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Community Arts

Director of History and Literary Arts,  National Hispanic Cultural Center. Valerie directs a wide range of literary and multidisciplinary programming serving children, youth, adults, elders, and families.  2018-present.  


Founding Director, Artful Life, dedicated to transforming communities through the beauty and power of collaborative art.  2015-2018. Learn more: www.artful-life. org.


Program Director, We Are the ID in the International District of Albuquerque, NM an arts and community development project in the most ethnically diverse legislative district in New Mexico. Since 2011, Artful Life projects have raised and invested over a half million dollars into the neighborhood through a range of arts engagement projects. 2011-2018. Learn more:

Program Director, El Puente/Community Tables, in the South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This project creates artful public spaces that reflect and serve residents the South Valley of Albuquerque--building opportunities for viable food businesses to emerge and functioning as points of meaningful interaction, connection, and dialogue. 2015-present.

Program Director, El Puente/Barelas, in the Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This years-long project utilizes creative collaboration to bring residents together to co-create neighborhood-based art and performance. 2015-present.

Founder & Core Artist: EKCO Poets (formerly “Four Poets Respond”), creating poetry-as-performance that responds to art and issues of urgency to women. Each year, 4-5 women poets come together to write, collaborate, and compose an original performance piece. Created by Valerie Martinez & Maureen Seaton in 2009, EKCO bridges poetry reading, spoken word performance, and community engagement. 2009-present. 

President of the Board and Charter Member: TIASO Artist Cooperative. TIASO is a professional services co-operative serving full and part-time artists and writers who are committed to working in, with, and on behalf of community. The TIASO Co-op provides key support services to artist members. 2012-2015 (Developing Committee), 2016-present (Board Director and Full Member).

Project Co-Director (with Shelle Sanchez and Julia Mandeville): Women & Creativity, an annual, month-long series that celebrates women’s creativity across the disciplines, featuring more than 70 collaborative performances/exhibitions, workshops, performances and creative events in the month of March. In 2015, to mark the 11th year of the project, we feature 11 curated collaborations dedicated to inventive, resourceful, inspiring programming that integrates myriad creative fields. Learn more: 2007-present.

Project Co-Director (with Bobbe Besold and Dominique Mazeaud): Rivers Run Through Us. From May 16-21, 2012, who walked the l54-mile length of the Santa Fe River (from 11,000 to 6800 ft), launching a continuing eco-art project that generates works of art (along the river), promotes awareness, engages community, and illuminates our relationship with river systems, earth and water. Learn more: 2012-present.

Project/Artistic Director. Lines & Circles—A Celebration of Santa Fe Families. This project brought together three and four generations of 11 Santa Fe families (99 participants) to compose/create a unique family “work” (story, short film, photograph, woodwork, quilt, sculpture, pottery, recording, etc.) accompanied by an original poem. The finished pieces premiered at the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission Gallery from January through March of 2010. The goal of the Lines and Circles project was to nurture and celebrate the Santa Fe community, create and strengthen bonds within and between families, and generate a body of art and poetry that commemorates family life. Sponsored by the City of Santa Fe, the Lannan Foundation, and Littleglobe.

Program Director: The Littleglobe Center for Creative Community Engagement. The CCCE, a precursor to the TIASO Artist Cooperative, was a training initiative that convened and trained a pool of skilled artists and cultural practitioners to undertake significant and meaningful community engagement projects both in the southwest and beyond. 2009-2012.

Project Director/Artist: Artist-to-Artist and Open Books: two projects with youth ages 16-21 in foster care or Independent Living Programs with the NM Department of Children, Youth and Families (CYFD). In 2010 (“Open Books”) Valerie and artist Maureen Burdock helped youth create personal journals/sketchbooks via creative workshops, culminating in a book, Ask Me Who I Am: Writing and Art by New Mexico CYFD Youth (published December 2010). In 2011 (“Artist-to-Artist”), youth were paired with a professional artist or writer as apprentices for ten months, working toward a portfolio of art or chapbook of writing and public presentation of their work. 2010-2012.



Collaborative Artist: Exquisite Corpse 2017, a one-of-a-kind blind collaboration “played” by a group of invited artists and poets who produce mixed-media works and collaborative poems. In 2017 there were 51 participating artists including sculptors, painters, photographers and poets. On November 2, 2017 seventeen works (produced by three artists/poets each) premiered at the St. Petersburg, Florida Museum of Art. The exhibition travels through spring 2018.

Collaborative Artist: Polyphony: Women's Voices. Vocals and Poetry, December 12, 2015 (San Miguel Mission, Santa Fe) and December 13, 2015 (St. John's Cathedral, Albuquerque).

Collaborative Artist: The Whistling Project, with Susan Silton and the Crowing Hens. Valerie's prose poetry chapbook, "A Hundred Little Mouths, was commissioned by Silton for the Hens performance at SITE Santa Fe 20th Anniversary, with reading. November 7, 2015.

Project/Artistic Director: Santa Fe Bus Opera.  In collaboration with Santa Fe residents and a wide range of civic partners, an artist team created a short performance/opera that premiered on Santa Fe city buses in October of 2010.  

The Littleglobe bus opera explored the real and imagined stories, interactions, and personal dreamscapes of Santa Feans, comprising a vibrant and collaborative “story” about the capital city and its people. 


Collaborative Artist. Lifesongs, a project which pairs people in nursing homes and hospice care with writers and composers. Together, the team of three create original pieces of music that are presented in concert with Young Voices of The Santa Fe Opera; Dolce Suono of the University of New Mexico; Your Song, a threshold choir; and musicians and vocalists. 2011-2012.

Collaborative Artist. SALVE: Women on War and Warriorship, a composed and improvisational music and spoken word performance piece, based on interviews with women veterans, that investigated women’s personal insights into the experience of war and warriorship 2009 - 2010.

Collaborative Artist. Common Ground TOC (Torreon, Ojo Encino, Cuba New Mexico), a 6 month arts engagement project with 80 intergenerational residents (ages 5-80) resulting in a multi-media performance. 2007-2008.

Collaborative Artist. Memorylines Santa Fe: Voces de Nuestras Jornadas, a new opera performance commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera as part of its 25th anniversary celebration in 2007. Created through intensive ensemble work by a diverse artist team and Santa Fe community residents.

Workshop Leader and Collaborative Artist. Pintura: Palabra, a multi-year initiative that encourages new Latinx writing inspired by art, above all the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. Aspects of the initiative included ekphrastic writing workshops; inviting writers to engage with the exhibit; and partnering with literary journals to publish portfolios of ekphrastic writing. The exhibit debuted its national tour in 2013 and concludes in 2017. The six resulting portfolios are currently part of a book arts project to mark the conclusion of the initiative. 

Collaborative Artist. Poems and Pics: a traveling exhibit and anthology organized by the Institute of Latino Studies and granted a 2005 NEA project grant. The exhibit featured the work of 10 Latino/a poets alongside the work of 10 Latino/a artists, culminating in the publication of an anthology. Valerie's poem, “Invocation,” was paired with a painting by Kathy Vargas. The exhibit traveled to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Albuquerque (the National Hispanic Center) and other cities.

Collaborative Artist: Synergy: La Onda de la Palabra/The Wave of the Word. With artists Cynthia Cook and Catalina Delgado-Trunk in collaboration with client-artists of Artstreet (a program of the City of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless)—poetry, mixed-media art, papel picado and spoken word performances. Collaboration began in October of 2010 and continued through 2012 when a book about the project was published.

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