Midtown Visual Arts Agreement Heads to City Committees

City committees consider visual arts Midtown agreement

The City of Santa Fe Finance Committee will consider at its meeting this evening an exclusive negotiating agreement with the Midtown Arts and Design Alliance for redevelopment of a visual arts center on the Midtown campus. The Santa Fe Arts Institute, one of the alliance’s members, is listed as a managing member of the alliance, although SFAI has a 99-year lease on its building, which is not part of the RFP. The existing buildings that are part of the visual arts center include the Marion Center for Photography, Tipton Hall and Tishman Hall and Art History Center. According to the city’s RFP, the buildings have been vacant since 2018 and in varying degrees of deterioration; evaluating the state of the complex will be part of the alliance’s forthcoming work under the ENA. The city’s Quality of Life Committee is slated to consider the ENA next later this week, followed by the Public Works Committee on Aug. 28 and then the City Council on Aug. 30. Last month, the city announced it had entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Midtown Santa Fe Productions, Inc., led by PE Real Estate Holdings, to redevelop, expand and operate the existing Garson film production studios as a “competitive, modern studio facility.” The ENAs mark the second phase of the city’s request for proposals, issued last December, for three portions of the Midtown campus: the visual and performing arts centers, as well as the film production studio expansion.

City of Santa Fe completes radio transition

The City of Santa Fe on Friday reported completion of transitioning its public safety radios to the state’s Digital Trunked Radio System, through which it will receive support from the state’s Department of Information Technology. As SFR reported in June, police and firefighters had expressed concerns for more than a year about the system’s unreliability, with both the radios and the Computer Aided Dispatch software failing simultaneously last year during a large fire at a Southside townhome, according to Fire Chief Brian Moya. The new system began operating on Aug. 9, according to a city news release. In June, city officials said a technology upgrade at the county-operated Regional Emergency Communications Center was needed in order for the city to tie into the state system. In Friday’s release, the city said it “coordinated extensively” with the county’s RECC team “to ensure a seamless and uneventful transfer of services” that included programming more than 600 vehicle and handheld radios for both the police and fire departments. “I am delighted to express my satisfaction regarding the successful implementation of our new radio system within my department,” Moya said in a statement. “This system serves as a dependable means of communication with dispatch and fellow first responders…Without reliable communication channels, our first responders were severely hindered when responding to emergencies. Now we can all respond confident in our communication.” Police Chief Paul Joye echoed the sentiment, saying the radios “are not just how we get our information to and from dispatch. Our radios are the lifeline for our first responders…The news of the successful transition gives us great relief, knowing that wherever we are, when we call out to our partners, we will be heard.”

Graduation rates improve in NM prisons

The state’s Higher Education and Corrections departments report that 198 incarcerated New Mexicans completed a high school equivalency credential, according to the latest data, a figure that exceeds a target set by the Legislature by more than 20%. Moreover, this year’s number of graduates more than doubled from last year, when 87 inmates graduated. “I could not be prouder of the people who work tirelessly in our facilities every day with the goal of creating an environment where our inmates can work towards a path of improvement—ultimately reducing recidivism occurrences,” Corrections Secretary Alisha Tafoya Lucero said in a statement, adding that “education for our inmates often allows them to see a path forward outside of prison.” According to a news release from both agencies, the Higher Education Department awarded $343,392 to the Corrections Department in in the 2023 fiscal year to support adult education programs at correctional facilities statewide via federal funds granted from the US Department of Education. Those programs served 1,233 students between June of 2022 and July of 2023. “Adult education is an important pathway for thousands of New Mexico adults to gain necessary skills, but this program is especially important for incarcerated New Mexicans who are working toward a fresh start as contributing members of our communities and workforce,” Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez said in a statement. Here are some photos from last week of inmates graduating and a reel from the Corrections Department of inmates throwing their caps in the air.

