The Department of Art and Art History and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin are pleased to announce Armando Cortés as the 2021 recipient of the St. Elmo Arts Residency and Fellowship. An artist whose work ranges from small object making to installation and performance, Cortés will be in residence during the 2021-22 academic year, culminating in the residency’s annual solo exhibition at the Wildflower Center.

The St. Elmo Arts Residency launched in fall 2018, offering one fellowship each academic year to a newly minted MFA artist in painting, drawing, print, photo, sculpture or multimedia. The residency supports emerging artists and the creation of new work by providing a dedicated studio and living space in South Austin in addition to a $30,000 stipend. Each fellow engages with the UT Austin community through classes and lectures at UT Austin and at the Wildflower Center.  

This year’s St. Elmo Arts Fellow, Cortés, was born in Urequio, Michoacán, México, and raised in Wilmington, California. His work — an exploration of memory, myth, history, geography, experience and materiality — is informed by his family history. He is the sixth child among seven siblings, including generations of farmers, migrants, manufacturers, office professionals, professors and artists, among other professions. 

While in residency in Austin, Cortés will explore the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s history, land and architecture. “Both the land and its alterations and constructions, layered over time, reveal much about the time processes and the people who have called it home,” said Cortés. He anticipates these investigations will lead to a new body of work that will, in material form, give Austin and greater Texas audiences a deeper understanding of the ground beneath our feet.

Cortés earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA in 2012 and his Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Yale School of Art in 2021. He has recently exhibited at Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles; ASU Art Museum, Arizona; Space One, Seoul; White Cube, London; and an upcoming group show this fall at MASS MoCA.

About the Department of Art and Art History
The Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin includes the divisions of Art Education, Art History and Studio Art. It reflects the rigorous standards of a flagship institution, while offering an intimate environment for students to train as scholars, artists and educators in the arts.

About the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
As the Botanic Garden of Texas, The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center inspires the conservation of native plants through its public gardens, education and conservation programs, research, and consulting work. It is internationally renowned for its leading role as a champion of native plants and resilient landscapes.
About the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin 
The College of Fine Arts educates artists, scholars and future arts educators in a context that emphasizes artistic excellence, advanced technology, cultural diversity and best professional practices. The college places a high priority on research and the creation of new work through its many divisions and departments, including among others, the Butler School of Music, the Department of Art and Art History, the Department of Theatre and Dance, the School of Design and Creative Technologies, Texas Performing Arts, the university’s arts presenting organization, and Landmarks, the university’s public art program. A comprehensive visual and performing arts college, degree concentrations from the B.A. to Ph.D. are offered in classical music and composition to acting, dance and scenic design to studio art and arts education, as well as the scholarly study of the arts in a broad range of disciplines.  

Sept. 21, 2021
Faculty & Staff
Studio Art