METALSMITH | ARTIST | EDUCATOR
Samonte Cruz is a mixed-gender, mixed-race, Filipino artist currently living on unceded Sinixt Territory (Nelson, BC). Born the youngest child of a Filipino immigrant and Virginian farm girl, Samonte spent the first six years of their life living in a racially charged, southern US, before relocating to a small town just outside of Seattle, Washington. Even from a young age, Samonte was drawn to the creative arts; spending any spare moment singing, drawing, writing, or making crafts.
In 2003, Samonte graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts from Western Washington University. Samonte’s interdisciplinary degree combined music, audio engineering, psychology and minority studies; exploring the importance of creative expression as a tool for survival and resistance, particularly for members of marginalized communities. This laid the foundation for Samonte to continue their creative work as a community educator & organizer through organizations in the Greater Vancouver Area like VIVO Media Arts Centre, Access to Media Education Society, and the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance, at the Kalayaan Centre. In 2006, Samonte was hired as the permanent coordinator for Simon Fraser University’s LGBTQ+ Centre, where they served the queer and trans/gender non-conforming community for nearly a decade.
After a serious spinal injury in 2010, Samonte’s abilities suddenly and drastically changed. In response to living with chronic pain, Samonte began to seek out more accommodating opportunities for creative expression, and in 2015, enrolled in the Kootenay Studio Arts Jewelry program where a culture of adaptation and innovation allowed Samonte to develop as a metalsmith despite physical limitations.
Samonte is currently offering custom one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories, while working towards the launch of their own online shop. Samonte is also excited to be teaching community education courses in the jewelry studio at Kootenay Studio Arts, Selkirk College. In July 2018, Samonte was hired as an apprentice to master goldsmith Paul Durkin, co-owner of Lauener Brother Jewellery, in Trail, BC. Last but not least, Samonte is absolutely thrilled to be the project coordinator for Bent On Art: Kootenay Queer & Trans Art Festival.