Yuma, AZ (January 16, 2020) – Arizona Western College Professor of History Monica Ketchum will be recognized as a Distinguished Artist by the Calexico Arts Council on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Ketchum will be honored during the Leaf Unveiling Program from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center, 421 Heffernan Ave., in Calexico, California. The ceremony will be accompanied by an exhibition of her work. Her pieces will remain on display for public viewing from Jan. 21-23. The gallery will be open to the public from 4 to 7 p.m. each day.
The Calexico Arts Council began the Distinguished Artist program to recognize area artists for their work. Artists who receive the honor have a leaf added to the Distinguished Artist Tree of Life, which is located inside the foyer of the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center. Individuals are nominated for the award and sponsored by members of the community. Ketchum was nominated by Norma Sierra Galindo, President of the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors.
“I am particularly honored to be recognized because Calexico has long held a special place in my heart,” said Ketchum.
"I have been actively involved in the Calexico Chamber of Commerce and other community service organizations in Calexico since 2004. I am excited to have my leaf placed among the leaves of my fellow artists and friends and to have the opportunity to exhibit my work."
While most of her work is created using acrylic paints, she also dabbles with pen and ink, watercolor, and photography.
“I suppose I have been creating artwork all my life, but have little formal training, apart from a few design classes I took as part of my degree in interior design,” said Ketchum, who is also the Division Chair of Social Sciences at AWC.
“In 2006, I painted a mural on the back of my house and then began painting smaller canvases after that. I believe that art is essential to children’s education and development, and I am grateful that the arts were an integral part of the curriculum throughout my elementary and secondary education. That’s not always the case now.”
She had an opportunity to teach Picasso to second graders and Matisse to third graders as a volunteer through an art docent program with the Mountain Empire Unified School District in 2008. Ketchum also participated in an “Artist in the Library” summer art program at the Camarena Memorial Library in Calexico, where kids of all ages are invited to create artwork under the supervision of a local artist.
Professor of History
Arizona Western College