the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Kent Jacobs and Sallie Ritter

Las Cruces

2014 recipient, Major Contributors to the Arts

Dr. Kent Jacobs and Sallie Ritter are recognized as Major Contributors to the Arts. Retired physician, writer and longtime arts advocate Dr. Kent Jacobs and his wife, Sallie, an internationally renowned artist, both learned the value of giving back at an early age - a lesson that has resulted in a lifetime of public service and philanthropy to Las Cruces and New Mexico.

Jacobs and Ritter plan to leave their home and its priceless art collection to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation to create a satellite state art museum in Las Cruces. The planned bequest includes the couple's extensive collection of American Indian pottery and textiles, as well as contemporary art. Significantly, the planned bequest comes with an endowment to be used by the New Mexico Museum of Art to create arts and culture educational programs and exhibits for the benefit of children and families in the Las Cruces region. "The New Mexico Museum of Art Jacobs-Ritter Compound will present changing exhibitions and art education programs to foster and serve the Las Cruces region and connect Southern New Mexicans to the state's rich art traditions and collections at the museum in Santa Fe," said nominator Eileen Wells of Santa Fe, who received a Governor's Arts Award in 2008. "Study after study has shown that the arts are a strong economic contributor to the vitality of our towns and communities. Their gift will enrich the artistic districts in the Mesilla Valley, enhance access to the arts for children and adults and contribute significantly to the economy of the Southern part of our state."

Jacobs served on the Board of Regents of the Museum of New Mexico from 1987 to 2000 and from 2001 to present, and was President of the Board for five years. He is both a member of the museum's Board of Regents and a trustee of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. Jacobs helped bring the coveted Neutrogena Collection to the Museum of International Folk Art, open the Amy Rose Bloch Wing at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, and launch the Van of Enchantment to send exhibits and art history classes to the far reaches of New Mexico. He has received numerous awards for his public service, including the Regents Award for service to the Museum of New Mexico in 1991and 1999.

Ritter is an award-winning artist, whose works have been featured in more than 20 one-woman exhibitions and numerous private and public collections, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. Jacobs and Ritter are members of the Regents' Circle and annual donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation's Fund for Museum Education and the Museum of Art's Exhibitions Development Fund. Retired State Representative and Arts Champion J. Paul Taylor, a Governor's Arts Award recipient in 2005 said, "Both Sallie and Kent have given immeasurably to the Las Cruces community and have been lifelong, passionate patrons and activists for the arts in New Mexico."