Carissa Samaniego explores the intersection of place and identity through a range of media including sculpture, video, installation, and site-based projects. Raised between a small town on the prairie in the upper-Midwest and a Nuevomexicano family rooted in the borderlands of the Southwest for twelve generations, her identity straddles geographic and cultural borders. She draws from contrasting family traditions, generational knowledge, histories, and relationships to the land based on her personal experience and ongoing research focused in her places of origin.

Her work includes projects that simultaneously point out the dissimilarities while building narratives to expand our perception of how identity is crafted. Centering a feminist, mestiza voice in projects that recontextualize familiar elements of material culture, found/borrowed imagery and text, hand-made objects, and personal memories, her artwork spins visual stories that give form to a complex understanding of identity and place. Mulberry tree stumps, heirloom quilts, regional non-fiction, holy figurines, piñatas, illicit fossils, home videos, taxidermy and neon signs are among the subjects interwoven into non-linear narratives of mixed identity.

Currently based in Colorado, she exhibits regionally throughout the American West, in the greater United States, and internationally in Europe and Asia. Recent project sites include the Kidwelly Industrial Museum in Wales (UK), Galerie Klatovy Klenova (CZ), the Border Art Residency (TX), Union Hall, (CO), and Minneapolis College of Art and Design (US). She has received awards from the INSITE Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Awesome Without Borders, the McKnight Foundation, Forecast Public Art, and International Sculpture Center. She holds an MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder (CO) and a BA from Saint Catherine University (MN).

carissasamaniego (at) gmail


reading list


Carissa Samaniego explora la intersección del lugar y la identidad a través de una variedad de medios que incluyen escultura, video, instalación y proyectos basados ​​en el sitio. Criada entre un pueblo rural en la parte superior del medio oeste y una familia Latinx muy unida en las tierras fronterizas del suroeste, su identidad está formada por tradiciones familiares, conocimiento generacional y relaciones basadas en el lugar que atraviesan fronteras geográficas y culturales.

Esta experiencia informa proyectos que recontextualizan elementos familiares de la cultura material, imágenes y textos encontrados / tomados en préstamo, objetos hechos a mano y recuerdos personales para tejer historias que dan forma a una comprensión compleja de la identidad y el lugar. Tocones de morera, colchas de reliquia, no ficción regional, figuritas sagradas, piñatas, fósiles ilícitos, videos caseros y letreros de neón se encuentran entre los temas entretejidos en narrativas no lineales de las relaciones y lugares que dan forma a la identidad.

Actualmente con sede en Colorado, trabaja regionalmente en todo el oeste de Estados Unidos, en los Estados Unidos y en sitios selectos en Europa. Los sitios del proyecto incluyen Kidwelly Industrial Museum en Gales, Reino Unido, Galerie Klatovy Klenova en Rebpublica Checa, the Border Art Residency en Texas, Estados Unidos, y Minneapolis College of Art and Design en Minnesota, Estados Unidos. Tiene un MFA de la Universidad de Colorado Boulder y un BA de la Universidad de Saint Catherine.

curriculum vitae

b. 1985, based in Colorado, USA




Sculpture and Post-Studio Practice

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO



Studio Art / Sculpture

Saint Catherine University, Saint Paul, MN

Solo and Two-person Exhibitions


Coyote Ballad, TXST Galleries, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

Juntos en Progreso ~ Together in Progress, Art Space Gallery, El Paso, TX

Five Points, Border Art Residency Studio, El Paso, TX


Decoy, Northeast Sculpture, Casket Arts, Minneapolis, MN (postponed due to COVID-19)


The Spirit in the Flame, Union Hall, Denver, CO (with Matt Smith)

A.I.R.: Adobe Valley, Hattfield Gallery, Adams State University, Alamosa, CO


Riding the Fence, Pulling the Trigger, CU Art Museum, Boulder, CO*


Winter Blues, The Market at Franconia Sculpture Park, Franconia, MN

Collaborations / Special Projects


Me gusta Americaña y Americaña gusta de Mí, design for M12 Studio, in collaboration with Trent Segura


Mama Bird, 26-page field guide to local birds and maternal instincts with illustrations by my two-year-old daughter

Footwork: Suburban Borderlands, ongoing online photo project


Backyard Collection, permanent installation, Museum of Natural History, Boulder, CO


Tea Hive, University of Minnesota Bee Lab Pollinator Project Site, commission funded by HMR Foundation, Osceola, WI


Minor Landmark / Opomíjená Pamêtihodnost, temporary installation in collaboration with Yumi Roth and Ben McQuillan*

Notes from the Field: Vol. 1 & 2, broadsheet publication with text and illustration, distributed internationally in collaboration with Meghan Chase, Mike Foster, Ben McQuillan, Melissa Sclafani, Laura Smith, Matthew Smith, Aaron Treher


Imagining the St. Croix River Valley, project as Founding Cultural Agent with the United States Department of Arts and Culture, St. Croix Falls, WI

