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Wilson2014-56cropwebARTsmart New Mexico has selected Valerie Plame as honorary chair for the 18th Annual ARTfeast Santa Fe. “We are pleased to confirm that Valerie has agreed to serve as our first honorary chair,” states ARTsmart President Connie Axton. “She epitomizes personal achievement, as well as local, national, and global service in so many ways.”

Plame, who is married to former ambassador Joe Wilson, is a consultant to the Santa Fe Institute. She holds two master degrees, speaks four languages, and is a former CIA operative with three books to her credit. Her 2007 memoir Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House was made into a film of the same name in 2010. The compelling chronicle relates the scenario of her CIA leak case and career as a spy before and after the leak. Plame has gone on to use her expertise as the author of fiction as well, including two Vanessa Pierson spy thrillers with co-author Sarah Lovett: Blowback (2013) and the newly released Burned.

Plame is also a mother of two children and a leader in Global Zero, whose mission is removing nuclear weapons from the planet. “Nuclear weapons make you less safe, not more,” Plame has said, adding that she urges the government to redirect nuclear funds to education, jobs, and health care, rather than “useless, dangerous weapons that belong in the dustbin of history.” Included in her appeal are rectifying cuts in teachers and extracurricular programs, such as the visual arts. ARTsmart applauds Plame’s vision of a nuclear-free world and thanks her for inspiring others to stand up in support of ARTsmart’s vision to ensure that New Mexico youth have the opportunity to explore, experience, and engage in the visual arts, which are critical components of every student’s education.

ARTsmart is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises funds for visual arts programs directed to students, ages kindergarten through high school, as well as scholarships for high school seniors pursing the fine arts in college. ARTsmart programs are conducted independently at the ARTbarn Community Studio, in public and charter schools, and in collaboration with art organizations such as SITE Santa FE. In October 2014, ARTsmart donated $45,000 to Santa Fe schools, adding to the $4.4 million donated to art programs since 1990.

ARTfeast Santa Fe is a series of weekend fundraisers that are hailed as “a great time for a creative cause,” attracting philanthropists from throughout the country. The 18th Annual ARTfeast kicks off with three events on February 20-22, 2015, which bring together the business community, art galleries, professional artists, art collectors, artful homes, fashion designers, and purveyors of fine food, wines, and spirits. It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere features music, dance, designer cocktails, and Project Runway All-Star Patricia Michaels on Friday. On Saturday, Step Up to the Plate showcases a gourmet dinner paired with select wines, live and silent auctions, and a Quick Draw with both professional and student artists. On Saturday and Sunday, some of the city’s most distinctive homes are opened to the public for a dream tour of artful living.

ARTfeast’s popular Edible Art Tour (EAT), which was traditionally held in February, has been moved to June 12-13, 2015. Pairing Santa Fe’s top restaurants and galleries, EAT is now a summer extravaganza that takes place over two nights: Friday in the Downtown and Saturday on Canyon Road. Ticket holders enjoy the city’s wealth of creativity in both the fine and culinary arts in each of its uniquely “walkable” arts districts.

For more information on Valerie Plame, please visit her website valerieplamewilson.com.