SFAI Welcomes New Residency Director
Meet Estrella Esquilín
Hello, Santa Fe Art Institute Community!
My name is Estrella Esquilín (es-TRAY-uh es-key-LEAN) and I am the Residency Director at Santa Fe Art Institute as of March 2022. I am so thrilled to join this small and prolific team – working together to cultivate an environment of curiosity and creativity for artists from all over the globe.
My background is as a visual artist, with research interests around the built environment as it relates to social experiences. However, I have come to identify as a poly-occupationalist, attempting to use my variety of skills for my own joy and collective well-being. In the last 16 years, I have worked as an artist, educator, cultural strategist, and administrator – all at the intersection of arts and public life.
If I was a botanical hybrid, my roots are the flamboyant tree of San Juan, Puerto Rico, with an oak tree trunk of Kansas City, Missouri and vivid nopalito blossoms of Phoenix, Arizona… now to be tenderly watered by the mountain snow of Santa Fe. I’m a novice gardener and outdoors adventurer with great admiration for the various landscapes I’ve had the opportunity to live in.
As a civically-engaged cultural worker, I believe that creativity and cultural expression are essential in building community cohesion and belonging. Due to intentional systems of power that privilege some people over others, inequity and injustice abounds. Through my values as a community member, public servant and artist, I strive to challenge these inequities, participate in refining policies, practice humility in acknowledging the ways in which I have perpetuated harm, and compassionately co-create solutions for repair.
I love that Santa Fe Art Institute is a place where artists can feel safe to incubate, recharge, invent, and take risks so they are more-fulfilled creative people when they return to their home communities. I hope the experience here becomes like being a part of a rhizomatic network of change-agents and aesthetic thinkers challenging the status quo and imagining a world where we all recognize our impact and connectivity.
Thank you for welcoming me and I hope to connect with you soon!