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Nancy Meem Wirth at the Canoncito Church.
Credit: Polly Brown

Distinguished Santa Fe preservationist Nancy Meem Wirth has been selected as a 2015 George Pearl Fellow by the UNM School of Architecture and Planning. Her Pearl Fellow presentation, "Preserving What Matters,” is Friday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Garcia Auditorium of Pearl Hall, located on Central and Cornell NE on the University of New Mexico campus.

Chris Wilson, director of UNM Historic Preservation and Regionalism program, said, “Over the past 25 years, Nancy Wirth has played pivotal leadership roles in New Mexico preservation initiates that have been influential far beyond the state.” 

Wirth helped develop and served as founding board president in 1994 of Cornerstones Community Partnerships, the preservation non-profit based in Santa Fe. “Their program of marshaling resources and urban volunteers to work with local communities to preserve their churches and other community buildings has been widely emulated, nationally and internationally,” Wilson said.

She also served on the governor-appointed State Cultural Properties Review Committee from 2006 to 2011, when it broke new ground by designating Mt. Taylor as a historic cultural landscape. This established the rights of native groups, which had long used the mountain, to participate in federal land use decisions.

Wirth has served as a board officer of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, while also supporting the development of the John Gaw Meem Archives of Southwest Architecture at UNM, named for her father, the Santa Fe architect.

A distinguished architect and preservationist in his own right, the contributions of George Pearl are commemorated annually in two Pearl Fellowships. Pearl Fellows, such as Wirth, are selected from distinguished professionals and educators in preservation, landscape architecture, planning and architecture.