SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Santa Fe is one big step closer to getting its Culture, History, Art, Reconciliation, and Truth (or CHART) process up and running. The CHART process was approved by the city council earlier this year and is tasked with facilitating community dialogue and figuring out what to do with controversial monuments or displays in the city, including what to do with the center of The Plaza where the obelisk once stood. The obelisk was torn down last year by protestors for being offensive to indigenous people.
A city selection committee, made up of two city employees and two advisors to the city, is recommending Artful Life as the consultant to lead the CHART process. “We are honored to be the recommended awardee for this project – we feel we have the qualifications,” Valerie Martinez, founding director of Artful Life, said in a committee hearing on Tuesday.
According to Artful Life’s website, the organization is dedicated to, “transforming communities through the beauty and power of collaborative art.” A city fact sheet states its founder, Martinez, is of Pueblo, Dine, and Hispanic descent.
“What I’ve been saying to people about this project is, we need to lay the foundation of community connections. Getting people to come together, people who don’t usually share the same space, and to build human connections between them,” she said in Tuesday’s committee hearing.
The contract is for $254,000. The CHART process would include one-on-one interviews, community dialogue sessions, and community surveys. “Most of the project funding is for people because this is a people-centered process,” said Martinez.
The city hopes to have that process start by October. If selected, Martinez said Artful Life’s first step would be to create a CHART team to help facilitate the process. “Basically, it’s going to be a group of people who are very diverse and committed to this process. And the knowledge of the community is going to guide us. The wisdom of the community is going to help us come up with solutions to these questions that we have on our plate,” said Martinez.
The contract made its way through the Finance committee and the Quality of Life committee. It heads to the Public Works committee on July 12. City Council is expected to make a final vote on July 14. The city is encouraging people to get involved in the CHART process online.
It’s unclear how many proposals were submitted but only two were reviewed by the selection committee. According to the city, only two proposals were properly completed and eligible to be reviewed for selection.