G-Spot author, Santa Fe resident Alice Kahn Ladas dies at 102

Psychologist and psychotherapist Alice Kahn Ladas, author of the groundbreaking 1982 book The G Spot: And Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality, died July 29 at the age of 102 at her home in Santa Fe, the New York Times reports. The Times accompanied its obituary with a photo that originally appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter alongside a 2014 interview. The Times obituary also cites Ladas’ remarks to SFR in 2010 when we asked for her thoughts on a then-new study that discounted the physiological and physical basis for the G-spot after surveying more than 1,800 identical female twins. “It’s a goofy study,” Ladas told SFR, “because even if you take identical twins, they’re unlikely to have the same lover. And whether the G-spot is reached during intercourse depends on the position—the angle of the dangle—and a woman’s experience. Besides, they were only asking; they weren’t examining.” The Times reports Ladas—according to her daughter—was still seeing patients at her home the day before she died and saw the film Oppenheimer two days before she died. The movie, her daughter Robin Janis told the Times, wasn’t historical to her mother because “that was what she lived.”

Listen up

After close to 20 years hosting New Mexico’s preeminent news show, New Mexico In Focus host Gene Grant said his farewells on Friday night. As New Mexico PBS chronicles, Grant first appeared on the show in 2005 as a guest with former host Kate Nelson to discuss journalism; his final show includes highlight clips from over the years, including segments with certified genealogist Ruth Randall, in which Grant learned about his roots, along with PBS NewsHour correspondent Gwen Ifill and its Managing Editor Jim Lehrer. The Line segment includes NM In Focus stalwarts KKOB radio host T.J. Trout; Cathryn McGill, founder and director of the NM Black Leadership Council; and former New Mexico In Focus Producer Kathy Wimmer. Grant reveals his next gig at the end of the show.

NM pottery in New York

Grounded in Clay, a collaborative exhibition curated by the Pueblo Pottery Collective and organized by the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe and New York’s Vilcek Foundation, opened last month in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Vilcek Foundation (through June 4, 2024). The New York Times delves into the curatorial aspect of the show and the way in which it has brought new partnerships to the museum. Elysia Poon, director of SAR’s Indian Arts Research Center, tells the Times organizers aimed to have at least one curator from each Native American community participate in the show. Potter Claudia Mitchell (Acoma Pueblo) is one of the 68 potters, artists and cultural leaders who chose the work that appears in the show, which includes labeling by each participant that discusses the chosen work from a personal point of view. In this way, the Times writes, “the exhibition offers an alternative model to Euro-American business-as-usual, which often excluded source communities from interpreting their own material culture, leaving that to scholars who tend to view works through a dispassionate art historical lens.” The show premiered in Santa Fe at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture where it ran through last May. “We thought it was very important for our people to see the exhibit first,” former Acoma Pueblo Gov. Brian D. Vallo, a museum consultant and curator for the Vilcek exhibit, says.

Pondering Trinity

Vox “Future Perfect” Editor Bryan Walsh, author of End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World, considers the legacy of the Trinity site in New Mexico, and the increased attention it is garnering in the wake of Christopher Nolan’s film Oppenheimer. The site is open to the public twice a year, with forthcoming open house dates on Oct. 21, 2023 and April 6, 2024, with officials expecting larger-than-normal crowds and wait times up to two hours to enter. Walsh visited Trinity in the spring of 2018 when he was researching his book. “I’m not sure what I expected as I broiled under the New Mexico sun,” he writes. “A moment of existential clarity? Some monument that represents the enormity of what happened here, the moment and the place where human beings demonstrated that they would now have the power to destroy themselves?” For all of its impact, Walsh notes, little at Trinity captures the magnitude of what occurred there, “save for a two-inch chunk of concrete left from the original tower, and the bits of glassy green called trinitite that were liquified in the blast before falling to the earth as hardened shards.

Cool off

The National Weather Service forecasts a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms today. Otherwise, it will be partly sunny, with a high temperature near 79 degrees and south wind around 15 mph. We may see another round of storms tonight before 3 am.

Thanks for reading! The Word believes the end of summer may, indeed, be nigh.


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