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Santa Fe New Mexican
Tribute to ‘fantasy’
Eldorado photographer win’s city’s 24th annual poster contest
By capturing ‘magical’ spirit of Santa FeThea Witt Wins Santa Fe Poster Contest
photo by Natalie Guillén/The New Mexican

Thea Witt’s photograph If Clouds Could Dance… won the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission’s 2008 City Different Poster Competition. The contest had 68 entries.

by Tom Sharpe | The New Mexican
A photograph of a woman in a gauzy, white formal gown with a lacy parasol, standing atop an eroded adobe building with a fluffy white cloud in the background, is Santa Fe's official city poster for the next year.

Photographer Thea Witt of Eldorado will receive $1,000 and 250 copies of the poster as the winner of the city's 24th annual poster contest.

The judges - six members of the city Arts Commission plus three other people - chose Witt's photograph from among 68 entries Friday. The judges were not told the artists' names.

One judge, Kim Russo, chairwoman of the arts department at the College of Santa Fe, called the winning piece “intriguing” and “unexpected”.

“It's this kind of creative theater and performance (that's) the foundation of the history of our culture” she said, adding the model could be Anglo, Latina or Native American. “That's kind of lovely, too”.

Witt said the brunette model is Katinka Locascio, whose father is Spanish and who now lives in New York City. She said they were on their way to a shoot in La Cueva, near Mora, when they saw the dilapidated adobe north of as Vegas, N.M. and stopped for some shots.

“The model climbed onto the roof of the building and this cloud came in and goes by her skirt, which is blowing in the wind”, and I took that shot”, Witt said in a telephone interview shortly after she was named the winner. “The photograph is called If Clouds Could Dance… I think the image captures the lighthearted aspects of what Santa Fe can be, this fantasy, magical place.

Witt shot the photograph with a Nikon single-lens-reflex camera on 100 ASA color slide film. It was printed via computer as a giclée by Lea Williams of Artisan Editions.

On Friday the judges quickly narrowed down the entries to 12 finalists, then chose their favorite five, which, in addition to Witt's photograph were:

- Santa Fe Gateway, a water media by Maureen Freyne, depicting a colorful gate. Freyne won the city poster contest in 2005 for her watercolor Santa Fe Sunset.

- Land of Light, a watercolor on paper by Lewis Smith Marka, an abstract with a variety of colorful geometric shapes and symbols.

- Smile - You're in Santa Fe, a Montoya pastel by Jennie Cooley depicting a cartoon-like person with a camera, with an adobe church and a red sky in the background.

- Palace Avenue and Old Santa Fe Trail, an oil on linen by Doug Bootes, depicting a corner of the Catron Building at the northeast end of the Plaza.

Some judges were initially reluctant to choose If Clouds Could Dance… “I'm wondering if it might be a little too much but, again, we're taking a risk here,” said Arts Commissioner Peter Pacheco.

Mayor David Coss' wife, Carol Rose, who served on the panel called the photo “very creative” but “riskier” than other pieces.

Commissioner Kerri Segell, said it “represents well the City Different. Commissioner Michael Namingha said it reminded him of the performing arts.

Sarah Bienvenu, who won the 2007 contest and served on this year's panel said it “will grab attention”. Commissioner Justin Bransford said he liked “the super blue of the Santa Fe sky in it”

The panel passed over works from better-known artists, such as Marie Romero Cash's Santa Fe Treasurers. Depicting a trastero filled with santos, tinwork crosses and a miniature Spanish helmet, Navajo rug and chile ristra.

More than l,000 24 x 35 inch posters are expected to be printed with Witt's photograph, which will be used to promote the city over the coming year.

All entries will be displayed at City Hall through mid-May.

Contact Tom Sharpe at 986-3080 or




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