About

Our mission is to cultivate creative leadership, and to invest in community, culture, and place to reimagine a more equitable world.
SFAI supports over 70 artists, activists, and creative practitioners annually through residencies, workshops, civic engagement, and innovative public events.

Click on the video below to learn more about SFAI!

OUR COMMITMENT TO ANTI-RACISM

At SFAI, we believe that Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and people of color, with all oppressed peoples, and with liberation movements here in the U.S. and across the world. We understand that statements of solidarity must be accompanied with action.

Read about this commitment below.

Mission

Our mission is to cultivate creative leadership, and to invest in community, culture, and place to reimagine a more equitable world. SFAI is especially committed to supporting artists and creative practitioners who are marginalized and underrepresented, including Indigenous, Black, people of color, disabled, LGBTQ+, women, and immigrant artists.

Our vision is rooted in our belief in the power of art to shape society. We build programming that helps to connect and build community through public discourse and collective artistic and cultural experience.

Values

We hold the following values as the ethos of the SFAI community.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Openness: We celebrate diversity, inclusion, and access to the arts. We all actively work together to re-imagine what is possible, and what it means to be a creative individual, institution, and community in today’s world.

Transparency, Trust, and Safety: We work to understand and disrupt the implicit power structures and dynamics that help to perpetuate systemic injustices. We acknowledge that the root of many of these injustices is based in white supremacy and patriarchy. We strive to build deep relationships based on common values and respectful dialogue.

Cooperation, Collaboration, Support: We believe that positive change is not possible without working together toward our common goals. We rely on each other to help alleviate the burdens of injustice through building solidarity through the lens of artistic expression and creativity.

Compassion, Humanitarianism, and Comfort: We recognize the importance of intersectionality to help us acknowledge and celebrate our differences. We respect the need to make space and time for the stories, ideas, and work of disenfranchised members of our society, including women, Indigenous, Black, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people, and immigrants. We remain compassionate to each other and ourselves as we take personal and professional risks. We strive to be comfortable to engage in difficult conversations, as we learn new perspectives and narratives.

Responsibility, Professionalism, and Respect: We are responsible for our own emotions and actions. We take courage and initiate compassionate resolution when conflict arises. We respect each other’s time and are accountable to follow through on our commitments. We believe it is the responsibility of all of us with privilege and influence to acknowledge and investigate that privilege.

Anti-Racism Commitment

At SFAI, we believe that Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and people of color, with all oppressed peoples, and with liberation movements here in the U.S. and across the world. We acknowledge the many ways in which institutions perpetuate structural racism and oppressive systems. We humbly acknowledge our mistakes, and we commit to continually learn from them in order to grow as an institution on this journey toward liberation. We understand that statements of solidarity must be accompanied with action.

At SFAI, we commit to continue to pro-actively increase access by BIPOC and underserved artists and community members, and to continually improve our policies and actions to be anti-racist.

Actions that we have taken to underscore this commitment include:

  • Creating collaborative community agreements between staff, residents and fellows, that reflect anti-racist values and actions, and which are reflected upon and collectively agreed to on a monthly basis;
  • Implementing a restorative justice model for conflict resolution, for reflection and collective agreement on a monthly basis;
  • Adhering to a 1:3 wage ratio that exceeds Santa Fe’s living wage ordinance, and which extends to all staff, contractors and vendors;
  • Seeking and retaining staff and leadership that uphold our values and are representative of our community. BIPOC represent over 40% of our staff and board.
  • Investing in anti-oppression training for staff;
  • Completely divesting from oil, gas, weapons, and ammunition;
  • Providing our residency program free of charge, and paying stipends for fellowship programs;
  • Asking white staff, board, residents, and fellows to acknowledge their privilege, to engage in conversations about race and allyship; and to do this work without requesting assistance, validation, or unpaid emotional labor from BIPOC;
  • Paying artists and community members to co-design, lead, and participate in our public programming;
  • Paying interns or ensuring that they receive college credit for their work at SFAI;
  • Collaborating on and curating public programming that invites critical dialogue on local, national, and international issues, current events, and history – and which seeks to uplift oppressed voices and disrupt mainstream narratives;
  • Providing childcare, food, and translation during our public events, to the extent possible; and
  • Acknowledging the injustices and enduring trauma that colonization of this land has imposed on Indigenous peoples, and reflecting upon the experiences, histories, and contemporary lives of the Indigenous peoples here in New Mexico and around the world. SFAI is located on unceded lands that are the traditional territories of Pueblo, Ndee (Apache), and Southern Ute peoples, and have also long been home to the Diné (Navajo).

Additional actions that we will take include:

  • Investing in anti-oppression training for the board of trustees and staff on an annual basis, and seeking opportunities for donors and supporters to participate in future trainings;
  • Increasing transparency through placing our annual budget and IRS Form 990 on our website; and
  • Implementing a new employee policy that provides a paid holiday on election days.

SFAI affirms these steps are not enough to secure justice for oppressed peoples, but we remain committed to compassionate engagement, to learn from our mistakes, and to continue to take necessary action.

Anti-Racism Resources

Land Acknowledgement

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 creating a more equitable world.

SFAI is located on unceded lands that are the traditional territories of Pueblo, Ndee (Apache), and Southern Ute peoples, and have also long been home to the Diné (Navajo). The original Tewa name of Santa Fe is O’ghe P’oghe, which means White Shell Water Place. SFAI acknowledges the injustices and enduring trauma that colonization of this land by subsequent settlers has imposed on Indigenous peoples. Please join us in reflecting on this complicated history, and to honor the sacrifices and invaluable contributions made by the Indigenous culture bearers who came before us and are here now.

See more about the #HonorNativeLand initiative of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, read about our deeper learning about this history, and consider contributing to Indigenous-led organizations doing important work to further health and wellness, sovereignty and self-determination of the first peoples of this land.

Privilege

SFAI asks of our staff, residents, and fellows who identify as white, able-bodied, cisgendered, neurotypical, financially or otherwise privileged, to acknowledge our privilege and take responsibility in educating ourselves – not to rely on Indigenous, Black, 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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.