Santa Fe sculptor receives $50,000 United States Artists grant

January 24, 2019 GMT

The Chicago-based nonprofit United States Artists announced Tuesday that local sculptor Arthur López is among the recipients of its 2019 artist fellowship grant, worth $50,000. United States Artists awards annual fellowships to nationally based artists working in all disciplines and at every stage of their career.

“When I received an email saying that I had been nominated for the award, I was a little skeptical about it. I thought it was some kind of scam or something,” López said of the unrestricted grant. “After I did a little bit of research, I submitted my artwork and then it was like a year of waiting. When I got the call, I was completely blown away. It brought me to tears. It’s truly an honor.”


López, 47, was born and raised in Santa Fe. A self-taught artist, he began carving after leaving a career in graphic design in Los Angeles in the late 1990s. He learned to carve by studying the work of santeros in the collection of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society.

Today he is known for being an innovator of the Spanish Colonial art of the santero, or saint maker. His work ranges from traditional religious subject matter to reflecting the experiences of contemporary Hispanics, often with a wry sense of humor. Some of that work is considered controversial.

In 2015, López received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Santa Fe Arts Commission and, in 2017, the Folk Art Society of America’s Award of Distinction.

López has exhibited in numerous shows throughout the Southwest, and his work is in many prominent museum collections throughout the country. His work has been exhibited recently in Japan and Germany.