• U.S.

Art: American Artist

1 minute read

A high-school junior last week won the $1,000 first prize in a nationwide art contest sponsored by American Magazine, He was judged the best of 52,587 contestants. Diminutive Ben Quintana, 17, was well qualified to paint the subject set—My Community: Its Place in the Nation. Winner Quintana’s ancestors have lived in the U. S. as long as anybody: he is a full-blooded Pueblo Indian.

Artist Quintana’s community, Cochiti Pueblo on the Rio Grande, still looks much as it did when Coronado explored New Mexico 400 years ago this summer. Pictured in his prize-winning tempera are its crops (corn, wheat, melons, squash), irrigated then as now from the river; its Indians dancing, drumming, hoeing, baking, carrying water; its arid hills beyond. Only post-Coronado additions are a mission and school.

Art-loving Ben Quintana started playing with paints in third grade, has already done murals for schools at Cochiti and Santa Fe, an Indian trading post at Albuquerque. Ben wanted to use his prize to buy “something for my family,” but his father vetoed the suggestion. Like many another winner of an art award, Ben will spend his prize money on further study.

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