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Board of Directors

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Ted Wade Springer

Founder, Co-Director

When I first came out to the land, I thought I wanted a studio space and retreat space for myself as an artist. I grew up on a farm in Illinois where I always had freedom of space to make things, and use tools. The land became a place where I could explore in this way again. After a year or so, I realized that it was too special to keep to myself and wanted to share it with other artists. I also felt like I did not fit into the gallery environment like I thought I once did. I wasn't comfortable with the gallery environment, with showing artwork in traditional ways and venues. Something new for me in terms of art making, art showing, and art thinking had to surface, and the land became a place where I could explore these ideas. 


The art that is finding its way out to the land is somewhat special, in the sense that most of these pieces are personal to the artists and the creators. The people who made them have strong personal ties to those pieces. It is not really a piece that is for sale. It can be, but it is more often about art as an experience, being and doing.  And so the owners maintain ownership of the pieces. It is a place for them to store the artwork but also a viewing place for others to enjoy these pieces. The monetary factor is not really a focus, rather the honoring of the sculpture and its relationship to the artist who made it. 


The land becomes a space for this kind of thinking to happen. The landscape and topography allow for each sculpture to have a special place and its own breathing room. 

I have taken on a role of supporting artists install their work at the land, providing the right tools for the job. We walk the land together, and after listening carefully to their story, I make efforts to point them in directions that might offer them opportunities in relation to their work. I’m interested in who they are and what they do, so that they can find their strongest sense of themselves here.

I am here to create a platform for others to work and create in their own way, in their own time. Creating a safe, nurturing space that supports others, and facilitates their freedom to express themselves. Part of my personal aesthetic is actually creating a space for others to be themselves. 

The Land With No Name is fertilizer; we promote growth of the human individual spirit. We are not trying to make you smarter, better, more successful, not trying to get you a job or a credential. We are interested in you.

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Kate Long Hodges

Co-Founder, Co-Director

​I’ve been here on the land since the early stages and feel deeply inspired by Ted’s core vision: art as an experience, being and doing, as it relates to space and place. When artists come to the land to offer workshops and make their own connections with this place, we facilitate by offering a hand with whatever might be needed to run their programs, and listening to each person with appreciation as they find their own magic here.  

My personal vision is within that larger one, and that is building relationships with the nearby Tohono O’odham Nation. Since the beginning, the Tohono O’odham thrived on this land. Now, located as we are right between the TO Nation and downtown Tucson, we work with Native families as they create more from this land - art, shared stories, history, culture, and life. Our relationships have been allowed to grow slowly, and over many years. Many conversations over many miles driven, sitting and talking about life, and plants, and whatever comes to be.

We open our gates early–sometimes to three generations of family–for seasonal harvesting of Bear Grass and Yucca. We are all actively learning sustainable harvesting practices, so that future generations may continue to gather these grasses that are so vital to the intertwining of the ecosystem with O’odham basket weaving traditions. It feels very rewarding to sow seeds of connection with the diverse and beautiful cultures around us, with both the Tohono O’odham, Pascua Yaqui, other tribes, and all people. 

As an artist, I work to create installations, performance, and sculpture that speaks of a deep relationship with nature. Having grown up on a farm, there is still a sense of wonder for me when engaged outdoors. Art materials collected from the mountains of Arizona as well as Vermont find their way into sculptural clothing and site-specific performance. For example, Hawthorns from Vermont, and Agave thorns from Arizona are woven into art, sharing the symbiotic relationship of plants from different worlds, pointing out commonalities from drastically different environments. 

When working for Judy Pfaff as her assistant, she taught me to move the body with precision and care. She could stand on top of a tall step ladder (the illegal thing to do on a ladder) and not hurt herself, and in fact utilize these crazy high positions to achieve her goal of reaching out into space in order to tell a story and build the most beautiful sculptural installations. Finding inspiration in these experiences, I enjoy pushing myself both physically and emotionally through art making. 

The Land With No Name inspires us to explore and care for the desert and art as an act of celebration for all who walk here. We have a space as artists to explore our work in ways that give us freedom to be ourselves, experiment, and invent, for the sake of learning and responding to the world around us. This land is a special place to explore these possibilities. This is art as experience.

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Thomasa Rivas

Workshop Leader, Tohono O’odham clan of the Buzzard/Rising Stars and the Red Ants

My name is Thomasa Rivas. I am Tohono O’odham, I’m a mother to 4 daughters, a grandmother to 5, and a great grandmother to 2. I am from the southwest side of the reservation and reside in Tucson. I love that I can take time to leave the city and put my feet down at The Land With No Name. I enjoy the people I get to meet. I get to share a little bit about our land and the people, and acknowledge our ancestors that came before me.

