Four Media Arts Students Receive Seabury Fellowships

Seabury Fellowship awardees

Naomi Padilla, left, Tara Trudell, Johnny Alvarez and Shanoaleigh Roseby recieved fellowships for their work in media arts from the Seabury Foundation. 

Las Vegas, N.M. —  Four New Mexico Highlands University media arts students received $2,500 fellowships this academic year, thanks to the Seabury Foundation and a full match from the university’s foundation.

Johnny Alvarez, Tara Trudell, Naomi Padilla, and Shanoaleigh Roseby were tapped for the honor. They showcased their completed projects at an awards presentation on April 25.

“I’m overwhelmed by the professional, high-quality work these Seabury fellows produced,” said Mimi Roberts, who attended the presentation and is the media projects director for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. “It goes beyond the impressive creative talent and technical skills they all possess. They’re finding multimedia modes to connect with the community, a core value of both the Media Arts Department and DCA.”

Media Arts and the Department of Cultural Affairs have an ongoing partnership that Roberts said is mutually beneficial.

“All four of these students created stellar, innovative work,” said Megan Jacobs, media arts professor and scholarship coordinator. “I think good art engages and informs you. Great art does both and also has the ability to transform you in some way. This group of Seabury fellows produced great art that portrays not just the quality of their work but the depth of their spirits.”

Johnny Alvarez created hand-drawn digital illustrations to design six posters that feature important aspects of Mexican culture and tradition, such as legendary artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, a mariachi musician, and Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

“My digital illustrations combine my Mexican heritage, which I find fascinating, with my love for art,” said Alvarez, 39, who graduates in May with a media arts BFA with an emphasis in visual communications. “In my posters, I incorporated elements of the art noveau style. This style is so beautiful and is based on natural forms and structures, with elegant, curved lines. For me, this Seabury project was a labor of love.”

Tara Trudell created a series of short films that explore what compels poets to write, using interviews, poetry readings, and haunting images. She worked with six poets, such as internationally known poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, Navajo poet Tina Deschenie, and local poet Jennifer Esperanza.

“Using filmmaking to express the visual art of poetry is fascinating ­– it’s also important to me because I recently starting writing poetry again after a 10-year break,” said Trudell, 43, who is a junior earning her media arts BFA with an emphasis in filmmaking. “I heard Jimmy Santiago Baca speak twice at Highlands, and he had such a profound impact on me through his poetry and perseverance. He inspired me to find my own voice in my poetry and filmmaking.”

Trudell, who is from Las Vegas, recently won the first-place student award in Panasonic’s “Shoot It, Share It” national competition for her short film about her own experience as a poet. The film is part of her Seabury project.

Naomi Padilla wrote, designed, and created illustrations for a 40-page comic book titled, Magnetic North: Dreams. It is a story about a young man who is grieving the loss of his best friend, and how tragedy can bring unlikely people together.

“Dreams are mysterious, absurd and sometimes unreal — they can mean something or nothing at all but there’s no denying their emotional impact,” said Padilla, 22, who graduates in May in media arts with a minor in fine art. “My comic book illustrations are inspired by anime, a Japanese animation style that portrays character’s emotions through big, expressive eyes.”

Padilla added: “The media arts professors believe in you and want you to succeed. They are encouraging, helpful and supportive. This was especially important with my Seabury project.

Shanoaleigh Roseby created comprehensive marketing materials for the university’s Campus Violence Prevention Program, including designing a website, marketing booklet, trifold brochure, new logo and stationery, and more. She also took the digital photos for the marketing pieces.

“What the Campus Violence Prevention Program does for the campus is outstanding, and I wanted to help them through marketing and design to raise awareness about their services,” said Roseby, 22, a junior earning her BFA in media arts with an emphasis in communication design. “In my design work for the program, my goal was to convey a welcoming environment for a serious subject, stressing awareness, unity, strength and growth.”

The Seabury Foundation was established in 1947 by Santa Fe resident Deborah Seabury Holloway’s grandfather. This is the third year Holloway has teamed up with the university’s foundation to award Seabury fellowships to outstanding media arts students at Highlands.