Friday, September 15, 2017.
“The work of these distinguished artists and arts supporters enriches our lives, our communities and our state,” - Gov. Susana Martinez
“Thank you. It’s an honor for me to receive this award on behalf of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Foundation and Don Anderson, who is the real mastermind behind this creative enterprise. For five decades Don has doggedly persisted in providing hundreds of talented visual artists the wherewithal to explore their own creativity for an entire year. There has been no hoopla or self-promotion during these years. In fact his work is still referred to as a hidden gem, secreted in an out-of-way place few know about. But here it is; now fifty years on and counting, a remarkable artistic endeavor worthy of the cover of any art magazine still largely unnoticed by the outside world. But we, the artists, know. We know who Don is and what he has achieved. We know that no one has ever affected our work, our careers, or our lives quite like he has.
New Mexico is familiar with frontiers and pioneers. The Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program is one such pioneer. The residency began fifty years ago, in an age when there were as few as five such residencies in all of the United States. It is now the oldest artists’ residency still active west of the Mississippi River. Today, all told, there are perhaps five hundred or more artists’ residencies nationwide and hundreds more around the world. Don Anderson and the RAiR Program have quietly pioneered a frontier little dreamed of back in 1967. We like to think of these more recent residencies as offshoots of our pioneering efforts and we encourage everyone to support them in any way they can.
I would like to thank the board and members of the Roswell Interarts Organization for nominating our Program for this prestigious recognition, the Roswell Museum and Art Center staff for their ongoing collaboration, along with those kind folks of Roswell who have welcomed and befriended our artists over the years, and lastly, I’d like to thank the current and former artists who have made the residency such a vital micro-climate of culture, way out there on the edge of civilization. It has always been about them from the very beginning.” - Stephen Fleming, Director of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, (RAiR 1984/85)