Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference To Receive Governor's Award

Las Cruces – Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference (LCIMC), represented by Phyllis Franzoy, conference Director, will receive the 2011 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in Santa Fe on September 16, 2011 in a special ceremony.

The Awards ceremonies will be held on Friday evening, 5:15 P.M. at the St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.

"Day in, day out and year after year, these artists and supporters work to enrich our lives, our communities and our spirit. We applaud their efforts and their achievements," said Governor Martinez.

The Awards ceremony will be preceded by an afternoon reception and exhibition opening, 3:30 - 4:30 P.M., in the Governor's Gallery, 4th Floor, State Capitol. Both events are free and open to the public.

As part of the award ceremonies, LCIMC will exhibit the first event poster, created by local artist, Jamie Puentes, in 1994. The unique poster print representing Las Cruces with its characteristic landmarks and culture was recreated for the awards exhibition by air brush artist, Luis Navarro, and Kris Flores, a local contractor and artist. The exhibition will remain at the Governor's Gallery until December 9, 2011.

"We are so excited to be recognized for this lifetime achievement award, and for our role in cultural arts education in southern New Mexico," stated Phyllis Franzoy, LCIMC Director and Founder. Now in its 17th year, the LCIMC has made a major contribution to the arts in New Mexico by preserving and showcasing the vibrant Mexican and New Mexican cultural traditions of Mariachi Music and Folkloric Dance. Since it was founded in 1994, the educational programs of LCIMC have hosted some 13,000 youth and adult musicians and dancers. The focus of the annual five days of conference is the educational workshops in music and dance that draw in excess of 750 students, who study and perform with world-renowned visiting artists. In 2010, students traveled from nine states to attend the workshops and perform at the various conference venues.

"The Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference is one of the largest cultural events of the year in New Mexico and attracts visitors from the regional Southwest and across the United States," Franzoy said. The conference supports fine arts programming, including cultural, performance, visual and theatrical arts. "LCIMC embraces the fine arts and shares it with our regional community, through educational workshops, exhibitions and performances," Ms. Franzoy stated, "creating a greater understanding of diversity and the cultural arts so deeply interwoven with our heritage in New Mexico."

LCIMC partners with several artists to plan the fine arts programming each year, including Mack Ruiz, LCIMC Educational Director and founding member of Mariachi Cobre from Epcot Center, Walt Disney World. Mariachi Cobre members instruct and perform during the annual conference. Maestro Rafael Zamarripa, world renowned choreographer, sculptor, and artist, serves as Artistic Consultant for the Folkloric Dance component. Zamarripa is the founder of the University of Colima Folkloric Dance program in Guadalajara, Mexico. Jorge Badillo, former Artistic Director for Paso del Norte Ballet Folklorico from El Paso, TX, is the Coordinator for the Folkloric Dance Workshops.

Other visiting artists in 2011 include Grammy winner, Vikki Carr with Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez , performers for the 18th Annual Spectacular Concert on November 12, 2011 at Pan American Center. In addition, Mariachi Cobre will celebrate their 40th Anniversary at this popular event. The highlight of the conference, the Spectacular Concert, features all workshop students in the opening numbers, as they perform in a large concert setting before a large audience.

Franzoy also states, "Cultural arts performances bring quality of life to Las Cruces, and the regional community realizes the economic impact of cultural tourism. The business community enthusiastically supports this event, ensuring it will continue its role as a major contributor to the arts in New Mexico."