Santa Fe nonprofit Vital Spaces Citywide Exhibition announced this week that it will host an ongoing citywide exhibition in public spaces—and—online featuring nearly 30 local visual and movement artists.

In a nutshell, the organization temporarily rents otherwise empty buildings around town and sublets space within them to artists at an affordable rate. It has three locations in downtown, Midtown and on the Southside.

Opening Friday, July 2 and dubbed Intersections, the new project can be found at numerous parks such as Fort Marcy Recreation Center, Franklin E. Miles Park, Salvador Perez Park and Ragle Park, as well as at Vital Spaces’ downtown and Midtown locations.

All told, according to Co-Director Hannah Yohalem, large scale posters featuring artwork and text can be found at 11 spots across Santa Fe, and a new website commissioned by Vital Spaces not only contains all the artworks plus fairly detailed artist information, visitors can find other visual pieces plus four total movement and dance videos slated to release throughout the summer.

“It’s 97 works of art,” Yohalem tells SFR. “It’s as much what the artists want to show as what we want to show, which was part of what made this format really fun—it’s sort of anti-curated and, on the website, you can play around, so we want people to get super-involved and click through and play with it.”

Intersections was spearheaded alongside Warehouse 21 (which still exists within Vital Spaces) and Indigenous and Indo-hispano artist collective Maida. The project is funded by the city’s Digital Collaborative Impact grant at $30,000, and all artists received stipends or licensing fees.

The idea behind the grant is to foster new media and/or digital works that could possibly help the city’s artistic branding. Think of it like marketing dollars, only artists reap the benefits.

“Who else would do it better than Vital Spaces?” queries participating artist Andrea Vargas, whose piece “Si Se Puede” can be found at the top of this story. “During the pandemic, they didn’t stop working, they made the networks. I feel like that team has been so proactive this whole time, and now it’s appropriate to say we’re ready. Everybody needs this.”

Like many other Intersection artists, Vargas’ work was chosen by Vital Spaces for its beauty and message.

“It comes from this photograph from 1972 that I found in my dad’s office,” Vargas says. “When I asked him about it, he said it was from a time when he was a conscientious objector during Vietnam and he’d started the first mental health facility for Mexican-Americans in California.”

Vargas recently took over a spot within Vital Spaces’ downtown location on Otero Street after a three-year stint on the waitlist and says she couldn’t be happier—a familiar refrain from creators who wind up with affordable studios in an otherwise challenging city. As for Intersections, Yohalem says: “We want it to become more rooted in community—to have live elements in the future, too.” Seeing as the project idea was born during the pandemic as a way for artists to collaborate and show without forming or catering to large groups, that goal seems particularly worthwhile as we head toward the end of New Mexico’s COVID-19 restrictions on July 1.

A donations site for artists can be found here, and folks can even kick a few bucks right from their phones by texting “AritstTips” to 44-321.

Oh, and by the way, you should see the list of participating artists. It’s out of control amazing.

Actually, know what? Here it is:

Alberto Zalma

Alejandra Avila

Amelia Bauer

Andrea Vargas

Anjamora Ishi Sato

Ariana Salazar

Arista Slater-Sandoval

Artemisio Romero y Carver

Brandon Adriano Ortiz

Camilla Trujillo

Carolyn Mae Lassiter

Diego Medina

Ditch the Box Studios

Enrique Figueredo

Gino Antonio

Ian Kuali’i

Ileana Alarcon

Johnny Ortiz

Josh Tafoya

Lara Manzanares

Layli Long Soldier

Linda Lomahaftewa

Macy Loy

Morgan Barnard

Nikesha Breeze

Reena Saini Kallat

Tigre Bailando

Tintawi Kaigziabiher

Tony Abeyta

Thank you Santa Fe Reporter and Alex De Vore for more information on VITAL SPACES Citywide Exhibition, please CLICK HERE

June 30th till August 15