L.A. County shows generosity with $25k gift

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By Jennifer Garcia

It’s not every day that a city celebrates its 400th anniversary, but in 2010, Santa Fe will be doing just that.

So what sort of gift should one get for a city that seems to have it all?

Los Alamos County Councilors have decided that a sculpture would be the perfect birthday gift for the City Different and have begun taking steps towards purchasing it.

During the June 17 meeting, County Council made a motion “that the council approve the concept of presenting a gift not to exceed $25,000 (including delivery and installation) to the City of Santa Fe commemorating their 400th anniversary and the Chair of the County Council be authorized to send a letter to Mayor (David) Coss, seeking his endorsement.”

Subsequently, Council Chair Jim Hall sent a letter to Mayor David Coss seeking his endorsement and the mayor responded to the letter and thanked council for their “tremendous generosity” and said that the city would welcome their gift.

Stephani Johnson, Arts in Public Places staff liaison, met with Debra Garcia y Griego, senior planner for the Santa Fe Arts Commission, and Sabrina Pratt, executive director of the Santa Fe Arts Commission, to discuss a path forward.

As a result, Griego y Garcia attended the Sept. 10 Art in Public Places meeting so that she could discuss the project with the Board.

Community Gallery Manager Rod Lambert was also in attendance. During the meeting, both boards agreed that they would make suggestions for appointments to a seven-member ad hoc committee.

Those members will make recommendations to the Boards. Board members from each entity will be represented, as well as a couple of citizens.

Art in Public Places Board Chair John Hofman and Board member Stede Barber are representing the Art in Public Places Board. Chair Hofman will contact a few citizens to test their interest in serving on such a committee.

Originally, County Council wanted to put the sculpture in the Santa Fe Railyard, however, Griego y Garcia said that the City of Santa Fe has a 100 year lease in place with another entity, and placing the sculpture there might not be possible.

In the meantime, Griego y Garcia will check in with the Santa Fe Parks staff to see if they have any suggestions for a visible location where the sculpture could be placed.

Council Vice Chair Robert Gibson is enthusiastic about Council's decision to give the City of Santa Fe a birthday gift.

“This is a birthday gift from the people of Los Alamos to the people of Santa Fe,” he said. “Santa Fe has had such a long, important and colorful existence. I hope it has many, many more years.”

A location for the sculpture will be chosen first, then the ad hoc committee will come together and staff will probably issue an “open call” for artists who might be interested in creating a piece of artwork for the City of Santa Fe.