By Margaret McKinney
Two Highlands University media arts students developed a logo, took still photographs, and created a tourism video to help promote Aztec Ruins, Chaco Canyon, and Mesa Verde, all World Heritage Sites.
The ancestral Pueblo sites are in the Four Corners region at the intersection of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah.
Molly Enenbach, a media arts/biology junior, is an AmeriCorps intern based at Aztec Ruins National Monument this summer, along with media arts senior Craig Cassidy.
The students are part of Highlands one-of-a-kind AmeriCorps Cultural Technology Program, a partnership with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
Cyresa Bloom is an interpretive park guide at Aztec Ruins, and helps supervise Enenbach and Cassidy.
“Molly and Craig are very artistic, professional and pragmatic in their approach to capturing still images and video footage,” Bloom said. “They’re doing an outstanding job of incorporating both the cultural and recreational attributes of the Four Corners in their work.
“These students’ logo design is excellent, and includes many important elements of our region, from the ancestral Pueblo culture to the mountains and rivers,” Bloom said.
Bloom said in interpretive work, one goal is to make an emotional and intellectual connection with youth, giving them a personal sense of stewardship of the cultural and recreational resources of a national monument.
“Molly and Craig’s high-quality work will definitely help us with this goal,” Bloom said.
The 20-year-old Enenbach is an Aztec, New Mexico native. She recalls school field trips and family outings to the nearby Aztec Ruins.
Ancestral Puebloans constructed Aztec Ruins, with the centerpiece being a 900-year-old great house with more than 400 masonry rooms.
“Our main focus for the summer is to create a new brand for the Aztec Ruins, Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde World Heritage Sites,” Enenbach said. “It’s especially gratifying to be working to bring more recognition to Aztec Ruins, a remote, scenic, and culturally unique Pueblo ruin.
“This internship is a great opportunity to build my portfolio and gain real-world experience. I’m very thankful to be an AmeriCorps intern,” Enenbach said.
In June, the Media Arts and Technology Department was awarded an $112,895 federal grant for 22 students like Enenbach and Cassidy to be placed as AmeriCorps interns in New Mexico museums and cultural institutions in 2014 and 2015. It’s the fifth consecutive year media arts has received a federal grant for this purpose.
Media arts instructor Lauren Addario directs the AmeriCorps Cultural Technology program.
“There’s tremendous diversity in the work our AmeriCorps students are doing this summer,” Addario said. “It ranges from developing iPad apps for the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos to a New Mexico State Library project to train rural librarians to use 3-D printers to developing an educational program for Girl Scouts at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.”
The students are applying their cutting-edge skills with multimedia projects aimed at cultural preservation at 10 sites across the state this summer. Some other placements include the National Hispanic Cultural Center, City of Las Vegas Museum, and Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe.
“AmeriCorps Cultural Technology is a small program that’s making a big difference at our state’s cultural institutions. It’s also having a major impact on our students’ lives as they transition from college to professional work,” Addario said.