Announcing the Public Launch of UNMAM.ART

featuring Rose B. Simpson: Seminar


The University of New Mexico Art Museum is pleased to announce the public launch of UNMAM.ART, our new platform for artist/student collaboration. In the Fall of 2021, UNMAM.ART was only open to UNM students who engaged with New Mexico artist Rose B. Simpson. Now we invite you to visit the archived version of the platform’s inaugural project, Rose B. Simpson: Seminar.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced museums around the world to think creatively and reach beyond the walls of their physical spaces to engage with the publics they serve. At the UNM Art Museum, where students are our primary audience, we reimagined the function and purpose of “museum engagement.” We designed UNMAM.ART to give students the opportunity to connect, learn, and create with working artists. The result is an exciting hybrid: part classroom, discussion forum, and museum exhibition.

Our direct contact with Rose created a sense of connection unlike a traditional gallery experience. 

Quinn Gottlieb, UNM student

An animated .gif of scrolling a webpage at UNMAM.ART

Each week, Rose shared a new visual and written prompt.

From September 6 to October 24, 2021, Rose B. Simpson and UNM students used UNMAM.ART to collaborate in a virtual museum encounter that featured personal reflections and discussions of contemporary art and ideas. The resulting project, titled Rose B. Simpson: Seminar, is different from other online learning experiences that students encounter. For six weeks, the artist and students engaged in artistic, poetic, and personal discussions with a working artist that might only be possible through the agency of an art museum.

Rose B. Simpson: Seminar was a refreshing break from a traditional online class.

Armelle Richards, UNM student

An animated .gif showing the navigation of student replies on UNMAM.ART

Students were able to interact with Rose by responding to weekly prompts. The conversations continued in the comments of each response.

The results far exceeded our expectations. Over 175 UNM students and 10 faculty from across disciplines participated in meaningful dialogue with Simpson. The platform received 125 student replies to the artist, including written texts, recordings, and photographs. In total, students spent over 100 hours on the platform and returned to the site an average of 11 times. While these metrics are impressive, they do not capture the most rewarding outcome: students engaged directly with Simpson on topics such as the environment, capitalism, and personal truth. They reported enjoying the experience more than a traditional online classroom discussion.

What an innovative approach to getting to know ourselves as well as the artist.

Armelle Richards, UNM student

Rose B. Simpson is the first artist to take over UNMAM.ART. She is a writer and mixed media artist from Santa Clara Pueblo, NM, who works with ceramic sculpture, metals, fashion, performance, music, installation, and custom cars. Simpson received her BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and later went on to earn an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction in 2018; an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, in 2011; and a certificate in Automotive Science from Northern New Mexico College in Española, NM in 2015.

Her work is included in prominent museum collections and has been exhibited internationally. She works from her home at Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico.

UNMAM.ART offers a unique experience, benefiting both artist and student by allowing them a collaborative space to interact from any part of the world. The UNM Art Museum is excited to showcase this new tool in upcoming exhibitions and programs.

Through Rose B. Simpson: Seminar, we were able to have a glimpse into Rose’s captivating worldview and interact alongside her as if we were colleagues.

Quinn Gottlieb, UNM student

We extend our deep gratitude to Rose B. Simpson who not only shared her artwork and collaborated with students but helped direct and shape the purpose and function of UNMAM.ART.

This project was made possible by the creativity and expertise of our collaborators at MediaDesk. Through a mix of creative storytelling and strategic communications services, MediaDesk works with clients to shift attitudes, move people to action, and make a positive difference in communities. We thank Sommer Smith, Fernando Gaverd, Jason Griffin, Michael Lorenzo Lopez, Dylan McLaughlin, Little Big Bang Studios, Luke Bern Carr, and Nicole Grundhoffer for their contributions to this project.

We are grateful for the generous financial support provided by The MAE Private Foundation.

Thank you to Chiaroscuro Gallery (Santa Fe, NM) Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco, CA), and Tamarind Institute (Albuquerque, NM) for providing the images used in Rose B. Simpson: Seminar.