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LEAP is Land, Experience and Art of Place and was founded by artist, Claire Coté, in the summer of 2009. Inspired by a sense of wonder, and a commitment to creativity and sustainability, LEAP is an experimental, interdisciplinary, artist-driven, initiative creating fertile ground for collaboration. LEAP is based in Questa, New Mexico and works with within the local surrounding communities as well as with collaborators and artists from near and far.

LEAP arts events, adventures, workshops and field trips explore, in a variety of forms, the richness and diversity in the ecology of the places where they occur: wilderness, flora and fauna, ancient and contemporary cultures, geology, the strands of our community and the interdependence of all of these things.

Each year, we work with our collaborators on a theme to inform our events and outreach programming:

LEAP Annual Themes to Date:

2018: Roots ~ Raices
2017: Seeds ~ Semillas
2016: ¡Pollinate!

2015: Luz es Vida – Light is Life
2014: Thinking Wilderness
2013: Intimate Ecologies
2012: Powers of Sun, Wind + Water

LEAP provides opportunities to deepen our appreciation and understanding of and relationship to our environments and our human and non-human neighbors; to increase our commitment to protecting these places and relationships and fostering creative responses and expressions of them in contemporary art and culture.

LEAP serves as an interdisciplinary networking hub, connecting artists, students and the public with conservationists, land management organizations and practitioners in other fields. A passion for experiencing and protecting wild lands and waters is at its core.

LEAP works with art as a form of fieldwork and an investigative technique for research with expanded parameters and outcome possibilities. Artists, as cultural creatives, are encouraged to team-up with practitioners in other fields to explore, document, study and “express” different environments, areas and problems. LEAP investigates and actively examines the meaning and applications of the word “resource” and “management.”

Place, environment and the particularities of locality are central to this program. According to Einstein, “All action is local.” For many artists, nature is a great source of inspiration, but through LEAP artists and the public alike are encouraged, to go beyond observation; to interact with and participate in the places around them. Familiarity is the first step toward appreciation and appreciation is the first step towards conservation.

LEAP is a program of Localogy, a 501(c)nonprofit
and a Questa Creative Council (QCC) Partner.

LEAP Collaborative Team

Claire-BWClaire Coté (BA, MA) – LEAP Director
is an artist, educator, gentle instigator, mother and radical homemaker. Her interdisciplinary arts practice and education work take her on local and international adventures into nature, classrooms, galleries and beyond. She is the founder of LEAP, co-organizer of SEED Taos, and ongoing collaborator with English Artist, Anna Keleher. Born and raised north of Questa, New Mexico, Claire now lives in Sunshine Valley with her husband and daughters in their off-grid home. More…

GaeaBioGaea McGahee (BA, MA) – LEAP Team Collaborator
spends time in her kitchen exploring ferments, sourdoughs, and the anthropology of these food traditions. She’s a lover of deserts and open spaces, homemaking and expansive travel. She’s an adjunct anthropology professor and has taught in-class and online since 2003, including classes on climate change and adaptation in past and current societies. She brings her perspective, rooted in anthropology and informed by life in New Mexico and travel elsewhere as well as her desire to serve and build community with collaborative projects. More…

Joan Long (LMT) – LEAP Team Collaborator
was born and raised north of Questa and passion for theater took her to San Francisco, where she lived for ten years. She then spent four years living on the Northern CA and Oregon coast. During this time she worked with children and travelled extensively in Latin America and Europe. She became a Licensed Massage Therapist after graduating from the Ashland Institute of Massage and was then drawn back to Northern NM, where she established own massage practice and joined the LEAP team. She now lives with her partner and their young son, north of Questa.

Martha C. Shepp (BA, MA) – LEAP Team Collaborator
is a multi-disciplinary artist. Her art forms are a melding of expressive arts. She directs and produces shows incorporating moving image, poetry, dance, visuals, and music, and has collaborated with artists from all these disciplines in her many years as practicing artist, designer, and classical musician. As art director and editor, she has created exhibition catalogs, magazines, and poetry books as well as corporate identity systems and illustrations. As musician, she is drawn to works from any genre or timeframe. Martha is a teacher as well and sees her role as facilitating the unfolding of her students’ mysterious pathways to themselves. More…

Sarah Dzieweczynski  – LEAP Team Collaborator
found Minnesota wasn’t cold enough, so she ventured to Alaska where she fell in love with mountains, wild animals and open air. After diversions across the US, living in Japan, traveling Europe and completing studies in History and Women Studies, she returned to teach in rural AK. In search of new beginnings and sunshine she was drawn to Taos, NM, where she found her true love (husband Sam), a permanent (for now) home and community. Currently her passions are watching her daughters grow into awesome humans, rock climbing, snowboarding, growing food , running an environmentally conscious business, and offering administrative skills to organizations, like LEAP. More…

Anita-PirateBWAnita McKeown (PhD,FRSA, BA, MA) – LEAP Team Collaborator
is an itinerant interdisciplinary artist, curator and researcher working in the public domain. She is interested in Creative Placemaking and Open Source Culture and Technology (ethically and ecologically) and STEAM education. Previously, Director of the CATALYST initiative at SMARTlab,UCD, Dublin she recently completed her PhD. She is now continuing her independent research and live, situated art projects as Art Services Unincorporated (ASU). More…

To find out more, become involved or make a tax-deductible donation contact us: or 575-224-9066.
We look forward to hearing from you!

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