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Improving Creative Access at SFAI

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 54 K
Funding amount
Improving Creative Access at SFAI will increase opportunities to artists with SCI to participate in the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) residency programming, eliminate barriers to their independence, and therefore increase their quality of life while in residency at SFAI. Project activities include enhanced access to the SFAI main entry and resident rooms through automatic door operators, and enhanced access to the Santa Fe community by resident artists with SCI, through purchase of a van with a wheelchair lift.

Although SFAI’s facilities meets current accessibility codes, a CO&I grant would allow SFAI to go beyond code to provide enhanced access and increased independence for artists with SCI. SFAI does not currently have any automatic door operators, or a mode of transportation that would improve independence for residents with SCI. These two things are critical improvements, because our beautifully designed doors are solid wood or metal, and can be quite heavy and difficult to operate while in a wheelchair. In addition, SFAI is located in a part of town that is low-density and car-centric, with relatively long distances to access shopping or services. There are very limited accessible transportation services in Santa Fe, which means that if artists with SCI arrive without their own vehicle, they must depend on other residents and staff for assistance with transportation, for errands, community research, or social activities.

Opportunities for artists with SCI are not equitable, as they do not often have the same access to institutional support of their artistic practice as other artists. This proposal very clearly supports the goals for the Creating Opportunity & Independence portfolio, through an innovative project that improves independence and increases participation for artists with SCI. Moreover, this proposal builds from the success of a prior partnership that received Neilsen Foundation support, the Creative Access Fellowship, allowing the knowledge and network gained from that partnership to continue and to be enhanced with this one-time request from the Neilsen Foundation.

This project and grant-related activities are one-time, non-recurring, and very specific in nature, but its significance and impact will be multi-year and profound, both for SFAI and for the artists with SCI whom we serve and will continue to serve. This one-time grant help SFAI to celebrate and better support the work of artists with SCI, who typically have to navigate their injury within a world that doesn’t always accommodate them. These artists will not only benefit from the increased access and independence that this project will provide, but their work will positively impact all of us. (CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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