The demolition of Santa Fe’s teen arts center nears
In a room once too dark to navigate its stacks of audio-visual equipment and art supplies hangs the future of Warehouse 21 (W21). Bright, white lights illuminate the now almost barren space, which serves as the final stop in a journey through the history of the teen-arts center.
Tacked to the walls are the designs for the new W21 building and stories from local papers about its new home, including an article from the Alibi [Newscity, “A New Era,” April 27-May 3, 2006]. The room was cleared of all its equipment for two purposes: to make room for W21’s final art show, A’Pex, and to prepare for its demolition.
As earlier reported in the Alibi, W21 is one of many buildings to be demolished during the redevelopment of the railyard district in downtown Santa Fe. Since the announcement of the plans to redevelop the area, Warehouse 21 Executive Director Ana Gallegos y Reinhardt has been working closely with the Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation (SFRCC) to ensure W21 a spot within the project.
After Gallegos y Reinhardt signed a 50-year lease with the SFRCC, it was clear W21 would stay, but not in its current building. Since then, the plans for the new building have been drafted, funds have been raised and the demolition date for the shack-like W21 building has been pushed back numerous times.
Until the new building is complete, W21 will operate out of various locations throughout Santa Fe, Gallegos y Reinhardt says. A 758-square-foot trailer home parked near the site of the new W21 will act as a temporary base of operations, nicknamed “Trailer 21.” The silk screening and printmaking program, now named After Shock, will operate out of a building on Siler Road, and various arts organizations, like the Center for Contemporary Arts and Wisefool, will help out by hosting workshops, she says.
The demolition of the old building will happen sometime within the months of January or February, Gallegos y Reinhardt says. Currently, W21 has raised $1,427,162 of the $2.6 million required to start Phase 1 of the building process. “We’re on the city’s wish list this year for $1.7 million,” she says, “which means by April 1 we’ll know if we’ve got it.” If the city or the State Legislature grants W21 the funds, construction could start as early as June of this year, she says. If not, it'll be Trailer 21 for a lot longer.
Last Friday, Jan. 5, marked W21's last show at their old home. Local bands featuring past and present W21ers took the stage as their peers watched from the floor. Others walked the halls, glimpsing photos and posters from the past 10 years plastered to the walls and ceiling. Once the last band left the stage, Vince Kadlubek, one of the curators of A’Pex, began tearing down the memories. Everyone else migrated outside to the large bonfire, where they stared into the fire as snow began to fall.