the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Working Classroom


2010 recipient, Major Contributors to the Arts

Working Classroom has brought recognition and distinction to New Mexico by creating a multifaceted arts organization, with and for young people from historically ignored communities. Devoted to theater, visual arts, literature, and public art, students at Working Classroom are guided by mentoring artists and other professionals, learning self-discipline as they create and experience the arts. Students also learn to curate and create art exhibitions; produce, direct, and act in theater productions; and write and publish books for elementary school children. Micha Espinosa of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University stated in her letter of support that she is writing an article about Working Classroom as a model of excellence. Nominators Pamela and Don Michaelis, founders of The Collector’s Guide, noted in their letter of support, "Through sheer tenacity plus commitment to personal and organizational quality, its founder and executive director, Nan Elsasser, has convinced some of the country’s — and the world’s — finest professional teachers and mentors to work with the young Working Classroom students. What has been created is transformational — students stay in school and graduate."