A group of more than twenty diverse local artists, musicians and creatives were invited to the first of several design workshops, or charrettes, held recently at Santa Fe Art Institute. The group was gathered in order to share their expertise and perspectives about living and working spaces to inform the design of the future Santa Fe Arts + Creativity Center.

This unique, community-centric design process is being funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and artists received a stipend for their participation. As one participant put it “When artists provide consulting services to other industries they should be paid for them!” We couldn’t agree more.

The group was asked to share their collective experience and creativity with representatives of our collaborative Design Team, the architects who will ultimately create the design for the project which will have 70 units of affordable live/work rental housing and additional community shared workshops and other on-site resources.

The artist consultants broke up into three groups, each of which addressed a particular subject: The Dwelling (residential unit design), The Site (including landscaping, parking, building orientation),  and The Amenities (think shared workshop and event space).

Participants chose the issue that they were most initially interested in and then the groups rotated about every hour. After each session, representatives from the smaller groups reported the highlights of their discussion to the larger group for feedback and additional ideas.

The process was stunning – artists not only gave the type of “market research” information that is so critical to a project like this, but also got right in the trenches as creative members of the design process.
You can also download the full charrette summary report.