the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Nicholas Otero

Los Lunas

2019 recipient, Individual Artist

Nicolas Otero began practicing the tradition of Santo making at just 16 years old by apprenticing with master artists. Otero produces retablos, bultos, altars, gesso reliefs, hide paintings and ramilletes (paper flower adornments). He continues to use traditional methods in his work such as the production of natural pigments and hand carved panels. In his 22 years of practicing the Santero tradition he has garnered over 42 awards including, in 2017, Grand Prize Best of Show for Traditional Spanish Market. Working within his community of artistic colleagues, he curated the exhibit Ayer, Hoy, y Manaña/ Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: An Exhibition of Traditional and Contemporary Arts, at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts that was noted for its power, authenticity, and meaningful community engagement. Otero's work can be found in the museum collections of the Denver Art Museum, Regis University Museum, Taylor Museum, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, College of Saint Catherine, Colorado University Art Museum, Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Museum of International Folk Art and the Archive Collection of the White House.