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Calvin Clark

Board Member

“The Land With No Name has a gravitational pull that has brought me back from both Oregon and California. Watching artists invest themselves intensely in this desert landscape then celebrating with a community like none other, has spurred me to support TLWNNS in every way I can. Just as we sowed the seeds over the building of the concrete steps way back in the beginning, then trimmed the grasses years later; We will sow the financial seeds which will deeply root anchoring the programs and events that bring together creators, witnesses, and the land.” - Calvin Clark


Calvin was born in San Diego and raised in Tucson. He started digging holes when he was about four, just to see how deep he could go. He even enlisted his 5 siblings to help. Their parents got concerned when he and his siblings started using buckets to dig 6-foot-deep holes in the yard, so they put an end to it. Now he puts that energy into digging rainwater basins around his home on the west side. Calvin is a LEED certified designer who has been designing pipes, connections and systems for better, more efficient heating, cooling and water use in industrial buildings. He got his degrees in Systems Engineering and Studio Art from the University of Arizona. 

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Judy Pfaff

Board Member

Often cited as a pioneer of installation-art and contributor to the Pattern and Decoration Movement (P&D), Judy Pfaff has created work that spans disciplines from painting to printmaking and sculpture to installation. Born in London in 1946, Pfaff received a BFA from Washington University Saint Louis (1971) and an MFA from Yale University (1973) where she studied with Al Held. She exhibited work in the Whitney Biennials of 1975, 1981, and 1987, and represented the United States in the 1998 Sao Paulo Bienal. Her pieces reside in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney Museum of Art, Tate Gallery, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Detroit Institute of Arts, among others. She is currently represented by the Miles McEnery and Accola Griefen galleries in New York and has been previously represented by Holly Solomon, Carl Solway and Susanne Hilberry. She is the recipient of many awards including the Lifetime
Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center (2014), the MacArthur Foundation Award (2004), and the Guggenheim Fellowship (1983). Pfaff lives and works in Tivoli, New York.

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Ellen McMahon

Board Member

Ellen McMahon is a Professor in the School of Art and Associate Dean for Research in the Arts in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Arizona. She has an MS in Scientific Illustration from The University of Arizona and an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Art. 


In 2005, after more than a decade of creating work about domestic life, McMahon expanded the focus of her visual art, design, and writing from her experience of motherhood to the wider issues of the natural world. In 2007, she received a Fulbright Scholar’s Grant for a six-month stay in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, where she worked on several conservation and environmental education projects with the Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans. In 2010, she initiated and served as project director and co-editor of an interdisciplinary collaborative faculty/student research project addressing the fragile aqueous ecology of the Southwestern U.S. This project culminated in the book Ground|Water: The Art, Design and Science of a Dry River (Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, 2012).

McMahon’s motherhood work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions: “Redressing the Mother” at A.I.R. Gallery in New York; “Maternal Matter” at Cal State San Marcos; and “Ellen McMahon: Artists Books and Printed Works” at the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England in Bristol, U.K.

Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including “One Minute Film Festival 2003—2012” at MASS MoCA in 2013. Her artist books are held in collections at UCLA, Scripps College, Occidental College, Texas Tech University, the Center for Creative Photography, and the New York and Boston Public Libraries.

Publications containing her visual work include Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design (MIT Press, 2002), Feminist Art and the Maternal (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), and The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art (Demeter Press, 2010). Autobiographical essays are published in Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood (Seven Stories Press, 2002), The Oldest We’ve Ever Been: Seven True Stories of Midlife Transitions (University of Arizona Press, 2008), and The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art.

The conceptual underpinnings of McMahon’s work—the paradoxical and complicated relationship between lived experience and cultural constructions and expectations­—have remained constant throughout her career regardless of subject matter or medium.

"I’ve been taking graduate and undergraduate students out to the Land with No Name Sanctuary for several years for the sculpture hike/tour, cookout, and sunset over the mountains. Many students that I introduced to the project have gone on to create work inspired by the visit, often funded by the College of Fine Arts Medici grants. 


It’s wonderful to see the sculptural works artfully placed along the desert trail in the setting of majestic rolling hills. Students are captivated by the detailed stories Kate and Ted tell about each artist and how the artwork came to be at the site. But most importantly they hear, see and experience how Ted and Kate made their own “art world” by combining their love of the desert and their extraordinary creative vision.

Students tell me years later how much they were inspired by the experience. I am continually impressed by the generosity and care that Ted and Kate bring to every encounter.

This non-profit, 45-acre, desert sculpture park began when School of Art alumni Ted Springer and Kate Hodges purchased land and in addition to working with local artists, offered to house sculptures by  MFA students, which were too large to take with them when they moved. Now they have over 60 works by artists from all over the country. With a high level of passion and creativity Ted and Kate have created a place and a means to live their artistic and environmental values. This is an inspiration for students to experience first hand as they think about how to manifest their future creative dream jobs."  – Ellen McMahon, 2022

Ted, Director
Kate, Director
Thomasa, director
Calvin, director
Judy Pfaff director
Ellen director
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