Creativity Investments

Advancing A Platform for International Recognition of Santa Fe

Through its membership in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), the City of Santa Fe commits to supporting and growing its essential creative and cultural elements. The Creative Cities program provides a platform for the City to be a leader among global cities. At the same time, the City strengthens and develops the economic engine of its creative and artistic community with planning and critical infrastructure. 

Major Local Initiatives Generate a Foundation for Creativity

The City first establishes the foundation for creativity with thoughtful planning and immersive engagement with the public. The most recent “Culture Connects:  Santa Fe” plan explored every facet of the community’s culture, and numerous strategies and ideas were developed for shaping the future.

Affordable housing is a critical infrastructure need for artists, and eight years of planning and development led to the 2021 construction of the Siler Yard Arts + Creativity Center. This new hub for creativity is projected to provide live/work space for 130 artists at affordable rates.

Youth exchange programs and collaboration with other Creative Cities continue to generate excitement and connection to ensure a vital, local creativity community.

Siler Yard Arts + Creativity Center

Siler Yard entry view of apartments

ArtWorks teaching artist Gregory Gutin

Tibetan Thangka painter

Glass blowing lesson

COVID-19 Creates Challenges and Innovation

With the pandemic causing a great loss of income for artists, the community came together through the leadership of the Santa Fe Arts and Culture Department to support local artists. Financial, employment and professional development initiatives sustained artists. Santa Fe’s major markets innovated to develop virtual approaches, including a virtual reality program for Indian Market, capacity building for artist websites, and new fundraising strategies for International Folk Art Market artists.

Building Creative Community Across the Globe and at Home

Santa Fe understands the importance of supporting creativity to its economic and cultural prosperity. By dedicating significant resources and planning for the long-term, the City invests in its community and grows a thriving creative center.

Santa Fe has been recognized not only internationally but also in the United States for its support of arts and creativity.  In 2020, it was named the most creative small city in America by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), based on their Creative Vitality™ Index ranking of cities with populations under 500,000. Southern Methodist University DataArts (SMU DataArts) also found that Santa Fe was first in United States Medium Cities (population 100,000 to 1 million) in its sixth annual Arts Vibrancy Index (September 2020).

UNESCO Certificate

Sun Mountain Hiking