Releases | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

National Hispanic Cultural Center art educator named Art Educator of The Year by statewide organization

November 29th, 2022

Albuquerque, NM - The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) is thrilled to announce that Elena Baca, Educator & Program Coordinator for the Visual Arts program at the NHCC, has received the Museum Education Art Educator of The Year Award from the New Mexico Art Education Association (NMAEA). 

The award is given to an educator whose exemplary practices and contributions to the field of museum education are deserving of recognition. The award is one of six given out annually to educators who work in different educational environments. 

“The National Hispanic Cultural Center has many treasures – most of all, our talented and dedicated staff,” said Executive Director Dr. Margie Huerta. “We’re so excited to see Elena’s hard work, empathy, and passion for education recognized by her peers from across New Mexico.” 

Baca, an Albuquerque native and University of New Mexico graduate, has more than 25 years of experience working in museums, higher education, informal science, and art education. At the NHCC, she works with artists to create compelling hands-on art programs for adults and families, collaborates with schools in providing participatory art activities and exhibitions that embrace cultural understanding, and develops interactive experiences for art museum patrons.  

She leads a wide range of programs, from the ever-popular Happy Arte Hour to the NHCC’s monthly Colcha stitch-a-long. Outside of her work at the NHCC, Baca is a gifted printmaker, and is generous about sharing her vast knowledge of art processes, materials, and techniques with the broader New Mexico arts community. 

Baca is one of two educators from Museums administered by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs to receive an award from NMAEA this year. Kemely Gomez, the Museum Art Educator for the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, received an award for Community Advocacy for Art Education. 

More about the National Hispanic Cultural Center The National Hispanic Cultural Center is dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and advancement of Hispanic culture, arts, and humanities. The NHCC presents mission-related events throughout the year, some produced by its history, literary, performing, and visual arts programs, and others by partnering with external organizations. Events take place at its 20-plus-acre campus, which includes a plaza, an art museum, a historically designated building, a library, and a genealogy center. The NHCC is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and is further supported by the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation. 

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Elena Baca

Elena Baca works with students

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