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Anita McKeown, NeoRio 2013 Artist in Residence

The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument announces its first Artist-in-Residence

July 1 – October 3, 2013

In partnership with the BLM Taos Field Office, LEAP  is pleased to announce the selection of the new Rio Grande del Norte National Monument’s first artist-in-residence, Anita McKeown.  A visiting artist from Ireland, she will be drawing on her three-year relationship with the Taos County area for her residency project that explores culture and ecology through art and food.  Anita works across a range of media forms, including digital technology and performance to create context-responsive, ecologically sensitive interventions that often develop over a number of years.

Anita Closing

Anita making ice cream for guests at her Open Lab

Entitled “Intimate Ecologies: Tastes of the Monument,” Anita will stage a series of participatory workshops and activities, an exhibition and open lab, culminating in the “Ice Cream Olympics” on September 28 at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center, playfully exploring local food culture and the ecological diversity of the new National Monument – by making ice cream!

Now in their fifth year, LEAPs NeoRio events are an annual platform for new and featured artists and projects, which culminate in a BLM Public Lands Day event at Wild Rivers in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, and at the OCHO Art Space in Questa.

What does ice cream have to do with the new Rio Grande del Norte National Monument? Ask artist in residence and project leader, Anita McKeown and you’ll soon understand the connection.

New Mexico’s unique food culture is a fusion of Pueblo Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Cowboy Chuckwagon; this unique mix, and the host of untapped edibles available in the wild and the abundance of local produce and contemporary producers motivated the project. Recognizing that food sovereignty and security are complex issues, this residency and project seeks broad participation to provoke deep discussions, all with a light touch.

“Many people in Taos County know and use the lands in the new National Monument, but this residency provides unique and innovative ways to connect to a landscape that we already love,” says John Bailey, BLM spokesman for the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

The NeoRio events are organized by LEAP (Land, Experience and Art of Place, a program of Localogy).  In the words of LEAP founder, Claire Coté, “NeoRio is about creating opportunities for contemporary artists to interface with and celebrate our communities, rivers and wild lands. This year we have some really exciting things to celebrate – the new Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, our first artist-in-residence and “The Ice Cream Olympics”.  This will present us with fun and delicious ways to engage with local ecology while at the same time touching on big issues.”

According to Anita McKeown, “Whether or not you decide to take part in “The Ice Cream Olympics” event, what you know about local and wild foods is important to the project and Northern New Mexico and we want to hear from you!”

Anita holds a first class honors degree from Falmouth College of Art (London) and a Masters in Design and Media art from University of Westminster and is currently completing a PhD at the National College of art and Design (Dublin). For the last 20 years her work has challenged the ‘monument’ in public art practice, developing projects that aim to explore new ideas and understanding by collaboratively,  remixing and re-imagining local existing knowledge.  Working mainly in audio, film and live art, she has re-mixed Memphis,, for which she won a Bravo award, the only non-US citizen to do so.

If you want to learn more, are interested in getting involved, have a recipe or local food story to share or are able to support the project in anyway, please contact Anita: 505-433-1880, or learn more at

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