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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Theater department head receives Papen Family Arts Award 2003

Ruth Cantrell, head of New Mexico State University's Department of Theatre Arts, has been awarded The Papen Family Arts Award 2003 by the Dona Ana Arts Council (DAAC) for her contributions to the arts in the Las Cruces community.



Ruth Cantrell, head of New Mexico State University's Department of Theatre Arts, has been awarded The Papen Family Arts Award 2003 by the Dona Ana Arts Council (DAAC). (Photo by Sharon Fouillade)


Laura Temple Sullivan, executive director of the DAAC, said Cantrell was chosen for her nearly 20 years of contributions to the arts community. Cantrell has worked at making the university's theater programs more accessible to the public and founded the Theatre for Young Audiences and the Children's Theatre Workshop. "She has touched the lives of hundreds of children and youth," Sullivan said.

Cantrell has written many successful grants to support theater programs that reach out to the community and has received other awards for her work including the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence and Achievement in the Arts.

Sullivan said Cantrell has extended herself beyond her immediate job duties at New Mexico State to reach a segment of the population that would otherwise not have access to theater experiences. Cantrell tours children's plays in public schools and organizes busing for school children to the Hershel Zohn Theatre, providing students access to live theater.

Cantrell said the Papen Family Arts Award means a great deal to her and that being honored by the DAAC is humbling. "I feel very fortunate to have been able to collaborate on many projects over the years with so many talented artists and arts educators," she said. "I would not be receiving this award without their support and guidance."

Cantrell is co-writing a children's play for the theater department and the American Southwest Theatre Company's 2003-2004 season titled "Africa A to Z." The play will be performed at the Hershel Zohn Theatre and will tour the Gadsden School District early next year.

The DAAC will present the award to Cantrell at the annual Arts Awards Gala from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at the Best Western Mesilla Valley Inn. The public is invited and the DAAC is requesting a $10 donation for those who wish to attend. Please RSVP to the DAAC at (505) 523-6403 or daac@zianet.com. This event is sponsored by the Best Western Mesilla Valley Inn, NAPA Auto Parts and Glenn Cutter Jewelers & Gallery.

For more information contact Cantrell at (505) 646-4517.