New Mexico Sunrise – 5/19/2011

Michelle Gallagher Roberts – Chief Registrar

In early 2011, the New Mexico Museum of Art acquired New Mexico Sunrise, the official New Mexico state guitar made by the Pimentel and Sons Guitar Makers, of Albuquerque. A beautiful example of New Mexico craftsmanship and artistry, New Mexico Sunrise was a welcome addition to the over 20,000 works currently in the Museum’s collection. However, it creates a unique challenge in regards to its long term care. We cannot treat it the same as a painting. A musical instrument is a functional object designed and crafted to be at its best when played regularly. This is at odds with most of the other objects in the collection which need to have as little direct interaction as possible in order to last.

So in light of this object’s unique needs the Museum created a policy to allow invited musicians to play the guitar at public performances. The first such event occurred on May 16, when New Mexico received the "America’s Best License Plate Award" from the Automobile License Place Collectors Association. At a ceremony hosted at the New Mexico History Museum, State Folklorist, Claude Stephenson played New Mexico Sunrise to a dignitary-packed audience that included Governor Susana Martinez and Cultural Affairs Department Secretary Veronica Gonzales.

Stay tuned for news regarding future performances of New Mexico Sunrise!

New Mexico Sunrise isn’t the only unique artwork in the collection. Check out more on SAM-Searchable Art Museum »

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