Summer in New Mexico

hot springsView slideshow 

This course is a collaboration with Herekeke, a nonprofit arts organization located on a private ranch in the remote community of Lama, New Mexico, 20 miles north of Taos.

Instructor Jeffrey Gibson will be joined by guest artist, sculptor Rune Olsen. Olsen will participate in group discussions and be available for individual and group critiques.

New Mexico: Lama Mountain Ranch / Sustainability Through Creative Practice

Instructor: Jeff Gibson
August 5-19, 2013

Interested students should contact the instructor, Jeff Gibson, to start the approval process for registration.

Much of Lama Mountain Ranch’s 100 acres is under conservation easements with the American Farmland Trust; it hosts a variety of public programs exploring ideas of sustainability, from a free summer camp to a community farm, and ranch animals. Lama enjoys wide-open vistas and dramatic mountain weather at 8,000 feet in elevation in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southern reaches of the Rocky Mountains.

Students read about, and join in daily group discussions of, visions and histories of various forms of alternative communities, while also visiting local intentional communities in the area.

In addition, students spend time drawing and gathering materials to create site-specific and site-responsive works. These may include temporary installations and works that improve the ranch and its programs, such as murals on cabins and concepts for architectural structures. All works will be documented in photographs.

Students have the opportunity to visit permaculture and sustainable architectural projects in Lama and surrounding areas, the historic Town of Taos, world heritage site Taos Pueblo, the Harwood Museum (where there is a collaborative site-specific room by Agnes Martin and Donald Judd), surrounding self-sustaining communities, and SITE Santa Fe.

There are also many opportunities for hiking, natural hot springs, pond swimming, and exploring the nearby Rio Grande Gorge.

Time is scheduled for students to work independently, share in critique and discussion, work on the farm, mindfully prepare meals, and interact with the local community. Trips are scheduled to see other parts of the landscape beyond the ranch.

The course is structured for students to pursue both an interdisciplinary studio practice, while also taking part in a “critical thinking” seminar type atmosphere -- but over a campfire in the mountains of Northern New Mexico under a magnificent sky!

Bordering Carson National Forest, students live in rustic, cabin-style, shared housing for the duration of the course, four students per cabin. These accommodations are very basic; students must provide all bedding and towels. Meals, cooked outdoors in an open-air kitchen, are prepared collaboratively between the students, visitors, and residents.

The facilities at Herekeke include digital print and printmaking studios. Access to these facilities and interaction with master printer Lilliana Mejia were only available for an additional fee last year, but are included in the program fee this year.

Students will be assigned readings and other preparation prior to the scheduled class time in New Mexico.

With its focus on critical thinking, this course should be of interest to a broad range of disciplines, including architects, drawers, painters, photographers, printmakers, sculptors, and students working in craft-based mediums.

About the Instructor and Guest Artist Rune Olsen

Jeffrey Gibson works with a broad range of materials to create artworks that both reference and contribute to the ongoing dialogues of contemporary abstract painting and sculpture. Gibson has grown up living in the United States and abroad, is a member of The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and half Cherokee.

This combination of lived personal experiences has consistently informed and surfaced in the visual aesthetic of his painting and sculptural work. Through the use of unexpected materials and techniques, Gibson has effectively and beautifully merged aspects of Native American culture, often far removed from contemporary art, successfully into his practice.

Gibson’s artworks are included in many public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of The American Indian, The Denver Art Museum, and The Nerman Museum, among others. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Marc Straus Gallery (New York), American Contemporary (New York), Participant INC (New York), Samson Projects (Boston), and has taken part in recent exhibitions at The Museum of Art and Design (New York), The Peabody Essex Museum (Massachusetts), The Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, and Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in Canada.

He is a 2012 TED Foundation Fellow and has recently been awarded the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award.

Gibson has forthcoming solo exhibitions scheduled at The National Academy Museum (New York), The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, The Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary, and Shoshona Wayne Gallery (Los Angeles). Newly commissioned work will also be featured in a group exhibition at The National Gallery in Canada.

He is a faculty member of the Studio Arts Program at Bard College and a guest faculty member at Cornell University.

Rune Olsen is a Norwegian artist living in New York who explores the intricate connections between desire, power structures, and society. He has a Postgraduate Diploma from Goldsmiths, University of London. Since Olsen's first solo show in 1997 at UKS in Norway, he has exhibited widely throughout USA and Europe, including The Bronx Museum in New York, the Drawing Biennial at Kunstnernes Hus in Norway, and the 2005 Istanbul Biennial.

Olsen's work has been reviewed in Art Forum, Sculpture Magazine, and Art in America and has been the focus of several magazine features and interviews, including Sculpture Magazine, Maag, and Beautiful/Decay. He has won 11 awards from The Norwegian Government, including a distinguished three-­year work grant for young emerging artists, and was awarded a studio residency with Artist Alliance in New York, a place at the renowned Art Omi International Artists Residency, as well as an Artist in Residency with Headlands Center for the Arts.

Olsen is a 2009 Fellow in Sculpture from the New York Foundation for the Arts. From 2011-2012, he held a yearlong residency at Citè Internationale des Arts in Paris and, in autumn 2012, joined the faculty at Boston University as Assistant Professor in Visual Arts.


Undergraduates: completion of sophomore level by summer 2013 and instructor approval
Graduates: instructor approval

In addition students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2012-13 academic year.

Course Satisfies

For undergraduates, this course satisfies a studio elective, Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio, or Interdisciplinary Critique.

For graduates, this course satisfies a gradwide elective or Fine Arts seminar.

Program Fee

$4,450 + $50 registration fee

Program fee includes
3 units, housing, all meals at the ranch, participation of guest artist Rune Olsen, access to digital/printmaking studios and interaction with Lilliana Mejia, transportation from Albuquerque airport to and from Herekeke, ground transportation while at Herekeke

Program fee does not include
Transportation to and from New Mexico, travel insurance

Note: travel insurance is not included in the program fee. Participants are encouraged to purchase travel insurance on their own.

Please make sure you read the related pages in their entirety:

Financial Aid
Code of Conduct

In-person registration begins on Friday, March 1, for all Summer Study Abroad and Off-Campus courses (New Mexico, New York, and Texas). Students should register no later than Monday, March 25. If spots are available in the course after this date, students may still register as long as accommodations have not been finalized.

Interested students should contact Jeff Gibson to start the approval process for registration.

All CCA Summer Study Abroad courses (including the New Mexico and New York Studios) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.


Office of Special Programs
Oakland campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs