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Culture Connects Working Group

A working group appointed by the Arts Commission was responsible for providing feedback and guidance for Culture Connects: Santa Fe. The individuals on the working group represent a range of skills, experience and expertise.  The group is chaired by JoAnn Balzer.

JoAnn Balzer, Trustee, Institute of American Indian Arts; various nonprofit boards; philanthropist; collector

Judy Espinar, Founder, International Folk Art Market; folk art expert; former small business owner

Andrea Fellows Walters, Director, Education and Outreach, Santa Fe Opera

Robert Kret, Director, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum; former Director, Hunter Museum of American Art

Bob Martin, Executive/Artistic Director, Lensic Performing Arts Center

Ana Pacheco, Historian; author; publisher; City of Santa Fe Historian

Carmella Padilla, Award-winning journalist; author; written extensively about art, culture and history of New Mexico and the Southwest

Debra Garcia y Griego: As the Executive Director of the Arts Commission, Garcia y Griego oversees the implementation of the Culture Connects Initiative and the future design and growth of the program.  In her leadership role as an advocate for the arts and culture for the City of Santa Fe and board member of Americans for the Arts, she  coordinates city-wide arts-related initiatives, assists the Mayor and Councilors with the development of new arts and cultural initiatives, to include Art in Public Places, grants to nonprofit arts organizations and the Community Gallery. “I am so grateful for the generosity of our community in their engagement and donation of time for this project.  The contributions and the process have been very informative, however, more importantly--inspiring! Through the Culture Connects Initiative we have come together and engaged as a community to connect in all the ways that keep Santa Fe vibrant and pulsing.  I look forward to the continuation of this vital force of transformation to shine throughout our City in ever expanding and creative expressions.”

Robert D. Lambert, Jr.: As the Community Gallery Manager, Lambert oversees the operation and programming of the Gallery, plans organizes and implements all programming related to exhibitions, programs/workshops/events and manages the advertising and marketing for the Gallery.  “The component of Culture Connects that I feel has the most potential is its applicability to any group, program, department or organization.  With the basic tenets of Culture Connect as the guidepost, it’s flexibility and applicability to programming is universal.  I anticipate that groups and organizations who are interested in participating will apply the Culture Connects ‘lens’ to their plan and be able to leverage their resources while maintaining their vision.  Culture Connects will thrive when groups and organizations are encouraged to think creatively about how Culture Connects can be applied in their organization.”

Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez: As a leader experienced in the management of cultural-based organizations, Dr. Rael-Gálvez served as the lead consultant for the Culture Connects: Santa Fe Plan.  "I am confident that our work -- centering culture and planning culturally -- will point the way toward activating the community and invigorating the health and well-being of this unique place.  One of our primary goals is to lead an inclusive and engaging planning process, all toward elevating the rich cultural resources and relationships found in the very fabric of the entire city," noted Dr. Rael-Gálvez.  "But above all, the Cultural Cartography will begin to illuminate the potential that our layered, complex and rich creative community holds now and in the future." 


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