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Roxanne Swentzell was born in 1962, in Taos, NM. Her mother, Rina Swentzell was a Native American from Santa Clara Pueblo in Northern NM. She was a potter and architect. Her father, Ralph Swentzell was a professor at St. Johns College for 45 years.
The mix was turbulent but nurtured creativity. Roxanne was exposed to the richness of Native American culture which included pottery, adobe building, farming, and
community traditions of the Pueblo peoples. On her father’s side, she was exposed to the wealth of Western philosophy and great works of European art.
Roxanne struggled with a speech impediment but at the age of 4, she started using her mother’s clay to create small figurines to
communicate. The figures showed emotions and simple scenes that were part of Roxanne’s world. This became her first language.
Roxanne’s artistic talents were noticed early and encouraged by parents and teachers alike. By high school, she was invited to attend college level art classes at the Institute of American Indian Arts. After graduating,
Roxanne went on to the Portland Museum Art School in Oregon, but cultural roots brought her back to Santa Clara to build her home in the pueblo and raise her 2 children. Sculpture became the medium that would support her and her family.
In 2004, she opened the Tower Gallery, In Pojoaque, NM. The gallery primarily features Roxanne’s work but has also included works by other Native and non-native artists.
Roxanne has always used her work to address topics of gender, culture, environmental issues. She is a Master sculptor using her chosen medium to convey subtle emotions and the human spirit. A few of the many awards
from her 40-year career include: 1st place in Sculpture at the Santa Fe Indian Market (1998), the Native Treasures Award (MIAC 2011), and the Spirit of the Heard Award (2016 AZ).
Her work is in permanent collections at the Smithsonian (DC), Heard Museum (AZ), Denver Art Museum(CO), Museum of Willington (New Zealand), British Museum of Art (England), and has had shows in Paris, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Chicago,
Denver, Washington DC, Santa Fe.
Roxanne cares deeply about environmental issues and cultural preservation. In 1987, she helped co-found a non-profit, Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute. Today Roxanne continues to create sculptures and work on
community projects, all with intentions of addressing issues of today and creating a better world for generation to come.
Stop 1 - Tower Gallery, 78 Cities of Gold Road