Nogales, AZ has once again returned to the state’s artistic spotlight. On the weekend of Feb 13th, its Hilltop Gallery was announced as a finalist in the 2018 Governor’s Arts Awards. These awards are presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts in partnership with the office of the Governor. They are based on the significance of the nominee’s achievements and contributions, the range of individuals and groups served by these contributions, and the degree of dedication that the nominee has to the arts. Since 1981, upwards of 200 awards have been presented to various artists and other individuals, cultural groups and organizations, and businesses.
The Hilltop Gallery is one of three finalists in the Arts in Education (Organization or School) category. These and other honorees were announced at a reception on Feb 6th, and on March 22nd in Phoenix, at the 37th annual Governor’s Arts Awards dinner and celebration, the winners will be announced.
The Hilltop Gallery, founded in 1968, is the region’s only permanent art collection. Its exhibits and education galleries focus on the variety of cultures from both the U.S and Mexico. The Gallery often collaborates on events with other local institutions and centers, such as the Consulate of Mexico. It also organizes art classes for the community, in addition to special corporate art shows for local business sponsors from June to August. One of its upcoming exhibits (March 5), is titled Faith Posey & friends- International Day of the Woman (mixed). If you are interested in becoming a Gallery Member, call 520-287-5515 for more information.
At this same March 22nd event, Alberto Alvaro Rios, also from Nogales, will be presented with the 2018 Shelley Award. This award, in honor of former Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Shelley Cohn, is presented to an individual who, through innovative effort to create or support beneficial public policy, has advanced the arts in Arizona. Past award winners include Terry Goddard, past Phoenix mayor; Shirley Estes, builder of the Ventana Canyon Resort and community leader; and Katie Dusenberry, previous board chair of the Arizona Theater Company.
Rios is Arizona’s first poet laureate, and artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. He received his BFA in 1974 and his MFA in creative writing in 1979, both from the University of Arizona. His many volumes of poetry include A Small Story About the Sky (Copper Canyon Press, 2015), The Dangerous Shirt (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), and The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2002), which was nominated for the National Book Award. Some of his other works include Capirotada: A Nogales Memoir (University of New Mexico Press, 1999), The Curtain of Trees: Stories (University of New Mexico Press, 1999), and The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart (Blue Moon and Conference Press, 1984), which won the Western States Book Award. His work has made appearances in more than ninety major national and international literary anthologies, like the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry.
Rios also contributed to Issue 6 of Superstition Review where several of his poems and an interview are available to read.