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News & Announcements

June 25, 2020
City Takes Steps To Provide A Platform for Public Conversation And Protect Plaza Obelisk

Plywood Envelope, Art Installation A Collaboration Between Arts And Culture Department, Historic Preservation, Public Works, and Parks and Recreation

The City of Santa Fe is taking steps to provide a forum for communication at the very heart of the City’s Historic Plaza that not only protects the obelisk from any further vandalism but provides a place to share artistic images that resonate and elevate. The Parks and Recreation team is working with Arts and Culture Department to design and build a protective plywood structure that will also serve as a focal point for artistic expression that can begin a conversation that will lead to a healing and reconciliation process.

Several portions of the stone and marble obelisk have been chipped away and smeared with paint. The proposed temporary, protective structure will eventually include a protective envelope around the base and obelisk. 

Details of the plan as proposed:

·       Temporarily place an 8 foot tall plywood barrier immediately adjacent to the obelisk, creating a protective envelope around the obelisk

·       Prepare the wood barrier with primer paint as a base for use as a public artwork installation

An update regarding the planned protective envelope proposal was provided to the Historic District Review Board (HDRB) during their June 23, 2020 hearing. HDRB members expressed both support for temporary, reversible measures for the purposes of public art and community dialogue, as well as interest in participating in the complex conversations that are warranted regarding the future of the obelisk. “The Plaza belongs to the community,” said HDRB member Flynn Larson.

The Plaza is the heart of Santa Fe, and the City wants healing and dialog to begin there with an artistic installation. The general public, local artists, poets and young people are invited to participate in “Culture Connects: Behind the Masks – Uncovering the Values We Carry Forward.” In particular, the community is invited to share words and images of hope and healing on this installation, which will remain in place as needed community conversations happen. People who are interested in participating in this public expression of hope and healing can reach  out to the Arts and Culture Department at: ArtsCommission@santafenm. Santa Fe is a special place on Earth.  Together we value our cultures and histories, and together we can determine where in history the obelisk will have its place.

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