ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico’s College of Fine Arts is making a way for high school juniors and seniors to be recognized for their artistic abilities. The first-ever Promising Artist Awards will celebrate musicians, composers, artists, performers, filmmakers and more.

Harris Smith, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at UNM said the idea came from wanting to recognize local young artists and encourage them to make a place for themselves within the state. “The idea is to expose them to different faculty members and different artists that we have on campus so they see that it’s a viable option. In New Mexico, we have some of the most successful artists and people making a living in the arts more than anywhere else in the country, but I don’t know if high school students know that,” Smith said.

Each student will receive a certificate of distinction and a special invitation to a virtual visit of the UNM College of Fine Arts on April 21. During the virtual visit, they will receive one-on-one developmental advice on their submitted work and helpful information on pursuing an education in the arts, by a UNM faculty member in their area of interest. Smith said when in-person activities can resume, they plan to hold an in-person event and give students a chance to speak with faculty and other students interested in the arts.

Special scholarship prizes will be awarded to a select few Promising Artist Award participants, one from each discipline, who enroll in UNM Fine Arts up to $500 per freshmen year. Smith said he hopes next year they can have teachers nominate their own students and have interest in the program grow. “Hopefully it’ll gain momentum and eventually be recognized as a prestigious award. I want students to be able to brag about being accepted and feel that accomplishment from receiving the award,” Smith said.

Each student must include an artist statement explaining how the work submitted represents an interest in UNM Fine Arts and the specific department of interest. The submission deadline is Friday, March 19. The students selected to participate will receive a notice by April 7. For more information on submission requirements, visit the College of Fine Arts website.