Valerie Martinez has a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona.
In February of 2018, Valerie joined the staff of the National Hispanic Cultural Center as Director of History and Literary Arts. She oversees 2-4 exhibits per year, archival and special collections, a library and genealogy center, and over 20 history and literary arts programs that celebrate and promote Hispanic/Latinx history and culture.
Valerie began her professional career in tandem with her work as a professional poet. She spent twenty-three years as a college/university professor (teaching literature and creative writing) finishing her career as Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Santa Fe in 2009. She has taught at the University of Arizona, Ursinus College, New Mexico Highlands University, University of New Mexico, College of Santa Fe, University of Miami, and the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA).
Valerie is also an accomplished poet, having published six books of poetry and translation and appearing in dozens of literary journals and magazines. Her book-length poem, Each and Her (winner of the 2011 Arizona Book Award), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, the William Carlos William Award, the National Book Critics Circle award, the PEN Open Book Award, the Ron Ridenhour Prize and was an honorable mention in the 2011 International Latino Book Awards. She was the Poet Laureate for the City of Santa Fe from 2008-2010.
Valerie entered the field of community arts in 2007. She became a core artist and Executive Director with Littleglobe (Santa Fe) and subsequently founded Artful Life (Albuquerque) which is dedicated to transforming communities through collaborative, community art.
She has extensive experience with large-scale arts and community engagement projects, working with dozens of artists, community members and partner organizations in the creation of neighborhood-based works of art. She developed a model of arts-based community development that has been featured widely at conferences, trainings, and panel presentations. For this work she was nominated by President Barack Obama for the National Council on the Arts just before the 2016 presidential election.
Among other arts initiatives, Valerie is the founder of the EKCO Poets, co-coordinates Women & Creativity, co-founded the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program, and serves on the Bernalillo County Arts Board. She has presented extensively at arts and literary conferences nationwide.
Valerie was born and raised in Santa Fe, has lived in New York, Nevada, Massachusetts, Washington DC, Arizona, and southern Africa. Albuquerque has been her home since 2005.