Return of the Corn Mothers featured in the ASU Hatfield Gallery

Alumna Tori Martinez ’16 will be inducted into the Return of the Corn Mothers.

Students of the Journey Through Our Heritage (JTOH) program at Metropolitan State University of Denver will celebrate the San Luis Valley leg of a yearlong tour of the nationally acclaimed, award-winning photo-journalistic exhibition, Return of the Corn Mothers, with two special events this spring in Alamosa. Seven new women from the Valley will be added to this traveling exhibition, which includes women from Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The Adams State University Hatfield Gallery will showcase 20 of the 41 portraits of the Corn Mother women. The exhibit, Return of the Corn Mothers, includes an opening reception from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in the Adams State Art Department. The show continues through March 17. For information call the Art Department Office at 719-587-7823.

The Return of the Corn Mothers is a traveling photographic/oral history exhibition of women from the Southwest who embody the spirit of community. The exhibition, which received a Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute award in 2007, and a Colorado Endowment for the Humanities grant in 2009, has traveled in the past eight years to Arizona State University in Phoenix; New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico; the University of Colorado at Boulder Museum of Natural History; and Pima Community College in Tucson. In 2012, it was featured at the MSU Denver Center For Visual Arts.

Peggy Godfrey will be inducted into the Return of the Corn Mothers.

The show is based on the Pueblo myth of the Corn Mother, a legendary entity synonymous with Mother Earth, who represents growth, life, creativity, and the feminine aspects of the world. Master photographer Todd Pierson has traveled throughout Southwest for the past decade, capturing the images of 41 contemporary Corn Mothers. The women in the exhibition, who include midwifes, healers, watershed preservationists, storytellers, musicians, farmers, ranchers, and more, were chosen for their contributions to community and their creative endeavors. Their life stories, and those of female ancestors they have chosen to honor, are also documented in film and story as part of the exhibition.

The Corn Mother show will move to the San Luis Valley Museum, in Alamosa, and be on display from March 19 through April 16. Seven new women from the Valley will be inducted into the Corn Mothers traveling exhibition at the opening reception 5 – 7 p.m., Saturday, April 2. The new inductees include Oneyda Maestas, Adams State CASA director, Dr. Carol Guerrero Murphy, Adams State CIELO director, Tori Vigil Martinez, Adams State alumna and sociologist and community activist; Claudia Ebel, food and justice advocate; Dr. Kristy Duran, Adams State associate professor of biology; Bertha Velarde, wilderness advocate; and Peggy Godfrey, rancher. The exhibition at the museum will feature portraits and video clips of all 41 women, along with the unveiling of the 2016 Return of the Corn Mothers book, which contains biographies, life philosophies, dichos (sayings), and a story by each of the women; edited by Ed Winograd. The show runs through April 16, with the closing reception starting at 6 p.m.

For more information on the Corn Mother Project, contact Dr. Renee Fajardo of MSU at 720-329-0869 or or visit Corn Mothers Project.