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Vital Spaces

Santa Fe, NM

MISSION
Vital Spaces is a Santa Fe-based 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to sustain and enhance Santa Fe's cultural vibrancy by creating affordable spaces for artists working in all media to create, present, connect, and teach. Our focus is on fostering a collaborative creative community and supporting people, ideas, and art forms that are underrepresented in Santa Fe's commercial art scene.

 

IN SERVICE OF ARTISTS & THE ARTS
We aim to support BIPOC artists, a population whose work has historically been underrepresented in contemporary art spaces in Santa Fe, as well as artists of all backgrounds whose socioeconomic status makes it difficult to maintain an artistic practice here. Beyond this focus, we wish to be inclusive of artists of all ages, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, and countries of origin.

Our vision is a city in which people of all backgrounds have access to space for creating and showing their work. We operate on the principles of inclusion, equity, openness, and community engagement.

As much as we want to promote diverse individuals, we also want to support diverse forms of artistic expression and thought including but not limited to performance, installation art, mixed media, the literary arts, and music. We hope to provide spaces where artists can push boundaries without having to focus on the marketability of their work. 

By providing affordable space, we aim to provide a venue for artists who might not otherwise know one another to come together in community and collaboration. We work to share this collaborative energy with the broader Santa Fe public through discussions, workshops, performance, and interactive art projects.

 

WHY SANTA FE?
We see the lack of affordable space in Santa Fe as the biggest threat the city faces in sustaining a vibrant cultural environment. We believe that affordable studio space and equitable access to exhibition opportunities are critical to the health and diversity of Santa Fe’s creative culture.

Vital Spaces is a city vitality organization as much as it is an arts organization. The arts are Santa Fe’s second largest industry. We believe that a successful and relevant arts community that exists outside of commercial galleries is essential to the long term vibrancy of the city of Santa Fe.

Our impact is multidimensional: when we give artists space, we breathe life into our communities with innovative artistic programming that inspires Santa Feans of all ages and backgrounds; we bring economic vitality to the creative community; and we raise Santa Fe’s profile on the national art stage.

Santa Fe’s artistic history is rich and deep. It is also threatened by rising property costs and other socioeconomic factors that might suppress artistic growth by limiting access to resources and opportunities. We want to address that threat by providing affordable spaces to artists.

 

OUR MODEL
While the market prices in Santa Fe will almost certainly always be too high for many artists to afford, we take advantage of the downtime in buildings destined for other projects by rotating through unused spaces. We seek out temporary vacancies—buildings awaiting long-term tenants, building awaiting redevelopment, and buildings that are actively for lease but expect to remain on the market for some time—and turn them into studios and public venues for exhibitions, performance, events, and workshops.

The benefits for property owners are clear:

Vital Spaces manages the buildings while we use them, leaving them in better condition than we found them.

We provide eyes on the ground throughout vacancies, protecting the space and alerting the owner to any leaks or other problems.

By covering utilities and insurance while using the space, Vital Spaces saves owners money.

We bring vitality and public programming to diverse neighborhoods across Santa Fe.

We bring positive attention to the spaces we occupy and to their owners.

We have a track-record of successful building activations working with the following property owners in Santa Fe