New Mexico School for the Deaf Connor Hall
Originally constructed in 1928, Connor Hall was used as a dormitory until it reopened in 2010 as a career and technical education center. NMSD technology, counseling, and transition departments are housed in the facility, as well as classrooms for art, technology and woodshop. The elementary school gymnasium is located at the rear of the building. The facility is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Established by the New Mexico Legislature in 1887, NMSD provides comprehensive and accessible educational and support services to deaf and hard of hearing children and youth between the ages of birth to 22 from all over the state of New Mexico. While many are enrolled at the historic Santa Fe campus, the school also offers early childhood services through satellite preschools located in Albuquerque, Farmington and Las Cruces.
Art in Public Places of New Mexico Arts and New Mexico School for the Deaf Local Selection Committee sought to commission a site-specific project in Connor Hall on the school's historic campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Local Selection Committee of NMSD was interested in artwork that was highly visual, colorful, timeless and representative of the deaf experience and American Sign Language.
Shawn Trentlage and Darcy Ferrill from Minneapolis, MN were awarded the commission.
Their project, Signs + Symbols, stems from passion in working with gathering spaces and the learned role of how important art is to one's spirit and vision. Their approach to public art is to create pieces that delight, promote positive energy and inspire. It is their desire to create a visual journey, one that informs people about the development and discovery of art, education, history, community etc., through the use of glass and acrylics. Many of their works incorporate interactive elements (sound and light), areas where people can touch the works and watch colors in the glass move and change.