Lady of Guadalupe banners sparking controversy in Santa Fe

New Mexico

Our Lady of Guadalupe is an important religious symbol to many New Mexicans. Now, a bunch of businesses on Guadalupe Street in Santa Fe want to use the sacred image to drum up business. That’s not sitting well with some people.

In Santa Fe, the iconic plaza is a magnet for tourists and shoppers, and the Rail Yard is quickly becoming a hotspot as well. Now, businesses along Guadalupe Street, which connects the two, are trying to come up with a marketing strategy to get in on the action.

“This is kind of a dead zone here and it shouldn’t be because there’s a lot going on here,” said artist Albert Zalma.

Zalma runs a gallery on Guadalupe. He’s part of the Guadalupe Street Association. They want visitors to walk into their stores, so to get noticed, they want to put 22 banners on the light poles along the street.

“So I thought, what better image than the Guadalupe on Guadalupe Street?” said Zalma.

Zalma created the design for the banner. He said it’s inspired by the Guadalupe statue at the church on West Alameda and Guadalupe, but he also knows the idea is sparking controversy.

“They’re worried about it being marketed,” said Zalma. “We’re not selling anything, we are trying to help our businesses. But we are trying to help this street as a whole, to help Santa Fe, to help tourism.”

Some shoppers who KRQE News 13 spoke to agreed.

“To me, it’s kind of weird anyways,” said local Alicia Spencer.

Others think it much ado about nothing.

“There’s symbolism of the mother of Guadalupe all over this town,” said local Catherine Lynch. “Having it on a banner should not make one bit of a difference.”

The banners still need city council approval before they can be put up.

The Guadalupe Street Association would foot the bill for the banners. KRQE News 13 reached out to the church on that street to get a comment on the banners, but have not heard back.

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