the Governor's Arts Award Winners

The Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts


2021 recipient, Major Contributor to the Arts

Designed by Antoine Predock, the gorgeous 514-seat nonprofit Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts in Alto opened in 1997. With a mission to enrich the cultural lives of South-Central New Mexico's residents and visitors, the Spencer Theater operates year-round, with summer and winter seasons consisting of touring concerts, shows, plays, dance companies, and family and children's shows. In addition, the Spencer Theater has a second outdoor stage which can seat 1,200 for outdoor performances. Executive Director Charles Centilli joined the Spencer in 1996 as Director of Business Affairs and assumed his current role in 2000. The Spencer Theater has multiple blown glass installations by Dale Chihuly (2018 GAA honoree), including "Indian Paint Brushes" and "The Persians." In 2000, "Glowing Sunset Tower," "Ruby Sea Garden," and "Womb" were installed.

With a focus on supporting the surrounding local communities, the theater presents a "Class Acts" series of professional shows for the benefit of school children in the spring and fall. Students from throughout the region attend performances at the theater and artists visit local schools.

In 2004, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology named the Spencer as one of seven outstanding theaters in the world. The Spencer Theater is known internationally for outstanding acoustics, intimate seating, and its performances.