About

SFAI’s mission is to cultivate creative leadership, and to invest in community, culture, and place to reimagine a more equitable world.

Founded in 1985, SFAI is an independent, non-profit, cultural organization, whose leaders believe that creative minds need an intentional, cultivated, environment to evolve their own practice, and that practice, if given the opportunity can have tremendous social impact.

SFAI believes in artists and creative practitioners as catalysts for positive social change. We are committed to supporting creative practices that offer fresh insight and innovative strategies in response to critical national, global and local problems, and to providing access to marginalized and underrepresented artists. We facilitate meaningful social change through sponsored residencies and artist fellowships; public programs featuring interactions with artists, activists, and community changemakers; exhibitions; roundtables; community art actions and community projects; and educational outreach for adults and young people.

Our flagship program is our thematic artist residency, and we have hosted over 1200 residents, including over 400 international and 200 local residents. Alumni include Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, John Baldessari, Susan Rothenberg, Judy Chicago, Coco Fusco, Erika Harrsch, Guillermo Gómez Peña, and Postcommodity.

In 2013, we shifted our residency program to support artists and creative practitioners who are focused on social justice issues. We choose annual themes that are relevant first to the local Santa Fe and New Mexico communities – but that reverberate to national and global issues. In 2017, with the launch of Equal Justice, SFAI decided to eliminate tuition and to sponsor residencies free of charge. This decision was a direct response to a global rise in intolerance and division, and the need for institutions like SFAI to provide broader access to and engender social equity through the arts.

In support of inspired interdisciplinary thinking and creative risk taking, SFAI hosts prestigious local, national, and international fellowships and scholarships with foundation and governmental partners including the Ford Foundation, Fulbright Foundation in Greece, HARPO Foundation, Neilson Foundation, and Taiwan Ministry of Culture.


SFAI Values

SFAI is deeply committed to a culture of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical ability or disability. We hold the following values as the ethos of the SFAI community.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Openness
Transparency, Trust, and Safety
Cooperation, Collaboration, Support
Compassion, Humanitarianism, and Comfort
Responsibility, Professionalism, and Respect


Acknowledgement of Traditional Territories

SFAI believes that acknowledging and reflecting upon the experiences, histories, and contemporary lives of the indigenous peoples here in New Mexico and around the world are essential steps toward re-imagining a more equitable world.

SFAI is located on traditional territories of the Tewa and Tanos peoples. We acknowledge the original name of Santa Fe, O’ghe P’oghe, which means White Shell Water Place. We honor elders past and present, and acknowledge the invaluable contributions of culture-bearers historically and in our current moment. See more about our #HonorNativeLand initiative, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture.


White Privilege

SFAI asks of our staff, residents, and fellows who identify as white, able-bodied, cisgendered, financially or otherwise privileged, to acknowledge our privilege and take responsibility in educating ourselves – not to rely on people of color, LGBTQ+, disabled, or otherwise marginalized, underrepresented, or oppressed communities to do the work for us.

We have identified these 6 Ways to Foster Inclusivity:

  1. Be An Ally: An ally is a member of a social group that enjoys some privilege that is working to understand their own privilege and end oppression for others.
  1. Self-educate: When you don’t know something, research it. Take the initiative to learn on your own instead of relying on members of that identity group to do it for you.
  1. Use Inclusive Language: Choose words that are gender neutral, don’t play into racial/ethnic stereotypes, and are consciously inoffensive. Seek uplifting alternatives to negative terms.
  1. Be Transparent: Openly admit when you are wrong / don’t know something and apologize without shame if you unintentionally offended someone. Admit to your shortcomings and encourage others to do the same.
  1. Lean into Discomfort: Challenge yourself to NOT tune out the realities and difficulties other people face in the world we ALL live in. Take time to have the hard conversations, and don’t allow fear or shame to keep you from showing up for others.
  1. Accept Critical Feedback: We all make mistakes! When someone calls you out on a mistake, rather than get defensive: apologize, discuss what happened, try to understand the problem along with the impact, learn from it and move on gracefully.

We expect that everyone in our SFAI community, while at SFAI, or representing SFAI, strive to exemplify the behaviors associated with the above stated values – in your interactions with one another, with SFAI staff and board members, interns/volunteers, community partners, and the general public.


Accessibility Support

The Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) is committed to creating accessible events and will, upon request, provide auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication with individuals with need to the fullest extent possible. These may include services such as qualified interpreters, readers and note takers; devices such as assistive listening systems; written materials for individuals with hearing loss; taped text, braille, or large print materials for individuals with vision loss; and flexibility in procedures. For any inquiry on accessibility needs, write to info@sfai.org, or call 505.424.5050 at least a week prior to the event. SFAI does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as an armed forces veteran.

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