In the early 1990s, it became apparent that support of the visual arts in Santa Fe’s public school system did not mirror the depth of appreciation of visual arts in the greater community. In particular, funding for art supplies was virtually nonexistent in the schools. With that information, several dedicated members of the Santa Fe Gallery Association initiated a nonprofit organization named ARTsmart in 1993 with the purpose of raising funds to be donated to the public schools specifically for the acquisition of art supplies.
The first fundraising event for ARTsmart took place in 1997. The Edible Art Tour (EAT) paired fine art galleries with notable restaurants and chefs for a feast of food and art. Initially, donations were free-will, but over time EAT became a ticketed event that now involves more than 30 restaurants and galleries on the city’s historic Plaza and Canyon Road. Over the years, ARTsmart added other events and soon the fundraising weekend became known as ARTfeast.
Seventeen years and countless volunteer hours later, EAT continues to be the most popular of the weekend of events known as ARTfeast, a series of gatherings bringing together more than 35 art galleries, 35 of Santa Fe’s finest restaurants and caterers, 10 downtown hotels, and several international wineries. In 2013, more than 2,000 tickets were sold to one or more of the four ticked events from 35 states and two foreign countries, making it possible to donate $85,000 to art projects and scholarships for the city’s youth. Through the efforts of ARTsmart, total donations to date to the Santa Fe public schools have reached over $1,000,000.
Goals and Projected Outcomes
As originally established, the primary goal of ARTsmart continues to be to raise funds for art supplies in the Santa Fe public schools. Over the past seventeen years, additional goals have been identified to meet the community’s needs and include the following:
In 2007, ARTsmart created two endowment funds:
The General Endowment fund was established to ensure the ongoing operation and the success of ARTsmart.
The ARTsmart Scholarship Endowment fund is funded by ARTsmart. This fund is earmarked for scholarships for Santa Fe high school students who plan to pursue a career in the arts. ARTsmart’s goal for the Scholarship Endowment Fund is to be self sustaining. The fund will provide scholarship recipients assistance for four years of college if the students continue to meet pre-established criteria each year.
Our first year recipient wrote a letter thanking us for the scholarship. She states,” I’m sincerely glad that I chose to pursue what I loved. I’m happy to be here and make art. I wish to finish my college, become a professional artist and inspire others. This one dream year in New York couldn’t have happened without The ARTsmart Scholarship. Your aid, care, and support truly helped me to pursue my dream. Thank you. I hope ARTsmart Scholarship will help the future recipient to pursue his or her dream as it has done for me. Thank you again for creating this wonderful scholarship for Santa Fe’s art student. “
History of Fine Art for Children & Teens
Fine Arts for Children & Teens (FACT) was founded in 1990 on the belief that the power of art can transform lives and to that end, began providing art workshops in elementary school latchkey programs and offering Saturday morning community art classes. From 1990-1993, FACT created a need-based scholarship fund to make workshops accessible to all participants, and was contracted by the Museum of Fine Arts to develop and teach a summer program. In 1993, FACT moved to the Railyard Studio, and by 1995, FACT was reaching students ages 8 to 18, and collaborating with Partners in Education to provide art workshops in Santa Fe Public Schools. In 1997, FACT received funding to place a portable studio building on the grounds of Sweeney Elementary School and began its ARTreach school-day program. At the time, Sweeney Elementary was the largest elementary school in Santa Fe and the only school serving Tierra Contenta families. In 1998, FACT moved to its current location at the ARTbarn at the Pink Church Art Center and was honored with The Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Pinon Award, and expanded ARTreach to Nava Elementary. Julia Bergen joined FACT’s staff in 2000 as its first Executive Director and has since worked to expand its programs across Northern New Mexico including public schools in Santa Fe, Pecos, and Española, at the Santa Fe Indian School, and at the Santa Fe Public Libraries. Since 2005, FACT has partnered with Outside In/Youth with Promise program and the Santa Fe Public School’s Adelante program to provide art classes for youth who are incarcerated, recently released, adjudicated, or homeless. Other program partners include the Genoveva Chavez Community Center, Girls Inc, City of Santa Fe Parks and Recreation Department, Teen Court, and Youth Shelters. In 2002, FACT launched its Youth Mural Program to create community based mural projects for teens and further expanded the scope of ARTbarn classes for youth ages 13-18. In 2010, FACT received the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award for its ARTclub after school programs, and expanded school based programs to include the Santa Clara Pueblo.
Combined History of ARTsmart and FACT
In March 2013, Fine Arts for Children and Teens (FACT) and ARTsmart have merged. These two well-respected non-profits have similar missions, goal and aspirations. The merger will strengthen the outreach and effectiveness of both organizations and will make them both stronger in building bridges for the common good of children through the arts. The surviving merged entity is ARTsmart
Combined Mission Statement
ARTsmart’s new mission statement is to empower and transform lives by teaching art making, literacy, and life skills in an innovative learning environment. We believe that the visual arts help youth to discover more about themselves, their worth, and their talents.