the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Dr. Ramakrishna and Ammu Devasthali

Las Cruces

2016 Recipient, Major Contributors to the Arts

Dr. Rama and Ammu Devasthali are passionate supporters of the arts in southern New Mexico. "Their very generous donations of both time and money have helped create a level of community engagement in the arts that is unique," said nominator Donna Tate of Las Cruces. "In addition, they have and continue to encourage the diversity in the performing, literary and visual arts that sharing a border with Mexico offers."

The Devasthalis moved to Las Cruces in 1987 with their two children, and for more than 20 years Dr. Devasthali was the president and managing partner of Las Cruces Radiology Associates. "The business success which has accompanied professional success has enabled Ammu and me to give back to the community," said Dr. Devasthali. "A big part of this is our support for the Arts which tend to be first in line for spending cuts when budgets are tight."

The Devasthalis are credited with raising millions of dollars for arts and culture in New Mexico through their leadership and advocacy. They created the Devasthali Family Foundation-Donor advised Fund in the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico in 2011. "All of us have been influenced by the arts at some point in our lives," said Ammu Devasthali. "It is food for the soul and we need to feed that." An artist herself, Ammu was a small business owner of Designs by Ammu from 2005 to 2011, and she was one of the organizing members of the Las Cruces Art Fair.

"Dr. Devasthali and his wife are committed to making our community and our state beautiful through their creative endeavors," said former state Rep. J. Paul Taylor of Mesilla, who received a Governor's Arts Award in 2005. "I know of no other couple that has been so deeply involved in making our city, our university, and our state an outstanding place for arts and culture."

Ammu Devasthali chaired the fundraising committee for the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Center for the Arts and the couple has taken the lead in raising private funds to rebuild Williams Hall which houses NMSU's Art Department.

The Devasthalis have an unparalleled commitment to arts education, said Jennifer Cervantes, executive director of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico. "Through Rama and Ammu's exemplary engagement with and support of arts programs, the communities of New Mexico are stronger and lives have been transformed," Cervantes said. "They have made New Mexico a better place to live through their vision, compassion, and generosity."