Sculptor Stephen Hansen to Receive New Mexico’s Highest Award

Hallmark Gallery is proud to announce, the state of New Mexico has decided Stephen Hansen is to receive their highest arts award. We are sure our collector of his work and the future collectors, will agree in our congratulations of his achievement.

Ascent Of Man by Stephen Hansen

Ascent Of Man by Stephen Hansen

Below is the Press Release from New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs


Doug Svetnicka, 827-4378
Department of Cultural Affairs

2009 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts

Eight artists and arts supporters will receive
New Mexico’s highest artistic honor

SANTA FE – Governor Bill Richardson and First Lady Barbara Richardson, along with the New Mexico Arts Commission, have announced the eight artists and arts supporters who will be recipients of the 2009 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.

“Arts and cultural activities define New Mexico as they do few other places in the world,” said Governor Richardson. “I am very proud of these exceptional artists and contributors, and I applaud the important work they do in our communities each and every day.”

First Lady Barbara Richardson said, “The Governor and I urge all New Mexicans to join us in applauding this year’s Arts Awards winners.  Their works contribute significantly to the cultural life of our state and remind us why this is the Land of Enchantment.”

The 2009 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients are:  Stephen Hansen of Las Cruces for Sculpture; Tom Joyce of Santa Fe for Blacksmithing and Sculpture; Joseph Lonewolf of Santa Clara Pueblo for Pottery; Carmella Padilla of Santa Fe for Literary Arts; Edward Vega of Albuquerque for Sculpture; Elaine Wiggins Howe of Roswell – Major Contributor to the Arts; William A. Miller of Santa Fe – Major Contributor to the Arts; and Pasatiempo, the Santa Fe New Mexican’s Arts and Entertainment Magazine – Major Contributor to the Arts.

The 2009 Governor’s Arts Awards ceremonies will be held on Friday evening, September 25, 5:15 to 7:00 pm at the St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.  The ceremony is preceded by an afternoon reception and exhibition opening, 3:30 – 4:30 pm, in the Governor’s Gallery, 4th Floor, State Capitol.  Both the awards ceremony and gallery reception are free and open to the public.

The Governor’s Arts Awards were established in 1974 by Governor Bruce King and First Lady Alice King to celebrate the enormous roles – both economic and cultural – that artists, craftspeople and arts supporters play in the life of New Mexico.  During its 36-year existence, a diverse and prestigious list of painters, weavers, sculptors, dancers, musicians, storytellers, poets, actors, playwrights and potters have been honored.  Past awardees include Georgia O’Keeffe, Laura Gilpin, Max Evans, Wilson Hurley, Joy Harjo, Bill Mauldin, John Nichols, Pablita Velarde and Cipriano Vigil.

Nominations for the awards are invited each year from arts groups and interested New Mexicans.  All nominations are reviewed by a committee of the New Mexico Arts Commission, which sends its recommendations to the full Commission and to the Governor.  The 2009 Awards Selection Committee consisted of Charmay Allred of Santa Fe as Chairperson, Bob Cooper of Albuquerque, Glenn Cutter of Mesilla, John Rohovec of Silver City, Janice Spence of Hobbs, who chairs the New Mexico Arts Commission, and Chuck Zimmer, manager of the state public art program for New Mexico Arts.   Loie Fecteau, executive director of New Mexico Arts, and program manager Virginia Castellano served on the committee in a nonvoting capacity.

The following are brief profiles of the 2009 Governor’s Arts Awardees:

Most artists would not want their work described as a “laugh-out-loud experience.”  But for Las Cruces papier-maché sculptor Stephen Hansen, those who laugh hard at his clever and humorous characters are paying him high respect.

Balanced Diet by Stephen Hansen

Balanced Diet by Stephen Hansen

“As an artist, I’m not an explorer of the human condition so much as a hapless tourist,” says Hansen, who grew up in Seattle, lived most of his life in Kalamazoo and moved with his family to the Las Cruces area in 1989.

Hansen’s meticulous papier-maché – please note that these are not your typical childhood wet newspaper creations – cartoon-like creatures are known all over the world and spice up many a museum and corporate collection from the Capitol Art Foundation Collection in Santa Fe to the Jyukano Research Institute in Tokyo, from United States Embassies in Italy and Venezuela to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

High Maintenance by Stephen Hansen

High Maintenance by Stephen Hansen

Inspirations for Hansen’s work often emerge from a play on words, a common phrase or a bit of conversation.  His sculpture “High Maintenance” is typical of his humor and features a woman surrounded by a gang of workers atop a ladder and scaffolding busily painting her nails, applying her makeup and combing her hair.

Playwright Mark Medoff, who received a Governor’s Arts Award in 1980, says about Hansen, “He is one of the unique artists working not only in New Mexico but in the world today.  I marvel at his mind, at where his ironic punning concepts come from, and I marvel at the execution.”

To read the rest of the full press release, click here.


  1. Posted May 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, good article.

  2. James
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Good article, Thanks. Thanks.

  3. Lois Duncan
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Stephen, I know that you got your talent from your Randle baby sitter….

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