Creating Tangible Pathways and Raising Awareness
Through our Design Collaboration program, we bring the efficacy of design to clarify purpose, raise awareness, and rally public support to advance social initiatives. We see our clients as partners in creating positive change in our community. We partner with other nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, social impact businesses, and changemakers dedicated to strengthening the economy, improving community wellbeing, and building capacity in Santa Fe and throughout New Mexico.
St. John’s College
Cultivating a Culture of Thought
Amplifying Voices in “the Great Conversation”
With its devotion to great books, Socratic dialogue, and affordable tuition* for all, St. John’s College is a rare holdout against troubling trends in American higher education. In 2022, Creative Santa Fe entered into a collaboration with the college to collect and showcase its contributions to “the great conversation” — a 3,000-year exchange between writers, philosophers, poets, musicians, mathematicians, scientists, and scholars that continues to this day.
Students and faculty at St. John’s gather around wooden tables to ask and answer difficult questions. The subject of their conversations are some 200 original works by authors like Plato, Einstein, Wittgenstein, and Woolf — brilliant thinkers whose ideas have shaped our civilization. As they engage with these timeless texts, the students and faculty of St. John’s have been making their own meaningful contributions to the world of ideas, which are sometimes overlooked under the long shadow cast by the iconic works in the college’s curriculum.
CrSF is working to raise the visibility and accessibility of books authored by St. John’s alumni and faculty. Our contribution is to design and build a virtual platform, “Books by Johnnies,” which we will turn over to college administrators for ongoing curation. The finished platform will exist as a micro-site nested within the main college website at sjc.edu., and will contain an embedded submission form accessible to all St. John’s alumni and faculty. Viewers will experience the platform as a living, virtual library, where they can encounter books like Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and the Iliad (Eva Brann, professor & National Humanities Scholar), Do You Know Who You Are? Reading the Buddha’s Discourses (Krishnan Venkatesh, faculty), The End: A Novel (Salvatore Scibona, alum & National Book Award nominee), among many more.
CrSF is proud to be collaborating with St. John’s, which shares our values of diversity and inclusivity. International students comprise a significant ~20% of currently enrolled “Johnnies,” bringing a diversity of perspectives from the 25 countries they represent. In 2018, the college slashed its Ivy- level tuition by $17,000, making it now one of the most affordable private liberal arts colleges in the US.
As more and more students from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds gain access to the school’s unique curriculum and culture, we’re confident they will bring valuable voices to the great conversation.
Santa Fe Public Library
Thriving in the 21st Century
Connecting Santa Feans to resources for lifelong learning
Creative Santa Fe is embarking on a shared initiative with the Santa Fe Public Library to raise the visibility of its rich and varied community resources, and to strengthen its well-deserved reputation as a center for community enrichment.
So much more than quiet vaults or archives for media, today’s libraries are among the last civic spaces that truly serve everyone — homeless teens, homeschoolers, seniors, job-seekers, teachers, artists, entrepreneurs, tourists, and many more. In Santa Fe, a little under half of the county’s 150,000 residents currently hold library cards.
But even library patrons are unaware of the depth and breadth of resources the library offers: An entrepreneur rents a downtown space for an important conference, unaware that they can freely reserve an expansive library meeting room through the santafelibrary.org website. A traveler purchases a pricey Spanish course, unaware that the library offers online and app-based language learning systems for more than 70 languages. A senior goes to a big box store to buy a computer, unaware that the library rents out laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots, and that librarians teach one-on-one technology tutoring sessions.
Through its growing digital and in-person offerings, the Santa Fe Library is keeping pace with the 21st century, as it empowers members of our community to thrive throughout their lives. We at CrSF aim to increase public engagement with these offerings, starting with a communications campaign to raise awareness.
In 2022, CrSF is co-sponsoring a countywide 7-week reading festival – Santa Fe Reads – to foster community building through the joy of reading. We are designing the festival’s promotional materials around this year’s theme of Indigenous cultural reclamation, in collaboration with more than 30 of the library’s community partners, from The Food Depot to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. We hope that this annual event will become a super-connector for Santa Fe citizens and the organizations that serve them – centered, of course, at the Santa Fe Public Library.
At a time when libraries around the nation face de-funding, censorship, and even threats of violence, our work could not be more important. We must bring the community together to support the institution that connects and enriches us all.
Siler Yard: Arts + Creativity Center
Transforming How We House
A housing solution for creative Santa Feans
The lights are on in the Siler Yard: Arts + Creativity Center, bringing hope to makers, artists, and creative entrepreneurs who are being priced out of the rental housing market. We believe Santa Fe’s creative class is central to its identity as an arts destination, and we’re proud to have catalyzed the state’s first net-zero,* multi-family affordable housing development for City Different creatives.
The project began in 2012, when rents in Santa Fe had increased 25% since 2000, but renters’ incomes remained stagnant over the same period of time. Working class Santa Feans were feeling the squeeze. Among them were the jewelers, sculptors, visual artists, performers, media artists, and craftspeople whose work has contributed to Santa Fe’s economic vitality and reputation. Creative Santa Fe reached out to more than 35 creatives from multiple disciplines, inviting them to brainstorm ideas for an affordable live-work community. We then partnered with Artspace, a national nonprofit specializing in art spaces and live-work housing, to research the Santa Fe market, and eventually identify the city-owned land on Siler Road as a promising location for the community. Our talented developer Daniel Werwath, with the nonprofit New Mexico Inter-Faith Housing, joined in 2013, shepherding the project through repeated applications for federal tax credits and helping to secure a prestigious “Our Town” planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2016, after many conversations, the city generously donated the five-acre plot of land off Siler Road. Atkin Olshin Schade Architects (AOS), da Silva Architecture, and Surrounding Studio created the award-winning design for the community, and Pavilion Construction of Albuquerque broke ground in 2020. Now fully occupied, the Siler Arts + Creativity Center houses 144 residents in its 65 units. The community is working with the neighboring makerspace (MAKE Santa Fe) to provide residents with tools, technology, and workshops to expand their creative pursuits.