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Children’s Art Groups Merging

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ARTsmart and Fine Arts for Children and Teens will merge into a single organization called ArtFACT, the groups announced Monday.

ARTsmart organizes the annual ARTfeast fundraiser for art education in the Santa Fe Public Schools, while FACT provides after-school art programming.

The two nonprofits decided to join forces after FACT’s executive director Julia Bergen announced her resignation after 10 years of leadership, ARTsmart board president Mary Bonney said.

“At that point, it made me think this might be an opportunity,” she explained.

FACT has suffered a decline in both state and federal funding due to the recession, she said. ARTsmart relies more on fundraisers and private donations. Approximately 3,000 youngsters participate in FACT’s program annually.

FACT serves children and youth in northern New Mexico from ages 5 through 21.

“We have two nonprofit organizations that complement each other nicely,” FACT board president Shawn Katz said.

“They were a major donor for FACT,” he said of ARTsmart. “FACT has a proven art education model that reaches under-served areas of New Mexico.

“I don’t think we were in any decline” financially, Katz added. But “clearly, things have retracted back throughout the recession.”

The merger gives FACT a permanent fundraiser, he said.

During the merger talks, a FACT board member volunteered to underwrite an ARTsmart event, Bonney said.

The public can expect continued and better programming, thanks to the joint effort, she continued.

ARTsmart teaches painting in the schools. The students’ artwork is transferred to plates, then auctioned off in an annual fundraiser in February. The organization has donated about $1 million to the schools since 1993.

The joint nonprofit will be centered in FACT’s 1516 Pacheco St. headquarters, which is being donated to the new organization. ArtFACT’s long-term goal is to expand its outreach beyond Santa Fe, Bonney said.

The united nonprofit announced a national search for both an executive director and a development director. The merger is slated for a mid-2013 completion.

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