In hopes of attracting supporters for its proposed new space, the Make Santa Fe art collective’s exhibition this weekend, “MADE IN SANTA FE,” showcases what its members create in a shared workroom.
Make Santa Fe, a nonprofit that provides a place where artists can reserve time to use large equipment and tools like laser cutters, 3-D printers, high-powered woodworking saws and welding equipment, is currently housed in an approximately 6,000-square-foot building on All Trades Road, off Siler Road.
But in the future, the planned Siler Yard Arts and Creativity Center – a project that is still under development that announced in 2015 that it will include 60 to 70 low-income housing units for artists and a large “shared resource center” – expects to have Make Santa Fe and its space-sharing idea as an “anchor tenant.”
“It’s mostly about bringing awareness and new stakeholders into the fold on the project,” said Zane Fischer, coordinator at Make Santa Fe, about Saturday evening’s event.
He’s co-curating “MADE IN SANTA FE” with Cyndi Conn, executive director of Creative Santa Fe – one of the partners in the Siler Yard project – that will be held at nearby OffRoad Productions.
The show will include Make members and employees, and photographer Kate Russell, who has spent about a year photographing the Siler area, home to a burgeoning arts scene.
Fischer said he wanted to show a diverse range of what creators are able to do with the tools available in a shared space and hopes the show will demonstrate what future renters of the apartments in the Arts and Creativity Center will be able to use.
Abstract painter Anaid Garcia will be debuting new kinds of work with the materials she’s able to experiment with as a member of the Make Santa Fe collective.
After becoming certified on the laser cutter, she began designing on wood and metal. Extending the “energy” that’s been a theme in her paintings, one piece she’ll be showing is a design lasered onto wood using a silhouette modeled from her own body and with designs over the body’s various energy points.
“It’s just another way to play with your imagination,” said Garcia of having access to new media. Other artists will be showing Chinese-style paper-cutting, laser-cut jewelry and woodworking.
At the planned housing project on city-owned property on Siler Road, Make Santa Fe would still offer memberships and use of its space would be free to those who live there, according to Daniel Werwath, chief operating officer for New Mexico Interfaith Housing and development leader of the Arts and Creativity Center.
He and his partners proposed the project to help curb what he calls Santa Fe’s “full-on rental housing crisis,” with vacancy rates currently close to just 3 percent, while providing apartments with built-in studio space and the workshop building to support the residents’ economic development and encourage collaboration.
The goal is to have a $1.5 million, 10,000-square-foot shared resource center that Make Santa Fe would move into. It needs to be funded by a capital campaign separate from the $13.5 million housing component of the Arts and Creativity Center.
Conn said the development team will spend the next six to nine months creating final designs, getting official cost estimates, and then seeking donors and grants for the workspace.
As for the apartments, Werwath said the team is preparing – for the second time – to submit an application for the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credits Program later this year, which he said would cover about $8 million of the project planned on a city-donated Siler Road site.
It did not score enough points last year to be awarded the subsidy, but almost qualified.
Siler Yard lost points on one section called “efficient use of tax credits,” he said, which is based on how expensive the development location is in comparison to other areas in the state and how much subsidy it needs. To improve this score, the team has applied for about $500,000 worth of grants, is seeking private donors and is looking for areas to cut costs so less assistance is needed.
They will find out in May if they receive the tax credits award and, from there, the Siler Yard housing could potentially break ground in early 2019, he said.
The funding available for the resource center at that point will determine if the two will be built at the same time, said Conn.
“This is such an unconventional project … and since we were so close to scoring last year, it makes me pretty confident this year around,” Werwath said.
Other main artists participating in “MADE IN SANTA FE” include Sally Blakemore, Randy Castillo, Courtney Leonard, Mike Thompson and Andrew Woodard.