THE OFFICE PERFORMING ARTS + FILM ANNOUNCES ARTISTS SELECTED
TO PARTICIPATE IN WPA-INSPIRED INITIATIVE ARTISTS AT WORK
IN U.S.-MEXICO BORDERLANDS STATES AND SAN ANTONIO
Initiative Brings Together Artists with Cultural and Community-Based Organizations to Address Deeply Rooted Economic and Social Issues
THE OFFICE performing arts + film today announces the 21 artists who will participate in Artists At
Work (AAW), the acclaimed workforce resilience program inspired by FDR’s Depression-era Works
Progress Administration (WPA), in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands states and San Antonio, TX.
THE OFFICE Founding Director Rachel Chanoff said, “We first piloted Artists At Work in the summer
of 2020 as a response to the dire circumstances the COVID-19 shutdown created for artists
everywhere. We knew that this financial precarity—and the widespread belief that artists’ work isn’t
‘essential’—existed long before the pandemic began, and would continue long after economies
restarted. We’re honored to have brought on 58 artists and 4 administrative fellows as salaried
employees with full healthcare benefits, and to have engaged 28 cultural institutions and 29 social
impact initiatives, all of whom contribute to and benefit from the program.”
In the Borderlands Region—Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, and Texas—THE OFFICE has
worked closely with lead partners Dr. Shelle Sanchez at the City of Albuquerque Department of
Arts and Culture in New Mexico and Leia Maahs at the Southwest Folklife Alliance in Tucson, AZ to
identify five regional cultural organizations, known as Culture Hubs, that reflect different facets of
the region’s wide-ranging cultural identities, practices, and narratives and are engaged in the deep
and meaningful work of leveraging culture in service of the needs of their local communities: Border
Arts Corridor, in Douglas, AZ; Casa Familiar, in San Ysidro, CA; La Mujer Obrera in El Paso, TX; the
City of Albuquerque Department of Arts and Culture; and Southwest Folklife Alliance.
These Culture Hubs will host a total of 15 artists—announced today: Jessica M. Alba, Lorna
Faulkner, and David Tarullo with Border Arts Corridor; Beto Soto and Natalia Ventura with Casa
Familiar; Dale Deforest, J P 제피 (formerly Jen Pack / 백희숙), Billy Joe Miller, and Amanda Dannáe Romero with the City of Albuquerque Department of Arts and Culture; Victor Casas, and Amalia Mondragón with La Mujer Obrera; and Keith Johnson, Annetta Koruh, Tanisha Tucker Lohse, and Guadalupe Mario Valencia with Southwest Folklife Alliance.
Amanda Dannáe Romero will be working with sheri crider and Sanitary Tortilla Factory as her Social Impact Initiative Partner. They will be working with system impacted youth to bring music, education, and art opportunities to incarcerated communities.
Amanda Dannáe Romero (she/they) is a queer latina experimental artist and musician based in
Albuquerque, NM. She was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. Her work incorporates sound, coding, colcha embroidery, tinsmithing, video, photography, and performance. Her work focuses on the
interconnectivity of humans and environments, and she weaves technology and traditional art
practices together in large-scale sound and video pieces and performances. Romero received a
Master of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College. She is also an educator and curator and a
founding member of fourteenfifteen gallery and the L.o.A. Collective. She plays drums and guitar in
a number of local bands, including Karen and Show Pony and plays solo as Madrina. She has
exhibited nationally and internationally and is currently working on an immersive sound art
exhibition and a collaborative project with artist Paula Castillo for SITE Santa Fe, debuting in Spring
Artists At Work (AAW) is a workforce resilience program designed to support communities through artistic civic engagement. Conceived as a public/private partnership, the program will provide a salary, plus health benefits and professional development resources directly to participating artists; provide financial support to participating local cultural organizations; and connect both to the work of local social impact initiatives in areas such as antiracism, justice reform, sustainability and equitable development, health, economy, homelessness and housing, child welfare, and immigration. It is designed to impact the whole ecosystem of a community.
Artists At Work was an idea inspired by the WPA and founded by THE OFFICE performing arts + film with an initial pilot in Western Massachusetts in 2020. Following that success, AAW was awarded $3M by the Mellon Foundation to expand AAW nationally, launching programs in Los Angeles County (2021), the Mississippi Delta Region (2022), and the Borderlands Region (2023). The implementation of Artists At Work in the Thrive Region (2022) is made possible by the support of The Lyndhurst Foundation. The implementation of Artists At Work in San Antonio (2023) is made possible by a grant from The John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.
More information can be found at: https://www.artists-at-work.org/