We Have Come a Long Way

Our History

Creative Santa Fe (CrSF) was founded in 2005, after the City of Santa Fe commissioned an economic development plan by Angelou Economics, which recommended a strong strategic focus on Santa Fe’s “creative industries.” A subsequent study by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research confirmed the importance of these industries to Santa Fe’s economy—a $1.1 billion-a-year business, which is second only to government in the number of employees in this capital city. The Atlantic magazine recently recognized Santa Fe as the “Most Artistic City in America,” based on the concentration of artists, architects, and writers relative to the city’s general population.

CrSF has advanced the region’s awareness of the critical impact of the arts, culture, and creative industries in city, regional, and state economic development strategies. We played a key role in obtaining the UNESCO Creative Cities designation for the City of Santa Fe. CrSF members were instrumental in influencing the city’s decision to purchase the former College of Santa Fe campus to maintain a four-year university in Santa Fe as a foundation for its creative industries.

While initial funding was provided by the City of Santa Fe, Creative Santa Fe now operates as an independent 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.

Past Initiatives

Create the Vote was a collaboration of arts, cultural, and creative organizations and businesses working together to raise the issues of arts, culture, and creativity among candidates running for political office in Santa Fe.

Walkability was a month long city prototyping project demonstrating simple, affordable, and practical solutions to increase walkability in Santa Fe. The goal of WALK [Santa Fe] was for Santa Fe residents, business owners, and visitors to experience the impact that clear signage and designated pathways can make for a more vibrant and connected downtown, and begin a discussion with city leaders to consider new wayfinding solutions for downtown Santa Fe.



June 2016

We celebrated our 4th annual new-media and interactive light festival, FANTASE FEST, in downtown Santa Fe.

May 2016

In partnership with the Santa Fe Arts Commission, and New Mexico Arts, CrSF hosted a public lecture and discussion with Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts.

April 2016

City Council approves donation of 5 acres on Siler Road for the Arts + Creativity Center.

February 2016

Jason Schupbach, Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), came to Santa Fe to discuss how the $150,000 NEA matching Our Town grant can further Santa Fe's economic and community development.


April 2015

Cross Gen 2.0 utilized conversations and collisions across all generations to pinpoint opportunities for how our community can attract and retain young and vibrant talent. Conversation Starters included: Andrea Romero, Adam Shaening-Pokrasso, Nicolai Archuleta, Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, Michael S. Delello, Zackary Quintero, Joanne Lefrak, and Seth Bidderman.

April 2015

Startup Santa Fe is awarded $45,000 grant to launch startupsantafe.org.

March 2015

Santa Fe Arts + Creativity Center receives a passed resolution with the City of Santa Fe moving the project into the Site Analysis phase.


December 2014

Creative Santa Fe brings Mayor Javier Gonzales, Board, Staff, and friends to Las Vegas to explore the Downtown Project.

October 2014

Creative Santa Fe is awarded the 2014 Piñon Award for Courageous Innovation.

October 2014

Partnered with Western Horizons to present the summit “Gen Y: Leveraging the Private Sector.”Speakers: Mayor Javier Gonzales; Shawn Patrick (Founder Institute); Dan Burrell (Burrell Medical School); Todd Clarke (Urban Specialist).

September 2014

In partnership with the Santa Fe Institute and St. John’s College, Creative Santa Fe hosted Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and founder of Las Vegas, NV’s Downtown Project.

August 2014

Partnered with 12FPS and City of Santa Fe on the social media campaign #howtosantafe.

July 2014

Partnered in Night Wave: a three-night event supporting healthy, safe, and vibrant nightlife in downtown Santa Fe.

July 2014

Partnered with Santa Fe Forward to co-host the Growing Santa Fe Young panel discussion featuring Mayor Javier Gonzles, George R.R. Martin, Shannon Murphy, Daniel Werwath, and Zane Fisher.

May 2014

Partnered with the Metropolitan Planning Organization to bring Dan Burden and Robert Ping of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute for two days of targeted presentations and site analysis.

May 2014

Annual FANTASE Dome Fest in DeVargas Park brought music, light, art, food, and 4 geodesic domes to downtown Santa Fe. Thousands of participants enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere and 83% of the budget went directly back to artists and creative people.

