The Santa Fe Railyard Park + Plaza is a site of creative collaborations, with recent projects presented in collaboration with the Railyard Park Conservancy’s Railyard Art Project and local arts organizations.
Since its inception in 2008, the Railyard Park Conservancy’s (RPC) Railyard Art Project (RAP) has partnered with dozens of organizations to bring public art and performance to Santa Fe’s Railyard Park + Plaza, including Art Park 21, Currents New Media, FutureClear collective, Magnetic Laboratorium, and Dancing Earth. This spirit of creative collaboration is driven in equal measure by intention and necessity.
“Like a lot of nonprofits, we’re chronically understaffed and underfunded,” said RPC executive director Izzy Barr. “But we’ve learned to use that tension to support our mission, by cultivating relationships that allow us to represent a wider range of artistic projects and talent than our capacity would normally allow.”
The fruits of this tension were on full display in April, when RAP partnered with SITE Santa Fe and Axle Contemporary to bring five multi-disciplinary works to the community. On April 14, SITE opened Going With the Flow: Art, Actions, and Western Waters (on view through July 31), a dynamic group exhibition featuring two pieces in the Railyard Park. As visitors stroll through the Entry Ramada, they’ll hear There Must Be Other Names For The River, a sound installation by Jessica Zeglin, Dylan McLaughlin, and Marisa Demarco that forms part of an ongoing multimedia artwork intended to build relationships between the Rio Grande and the viewer. In the adjacent Rail Gardens, the large-scale sculpture Fountain (Orphan) by artist collective M12 Studio uses the figure of a hand water pump as an entry point into the complex relationship between surface water and groundwater in New Mexico and East Texas.
A couple hundred feet from Fountain (Orphan) sits Lindsay Brenner’s Human Bird Nest (also through July 31), a RAP project funded in part by the City of Santa Fe Arts & Culture Commission and the 1% Lodgers’ Tax. Constructed entirely on site using locally sourced plant material, it combines themes of sanctuary, rebirth, and ecological resilience, offering visitors a nurturing space to develop and expand ideas for positive growth.
Human Bird Nest premiered on April 22 at the RPC’s Railyard Park Earth Day event, where the Axle Contemporary mobile art space was on hand with Rick Phelps’s Post Fiesta Wares. Presented in conjunction with the Museum of International Folk Art’s La Cartonería Mexicana: The Mexican Art of Paper and Paste, the installation featured papier-maché and papier-collé sculptures that incorporated an array of materials, references, and characters.
Axle rounded out the month by teaming with Friends of the Orphan Signs on Project Interchange, a live text exchange between poets in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Projected onto the side of El Museo Cultural in the Railyard Plaza, the exchange featured creative dialogue about connection and community from Edie Tsong, Loretta Trujillo, and Sara Rivera, among others.