Current Visiting Artist
May 2022
From NM to MN

The Cultural Center is pleased to welcome Artist-in-Residence Dr. Ramona Lee Pérez to New York Mills.  Dr. Pérez comes to us from New Mexico and will be in New York Mills for the month of May 2022.

Dr. Ramona Lee Pérez is an author-artist-activist devoted to creative cultural healing. They have degrees in anthropology from the University of California at San Diego and New York University with specialties in Latinx America, social connection, and the human body. Also trained as a ceremonialist and holistic healer, Dr. Pérez is a Ford Foundation fellow, recipient of multiple professional awards, and grantee of Community Against Violence. Combining research, advocacy, writing, and visual art, their recent work reimagines identity and community through lenses of disability, queerness, multiracial heritage, and global upheaval.

Dr. Pérez’s essays and poems can be found in Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Swimming with Elephants, Snapdragon, Hispanecdotes, Gastropolis, The Menteur, Upon Waking: 58 Voices Speaking out from the Shadow of Abuse, and elsewhere. Current projects include Who Else?: A Dissociative Memoir, a poetry collection entitled Flaming Waffles: A Bilingual Breakfast Apocalypse, a hybrid volume called Unshattering: Remembering through Trauma, and mixed media creations about transforming pain into power.

While in New York Mills, Dr. Pérez’s work plan is comprehensive of all open projects, including penultimate edits for the poetry chapbook, mixed media/poetry, work on the memoir, and leisure reading of research materials for the hybrid volume. Dr. Pérez is also very interested in connecting with residents of New York Mills and the surrounding region.

Dr. Ramona Pérez is from northern New Mexico, where wildfires are currently raging near their home, with high winds expected to continue. Four separate fires now cover about 500k acres of forest and farmland, and Dr. Pérez’s little town was put on “set to evacuate” status 2 along with the rest of southern Taos County. Surrounding counties started evacuation last week.

Dr. Pérez is grateful to be here but is worried about people, animals and places back home. Many of their neighbors are elderly, disabled, single women, single parents with young children and pretty much all with pets and/or farm animals.

Due to this crisis, Dr. Pérez has asked for the support of our community during her time here in residence. If anyone is so inclined, please pray for protection for everyone back home, rain, low winds, and blessings for firefighters, many of whom are volunteers from local reservations. Dr. Pérez feels so grateful for the clean air and refreshing rain last week here in New York Mills, but feels anxious that their home and so many loved ones are potentially at risk. If anyone would like to make a donation towards people in need of relief funds due to losing their homes, an official campaign was started by the New Mexico Governor’s office and a coalition of major foundations here:

About the Arts Retreat Artist Residency Program:

The Arts Retreat artist residency program of the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center focuses on providing dedicated artists time for creative development and exploration. The program offers a unique taste of life in rural Minnesota while allowing the artists virtually uninterrupted time in which to immerse themselves in their artwork.  When the Cultural Center was founded its name was “The New York Mills Arts Retreat.” The artist retreat and residency program remains central to the mission, purpose, values, and vision of the Center today.