February 2014

Create the Vote rallied together over 35 organizations together to educate Santa Fe’s running political leaders in the 2014 election about the importance of arts and culture.

January 2014

Artspace Survey Results are announced and a city resolution was passed, moving the Santa Fe Arts + Creativity Center into the next phase.


October 2013

Walk [Santa Fe] project launches as the largest Walk [Your City] project in the world with temporary signs, maps, and a painted path connecting the Railyard Plaza to the Downtown Plaza.

August 2013

Walkable City author and city planner, Jeff Speck visited and spoke in Santa Fe to an audience of over 350 people, while providing an informative and proactive workshop with city leaders and staff.

June 2013

The first annual FANTASE Fest celebrated the reopening of DeVargas Park and Skatepark with over 2,000 attendees and 100+ community partners.

May 2013

Annual Community Youth Mapping Workshop with San Antonio’s Riverwalk expert: Sherry Wagoner.

March 2013

Completed Community Needs and Use Assessment for Affordable Art Spaces in Santa Fe working with partner organizations City of Santa Fe, SFUAD, NEA, and Artspace..


October 2012

Sherry Kafka Wagner, leader in the field of urban design and the development of public places, presented a workshop and a talk on “The Long View,” exploring ways to sustain community support for transformative urban projects over the extended periods—sometimes decades—necessary to their realization.

October 2012

Partnered with Santa Fe Railyard Corporation to present a workshop titled "Plaza-to-Plaza" by Susan S. Szenasy, longtime editor of Metropolis Magazine.

October 2012

Partnered with Santa Fe Arts Commission to sponsor Santa Fe regional town hall on the arts with NM Veronica Gonzales.

September 2012

Brought internationally-renowned artist and activist Candy Chang to the City Different as keynoter for Santa Fe’s RE: MIKE event. As an immediate outcome, Creative Santa Fe won inclusion of Santa Fe in the international Neighborland project, which uses the Internet to gather community input for neighborhood improvement.

September 2012

Collaborated on the RE:MIKE project, a partnership led by the City of Santa Fe Economic Development Department and MIX Santa Fe with citywide participants to reimagine the St. Michael’s corridor as the center of a vibrant and innovative creative community.

August 2012

Robert Hammond: The Highline visited Santa Fe to discuss how public private partnerships are helping align public and private needs to move vital projects forward.

August 2012

Continued “Santa Fe | Ground Up” dialogue with NEA Director of Design Jason Schupbach. Following a morning workshop on art and creativity spaces, Schupbach addressed the Santa Fe community on the topic of “Creative Placemaking: Santa Fe and the Nation.”

July 2012

Brought Walter J. Hood, Jr. award-winning designer and professor at the University of California Berkeley, to Santa Fe to inaugurate its “Santa Fe| Ground Up” initiative, a series of workshops and events exploring Santa Fe as a city with an active, street-level culture that creates opportunity, builds community, and appeals to residents and visitors alike. Hood’s workshop and public presentation focused on the public spaces and cultural landscapes of Santa Fe and other cities, and the best practices for community involvement in urban design.

May 2012

Launched IF: Imagined Futures with the “Evolve or Die?” public program and series of workshops over four days provoked far-reaching conversations about the future of arts and culture in Santa Fe, and set the table for Creative Santa Fe’s next programs in the series, entitled “Santa Fe|Ground Up.”

May 2012

Presented workshops on affordable housing by Wendy Holmes, Heidi Kurtze and Matthew W. Meier of Artspace Projects with partners City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe University of Art and Design and Lannan Foundation.


November 2011

Partnered with the College Art Association, O’Keeffe Museum, SFAI, WESST, NM Lawyers for the Arts, NM Arts, SF Arts Commission, SFUAD, and Little Globe to present Your Art Practice Made Perfect: Business Tips and Tools.

November 2011

Produced Artists Business Resource Guide, providing access to critical information about fostering business growth within the creative economy.

October 2011

Co-sponsored the inaugural Design Lab competition and awards ceremony with Design Santa Fe for professional and student designers in New Mexico.

June 2011

Sponsored the seventh annual Santa Fe Studio Tours.