Over a year ago, Tamarind Institute at The University of New Mexico invited artist Ellen Lesperance to be the 2020 Frederick Hammersley Artist in Residence. The timing seems eerily synchronistic; Lesperance creates intricate paintings based on garments and slogans worn by women activists, warriors, and cultural figures.

A major solo exhibition, Ellen Lesperance: Velvet Fist, opened in January this year at The Baltimore Museum of Art. Lesperance will be the first artist back in Tamarind’s workshop since its closure in March due to COVID-19. During her July 2020 residency, she is creating new artworks which will be released at a later date.

The public is invited to join a webinar on October 29 which will include an in-depth, pre-recorded conversation between Ellen Lesperance and Berkeley-based art historian and author Julia Bryan-Wilson, followed by a live question and answer session with Lesperance. The webinar will begin at 4pm MDT, and details and registration are available at the Tamarind Institute  or at eventbrite

Lesperance caught Tamarind Director Diana Gaston’s attention for the intricacy of her works on paper, which meld so beautifully with textiles, and the powerful underlying message of activism in her imagery.

Lesperance is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow and her work can be found in permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Frye Museum, The Museum of Art and Design, Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. Lesperance is represented by Derek Eller Gallery in New York, and Adams and Ollman in Portland, Oregon, where the artist lives and works. Artspace Magazine described her work this way:

With their precisely plotted birds'-eye and fair-isle designs, the paintings of Ellen Lesperance are clearly modeled on knitting patterns. But behind their intimations of warmth and coziness are stirring calls to action. The Minneapolis-born artist finds her source material in the archives of Feminist activist groups and at contemporary protests (such as those affiliated with "Black Lives Matter" and the "Occupy" movement).

In 2016, the Frederick Hammersley Foundation initiated the Frederick Hammersley Artist Residency and the Frederick Hammersley Apprentice Printer programs at Tamarind as part of the foundation’s mission to expand the public's awareness of Hammersley’s art and life, promote the value of art in the life of the community, and support the advancement of artists’ education and creative processes through funding for research and scholarships for art students and other practitioners of the arts. Lesperance is the fourth recipient of The Frederick Hammersley Artist Residency at Tamarind Institute. To learn more about Frederick Hammersley, his work, and the Frederick Hammersley Foundation, visit the foundation’s website at www.hammersleyfoundation.org.

 Tamarind Institute is an internationally recognized fine art lithography workshop affiliated with the College of Fine Arts of The University of New Mexico. Tamarind is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of lithography through education, research, exhibitions, and artist residencies, and is credited with introducing collaborative printmaking among contemporary artists around the world. Tamarind frequently sponsors programs with diverse populations, locally and internationally, benefitting University, Albuquerque, and New Mexico constituencies. For more information, call 505-277-3901, or email.

 Support provided by Frederick Hammersley Fund for the Arts at the Albuquerque Community Foundation.


Tamarind is currently hosting Sweet Release: Recent Prints from Tamarind’s Workshop with a focus on a special focus on prints by recipients of the Frederick Hammersley Artist Residency. Featured artists include Judy Chicago, R. Luke DuBois, Michael Krueger, Harold Mendez, Mark Mulroney, Aaron Noble, Danielle Orchard, Hayal Pozanti, and Shinique Smith.