Wall Worth Keeping

In Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This work of art, Multi-Cultural, is no longer available for public enjoyment and education. The old state archives building serving as its canvas in Santa Fe’s Railyard District was demolished in 2020 to make way for a new contemporary art museum.

The artist, Gilberto Guzman, and community advocates protested for its protection and preservation, to no avail. Painted in the 1980s, the art has come to represent the beauty, history, and value the Chicano community brings to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the country at-large. To many, losing it has felt like losing a part of themselves to forces driving Santa Fe’s gentrification.

Seems like a contemporary art museum could figure out how to keep it as part of the new campus. Even the Newseum in Washington DC (among other places) figured out how to preserve portions of the Berlin Wall. And this example shows you don’t have to demolish a mural to demolish a building. Too bad all the talk about walls going up didn’t help keep this one standing, in some way or another. What a shame.

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