Colorado artist Carissa Samaniego is the Border Art Residency’s next resident artist. She was chosen by the BAR selection committee from more than 20 applicants. Her residency begins in February 2021 at BAR’s new studio and living space in El Paso’s Five Points neighborhood.
Samaniego is a sculptor who works in various media and with unconventional materials to create pieces that, she says, “represent the place I’m working in/with to find distinct ways of knowing that are emblematic of their site of origin.” She typically works with a variety of materials and inspirations, most of which are connected to the environment in which she is working.
Samaniego predicts that the work she creates during her El Paso residency will reflect both her attempts to adjust to the “new normal” of life in and after the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a view of the region from this side of the Texas-New Mexico state line. “During my time in El Paso, I would research for and produce artwork for an exhibition that recombines ephemera, objects, images, and stories to create a non-linear narrative of the neighborhood and/or broader region,” she wrote in her residency application.
BAR Board Chair Kate Feuille said: “Carissa considers herself a ‘storyteller of sorts.’ I think it is so important to record and reflect on our experiences as we move through this pandemic and beyond. I am looking forward to seeing how this landscape is portrayed from the point of view of an artist.”
Samaniego grew up in Minnesota and New Mexico. She has a bachelor of arts degree in studio art from Saint Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a master of fine arts in sculpture and post-studio practice from the University of Colorado. Her work has been exhibited in the United States and Europe. Go to carissasamaniego.com.
The Border Art Residency was established in 1997 by married artists Willie Ray Parish and Becky Hendrick to provide artists a work environment free from their usual distractions and pressures. It recently relocated from its first home in La Union, N.M., to its new location at 801 N. Piers.
BAR leadership looks forward to sharing Samaniego’s experiences, possibly in a series of lectures, depending on the coronavirus pandemic.
BAR, an affiliate of the El Paso Community Foundation, is in the midst of raising funds to furnish the new studio and living space. Go to epcf.org/bar to donate, and borderartresidency.com for more information about the organization.