Arturo Alonzo Sandoval

In 1965 Arturo Alonzo Sandoval took a beginning-weaving course while a graduate student at California State College-Los Angeles. That same year he was ushered into the U. S. Naval Reserve and soon was shipped off to Vietnam where he spent time as a U.S.N.R. Officer on the U. S. S. Kitty Hawk, CVA 63 and on the U. S. Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan. In 1969 he finished his M.A. specializing in sculptural fiber art. Encouraged by his professors Michael Schrier and Virginia Hoffman to consider teaching he pursued his terminal art degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art under Robert Kidd and Gerhardt Knodel, completing his M.F.A. degree in 1971. That same year while employed as manager of the Edison Institute’s Greenfield Village Carding Mill he was offered a summer teaching position at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. More job opportunities surfaced and he accepted the teaching position at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. There he began the Fiber and Textiles Program. In 1974 he joined the University of Kentucky Department of Art faculty. Sandoval was provided a large art studio and freedom to explore recycled materials for his fiber art expressions. He received a NEA Fellowship (1973) for his creative research in machine stitching and interlacing igniting a pursuit to create monumental mixed media fiber art in what traditionally are considered craft processes.

Sandoval’s background is both Hispanic and Native American (Tano). His ancestry (father: Lorenzo Sandoval, mother: Cecilia E. Archuleta) may provide clues to his interest in the fiber arts. He had been told by his mother that she wove 60 blankets while pregnant with him, but discovered at the age of 40, during a visit to his birthplace, that men on his paternal grandmother’s side have been weavers of colonial Spanish textiles for over two hundred fifty years; and they continue to weave functional craft objects in his native home state of New Mexico. What a revelation to this fiber artist who questioned why a spiritual voice told him in college ?weaving will be very important to you.? Was that voice an ancestor? Sandoval wove during that discovery some of the commissioned linens for his great uncle Alfredo Cordova in the quaint Cordova Weaving Shop in Truchas, New Mexico. There are other similarities to be found between colonial Spanish designs and Sandoval’s fiber art. The most striking are the use of symmetry in brilliant color, bold shapes, contrast and pattern. Symbolism is another design form employed by Sandoval. The Cordova weavers use traditional stylized forms to depict feathers and landscape whereas Sandoval combines complex patterned circles, flags, targets and planets. Sandoval creates a new aesthetic with his contemporary fiber art objects using 20th Century recycled industrial materials as computer tape, battery cable, microfilm, Mylar, Holographic film and Lurex. Whether using a floor loom, sewing machine, interlacing, or simply combining new age materials in collage or assemblage processes, Professor Sandoval pursues the cutting edge in his chosen art medium.

Sandoval’s professional activities include being an adjudicator, lecturer, curator of exhibitions, set designer, workshop facilitator, craft board member, and art advisor. His fiber art works have been exhibited extensively regionally, nationally and accepted by jury into international exhibitions including the 8th and 14th Biennial of Tapestry in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Textile Triennial in Lodz, Poland, and the International Textile Competition in Kyoto, Japan. His creative efforts have been awarded two NEA Visual Arts Fellowships (1973, 1992), several NEA supported Visiting Artist Grants, two Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Visual Arts Fellowship (1987, 2006) two Al Smith Professional Service Awards (1998, 2003), the Kentucky Craft Marketing Honorary Award, and the Kentucky Craft Marketing and Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, Inc. RUDE OSOLNIK Craftsman Award, and the 2003 Governor’s Award in the Arts Artist Award. His m/m fiber art works are in collections as the Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Museum of Art and Design, NY, Smithsonian Museum of American Art: Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana, the National Vietnam Veteran’s Museum, Chicago, IL, the Greenville County Museum of Art, S C, and The J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; several corporations as the Champion International Paper Co., Knightsbridge, OH and the Louisville Water Co. Louisville, KY; banks include Central Bank, Lexington, PNC and Bank One, Louisville; commissions include the U F & C W Union, Washington, DC, the KMSF, Lexington, and Lexington Public Central Library, KY, the GSA-AIA program, 6th District Courthouse, London, KY.

At the University of Kentucky Professor Sandoval continues his interest in teaching and his creative research. He continues to pursue the cutting edge in his field sharing them through solo and group exhibitions. He encourages his art students to work hard, develop discipline, take risks, to be self-motivated, in addition, to participate often in campus and professional arts related events for their personal growth. Some of his art students have become professionals in the fields of craft, design, education, and arts administration while continuing their art studio careers. 

Emeritus Professor


316 Art and Visual Studies Building