted Dish, located at 839 Paseo de Peralta, to create both a large and small plate from their designs. The children keep the small version and the large version is auctioned during the Gourmet Dinner.

“The project stimulates original and analytical thinking in several ways,” says Harbour. “First, the kids must translate an artistic idea or visual experience onto a two-dimensional paper surface. Then they must think through the process of transferring that drawing, done in crayon, pencil or paint, onto an entirely different surface, using a different medium, in two different sizes.”  Harbour adds that she and several ARTfeast committee members have gone through the plate-making process and found it to be quite the challenge even for adults!

Auctions & Tickets. All of the plates will be auctioned at various ARTfeast events. Please go to the individual events for plates and plate sets and to Tickets and Lodging for ticketing. Proceeds from tickets and the plate and placemat sales help fund future art projects and art materials for students in Santa Fe’s public schools through ARTsmart, which is a 501c3 nonprofit volunteer organization that believes the visual arts are critical to a child’s development.