the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Harry Benjamin

Silver City

2008 recipient, Painting

It has been said of Harry Benjamin that "Silver City would not be Silver City without him." The renowned painter has a rich history of involvement with the Silver City Museum, Western New Mexico University, the Cobre Schools, the Mimbres Region Arts Council and numerous other arts organizations and individual artists.

Benjamin is best known for his stunning depiction of the southwestern New Mexico landscape and his wonderful eclectic spirit.

A recent 40-year retrospective of his work at the Silver City Museum featured more than 80 paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages and ceramic works. In the 1980s, Benjamin's studio/gallery/residence was the only place of its kind in a downtown area that was run down and fading. Now "What's a Pot Shop" is the anchor of a vibrant creative arts district.

Benjamin has helped many artists in Silver City to find gallery representation by taking them around to meet the owners and other artists. Cecil Howard, who received a Governor's Arts Award in 1999, said he has known Benjamin since he was an art student at Western New Mexico University. "As an artist, Harry has always been remarkably inventive, even idiosyncratic in response to subject matter and formal directives," said Howard in his letter of support. "His individual talent and eccentric tastes are reflected in his irrepressible aesthetic adventures, full of surprises and incongruities. His paintings are captivating not only for their beauty but also for the many varied ways in which they express his quest for self-knowledge and insight."