Coming in 2020!  EKCO has invited 100 prominent women in New Mexico to write 25-100 words on "women and power." Their words will be collaged, combined and layered, by the EKCO team, to create a dynamic piece of literary performance. The performance will be presented at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Fall 2020 and short audio and video segments will be shared online through public access channels and through social media throughout the summer of 2020.  



Each year EKCO engages a group of poets in the co-creation of innovative poetry performances about issues of urgency to women. EKCO embraces creative collaboration in order to energize the role of poetry in contemporary life. 


Founded by Valerie Martinez in 2009 and co-coordinated by Shelle Van Etten de Sanchez since 2012, EKCO continues to draw large and diverse audiences to the reading/ performance of poetry in long form.

EKCO performances are unusual—part poetry reading, part theater, part spoken word performance—and include the voices of many who are involved in an unusual collaborative writing process.


See below for descriptions of EKCO performances since 2009.

Since 2009 the following funders and supporters have made EKCO possible: Artful Life, the City of Albuquerque, the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, McCune Charitable Foundation, 516 Arts, Instituto Cervantes, National Hispanic Cultural Center, New Mexico Arts (a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs), NM Strategic Leadership Institute, Rivers Run Through Us, SCA Contemporary Art, Tricklock Performance Lab, Womyn’s Work/Apronistas, Elsa Menendez, the Women's International Study Center (WISC), Maple Street Dance, and a range of individual donors.

EKCO 2009 - present

2020 (see above), Women and Power, Valerie Martinez, Shelle Sanchez, Tanesia Hale-Jones, Michelle Otero and Elsa Menendez, using the words of 100 New Mexico women leaders and change-makers. June-September 2020.


2018, Culture/Shift, Valerie Martinez, Maiyah King, Michelle Otero, Monica Sanchez perform for the opening ceremony of the US Department of Arts and Culture national convening of artists, organizers, and to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging. November, 2018.


2017 & 2018, "Women on War," Valerie Martinez, Shelle Sanchez, Tanesia Hale-Jones, Caroline LeBlanc--a spoken word/poetry performances based on interviews with military women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tricklock Theater Lab, March 2017, Museum of the American Military Family August 2018. 


2016, "No One Told Us," Valerie Martinez, Tanesia Hale-Jones, Michelle Otero and Shelle Sanchez in collaboration with Romy Keegan (Maple Street Dance Space), Lisa Nevada (SHIFT Dance), Jacqueline Garcia (Jacqueline Garcia Dance Company) and Pilar Leto, performed with dancers Mercedes "Ana" Arechiga Gonzalez, Sonia Bologa, Nicole Corpion,Kaitlin Innis and Romy Keegan (dancers). Choreography: Jacqueline Garcia, Romy Keegan, Pilar Leto and Lisa Nevada. 

2015, "Anyway, We Live," Valerie Martínez, Michelle Otero, Shelle Sánchez, in response to 22 "containers" (bags, bottles, boxes, books--metal, ceramic, fabric, wood, glass and more) and their stories submitted by community members.  Women and Creatity Month, Edible Santa Fe/Albuquerque/Taos.


Listen to a KUNM radio feature 
on EKCO "Women on War"

2014, “Language is a Sequence of Whisks and Spoons,” Valerie Martínez, Serafina Martinez-Ridgley, Sawnie Morris, Shelle Sánchez, in response to the Apron Project, by the Womyn’s Work arts collaborative, an exhibition of hand-crafted (and re-worked) aprons. Women and Creativity Month.


2013, “Once Upon a Time There Was Water,” Valerie Martínez, Jasmine Cuffee, Jamie Figueroa, Shelle Sánchez, a performance on the endangered Santa Fe River for the Rivers Run Through Us project as well as the National Hispanic Cultural Center for Women & Creativity Month.

2012, “And I Find Her,” Valerie Martínez, Lauren Camp, Jasmine Cuffee, Shelle Sanchez,  in response to personal objects  and works of art by Camp, Becky Holtzman, Stephanie Lerma, Maria Moya, Carol Sanchez and Jennifer Zona. Performed for the Tricklock Revolution International Theatre Festival and for Women & Creativity Month.


2011,  “En este lugar secreto/In this secret place,” Valerie Martínez, Lauren Camp, Jamie Figueroa, Shelle Sánchez, a response to the Mujeres y Mujeres exhibition sponsored by the Instituto Cervantes featuring Spanish photographers Isabel Muñoz, Ouka Leele, Soledad Cordoba, Gabriela Grech and Beatriz Moreno. Women and Creativity Month.


2010, “What Will You Remember,” Valerie Martínez, Lauren Camp, Jasmine Cuffee, Jamie Figueroa, in response to “Form & Function” at 516 Arts, a group exhibition featuring the work of artists and designers who explored sustainability, reuse, decoration, and innovation.  Women and Creativity Month.


2009, “Capitalism, Fueled by Envy and Greed,” Valerie Martínez, Jasmine Cuffee & Maureen Seaton, installation and paintings (with the same title) by sheri crider. Women and Creativity Month.


Questions and comments? Please contact us.