Waterfall for Archdale, commission for collaborative project with Kulture Klub, Minneapolis, MN


Glowabout, installation and public engagement event in collaboration with Bridget Beck, Northern Spark, Minneapolis, MN


Painting Machine, traveling interactive sculpture designed and built in collaboration with Jonas Lindberg, multiple project sites in MN and WI


Charro, temporary large-scale outdoor sculpture at Franconia Sculpture Park, Franconia, MN

Ace Stellar Shanty, collaboration with Robin Wilburn, Art Shanty Projects, Medicine Lake, MN

Select Group Exhibition Record


Tú Eres Tú, CAV Gallery, Las Cruces, NM

Folklore and Fairytales, Ellen Noël Art Museum, Odessa, TX

The Circle, Czong Institute for Contemporary Art, Gimpo, Gyeonggi, S. Korea


RMCAD Faculty Biennial, Phillip J. Steel Gallery, Denver, CO

Navigating Diversity: Identity + Religion, Rotunda Gallery, Denver, CO


Los Muertos, Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, Oklahoma City, OK

Conversations on Race and Identity, Horton Gallery, San Joaquin Delta College, CA

Synergy, Lafayette Art Center, Lafayette, CO


Party Art Truck, nomadic exhibition with temporary sites in CO, NV, UT, and CA


Derivative by Nature, Counterpath Gallery, Denver, CO

The Nowness, Visual Arts Complex, University of Colorado Boulder, CO

Performing & Translating, CU Art Museum, Boulder, CO

(RE)collecting, Museum of Natural History, CU Boulder, CO*


Field Works Five, The Feed Store, M12 Studio, Byers, CO

2nd Annual Juried Exhibition, Pirate Contemporary, Denver, CO

New MFA Work, Visual Arts Complex, CU Boulder, CO

Chimney Swifts, Washington St., St. Croix Falls, WI


King Exhibition, University of Colorado Boulder, CO

North of the 45th Parallel, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI

Outdoor Sculpture Annual, Stevens Point Sculpture Park, Stevens Point, WI


Workweek: Studio to the Gallery, Casket Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

Maquettes for Sculpture, Casket Gallery, Minneapolis, MN


Charro, Franconia Sculpture Park, Franconia, MN

Open Cast, Kidwelly Industrial Museum, Kidwelley Wales, UK


Sculpture Hill, Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort, KY

Cache, Factory Gallery at Casket Arts, Minneapolis, MN

Women’s Art Institute Reunion, Northrup King Building, Minneapolis, MN

Residencies / Awards


Artist in Residence, Platte Forum, Denver, CO


Artist in Residence, Border Art Residency, El Paso, TX

Project Grant, Awesome Without Borders / The Harnisch Foundation, NYC


Western Lands Fellowship, M12 Studio SLV Field Work Site, Antonito, CO

Rare A.I.R., Adams State University, Alamosa, CO


Artist Fellowship, HMR Foundation / Franconia Sculpture Park, Osceola, WI

Graduate Sculpture Award, Dept. of Art & Art History, CU Boulder, CO

Outstanding Student Achievement in Sculpture, Honorable Mention, International Sculpture Center, NJ


Interspaces Artist Residency, Galerie Klenova-Klatovy, Czech Republic

Beverly Sears Research Grant, College of Arts & Sciences, CU Boulder, CO

Bri Fera Scholarship, Dept. of Art & Art History, CU Boulder, CO


McKnight Individual Artist Grant, East Central Regional Arts Council, MN

Artist Residency, Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort, KY


Artist Research Grant (Navajo Weaving), Forecast Public Art, Minneapolis, MN


6th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, Kidwelly, Wales, UK

Project Grant, Art Shanty Projects, Medicine Lake, MN

Travel and Study Grant, Starseed Foundation, OR


Friends of the Gallery Award, Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, St. Paul, MN

Intern Artist Fellowship, Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN

Amy Sears Memorial Scholarship, Art Department, College of St. Catherine, MN


Women’s Art Institute Full Tuition Scholarship, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, MN


Presidential Scholarship, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN

Leadership Scholarship, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN

reading list

Evolving list of books (fiction + non-fiction) that influence my work and relate to place-based identity

Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldúa

The Decolonial Imaginary, Emma Pérez

Coatlicue Girl, Gris Muñoz

Sabrina & Corina, Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Acid West, Joshua Wheeler

Bless Me Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya

We Fed Them Cactus, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca

Where We Come From, Oscar Cásares

Crazy Brave, Joy Harjo

Inventing Latinos, Laura E. Gómez

Finding Latinx, Paola Ramos

Light in the Dark / Luz en el Oscura, Gloria Anzaldúa

Retablos, Octavio Solis

When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away, Ramón Gutiérrez

Nación Genízara: Ethnogenesis, Place, and Identity in New Mexico

Almanac of the Dead, Leslie Marmon Silko

Dancing On Our Turtle’s Back, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

This Bridge Called my Back

This Bridge We Call Home

Methodology of the Oppressed, Chela Sandoval

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