The College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico (CFA) has received an award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Board of Trustees to support development of the Land Arts Mobile Research Center under the direction of Professor William Gilbert. This award allows expansion of a curriculum focused on Land Arts of the American West.

The five-year $250,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation will fund increased research and a proposed restructuring of the successful, 13-year-old program. Over the course of the grant, national searches will be conducted for the positions of director and field director of the program. It will also enable the Land Arts initiative to gain a wider public voice through publications, symposia and exhibitions, with the goal of a comprehensive book in the fifth year.

"The Mellon Foundation grant to the CFA for their renowned Land Arts program is just one of the many areas where CFA faculty are making their mark on the American art-in-research landscape," said Johann van Reenen, professor and associate vice president, Research Initiatives, Office of the Vice President, said. "Their Arts Learning Laboratory provides an umbrella for much future research and innovation in digital and traditional fine arts research, technology and teaching."

"The Land Arts of the American West program is proud to add Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to our list of supporters," Art History Professor William Gilbert said. "Funds awarded in this five year grant will form the new Land Arts Mobile Research Center in support of creative research and publication in our graduate program."

As part of a long-time initiative at UNM, Land Arts of the American West was established in 2000 and is an ongoing experiment in an interdisciplinary model for arts pedagogy based in place. The Land Arts program gives students direct, physical engagement with a full range of human interventions in the landscape, from pre-contact Native American architecture, rock paintings and petrogylphs to contemporary Earthworks and government, military and industrial infrastructure.

Land Arts of the American West is part of the Arts Learning Laboratory of UNM's College of Fine Arts. The Arts Learning Laboratory is CFA's incubator for groundbreaking models of arts pedagogy. These projects break down the boundaries of existing academic structures and invite the outside world to engage with the University in powerful, collaborative curricula that take students outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Each year, Land Arts faculty and students travel extensively throughout the southwestern United States and north central Mexico to live and work for more than 50 days on the land. Participants investigate such cultural sites as Chaco Canyon, Roden Crater, Hoover Dam, Wendover Complex of the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Juan Mata Ortiz, Spiral Jetty and the Very Large Array. They work in a variety of eco-niches such as the Grand Canyon, Grand Gulch, Gila Wilderness, Bosque del Apache and Otero Mesa Grasslands.

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