Seabury Scholarship award winners

Media arts students Xena Montoya, Tara Trudell and Arianna Andreatta received $2,500 Seabury Foundation fellowships this year. 

Las Vegas, N.M. — Three outstanding 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.

Tara Trudell, Arianna Andreatta, and Xena Montoya were tapped for the honor. They showcased their Seabury projects at an awards presentation on April 10.

“Overall, the students’ work had a great deal of heart combined with technical skill and creative talent,” said Mimi Roberts, the media projects director for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. “The Media Arts Department supports each student in developing their unique voice, while producing high-quality work.”

Media Arts and the Department of Cultural Affairs have an ongoing partnership.

“All of these Seabury fellows created personally transformative, professional work that charted new territory and modes of expression,” said Megan Jacobs, media arts professor and scholarship coordinator. “Tara bravely puts herself in front of the camera in a powerful and poignant 20-minute narrative documentary that features her poetry. Arianna pushed herself to experiment with two distinct styles of cinematography to create radically different, strong pieces. Xena gives back to the community through creating well-designed branding and marketing materials for a local law firm.”  

Tara Trudell, an award-winning filmmaker and poet, produced Poem Home, which chronicles her poetry reading events and journey to the legendary Alcatraz Island prison in San Francisco Bay. As a young child, Trudell lived with her family on Alcatraz during the Indians of All Tribes occupation in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Four of Trudell’s poems weave through the narrative documentary, which includes haunting images important in her life — stark scenes shot at Alcatraz, towering trees and water flowing over rocks, a garment worn at her first Lakota Sioux ceremony, footage of her poetry readings, her four children, and more.

“It’s important to me to represent my spirit and voice in my poetry, and combine that with film to create visual art that has emotional impact,” said Trudell, 44, who will graduate in December with a BFA in media arts with an emphasis in filmmaking. “With Poem Home, I wanted to connect again with the energy of being young and fearless at Alcatraz. During my journey through Arizona and California, I was embraced into a community of poets, artists and social activists, which was empowering.

“At Highlands, the media arts faculty has been so supportive and gracious in allowing me to explore and cultivate my art,” said Trudell, a two-time Seabury fellow.

Her first poetry book, Poem Home, is in process and includes poems from the film and others penned over the last three years.  

Arianna Andreatta produced two distinctly different films to help market artists. The first, a music video for the Albuquerque heavy death metal band Impaled Offering, juxtaposes the hard-driving intensity of the band’s musical genre with imagery of the Roman Catholic faith. The second is a documentary film that features a Las Vegas woodworker, Paul Bonchi, as he skillfully crafts his hand-made custom long boards in his peaceful shop. The video captures the artistry and process of creating the one-of-a-kind Bonchi Boards.

“I wanted to explore and develop new skills in important areas of my field, like music video production and short documentaries,” said Andreatta, 22, who graduates in May with a BFA in media arts with an emphasis in filmmaking. “I also wanted to highlight two local artists whose work comes from very different backgrounds, but who share similar goals and creative processes. I wanted to showcase the time and effort it takes to make professional-quality work that is long lasting, memorable and fit for an international market. This project also allowed me to showcase my own passion for film and video.”

This is also Andreatta’s second Seabury Fellowship.

Xena Montoya created a brand identity and full suite of marketing materials for the Las Vegas law firm Brown & Gallegos. Montoya designed a logo, website, print advertising, brochure, stationery, business cards and forms, signage for the exterior of the law firm’s building, and more. Montoya also took the digital photos needed for her polished, professional designs.

“In the words of Thomas J. Watson, Jr., ‘good design is good business,’ and that’s exactly what I wanted to give the Brown & Gallegos law firm,” said Montoya, 22, who will graduate in December with a BFA in media arts with an emphasis in visual communications. “I started working for the firm my freshman year at Highlands. Since then, they have done everything possible to support me and help me work my way through college. I wanted to say ‘thank you’ by giving them a professional and elegant brand to use long after I graduate and leave the firm.”

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