SITE Santa Fe was formed December 21, 1992, as a nonprofit contemporary arts organization committed to nurturing innovation, discovery, and inspiration through the art of today. 

 

History

SITE Santa Fe offers artists opportunities to innovate and pursue extraordinary ideas through exhibitions and programs that engage and inspire our audiences. Since 1995, SITE Santa Fe has presented more than 119 exhibitions and works by over 800 artists. Annually, SITE Santa Fe presents 3-4 exhibitions, dozens of unique public programs, and a range of highly sought-after programs for young people. SITE Santa Fe’s exhibitions and programs bring the most important voices and talented artists working today to Santa Fe. SITE Santa Fe presents artists from all over the world, while also supporting locally based artists with career development opportunities and with significant exhibition opportunities (approximately 20% of the artists we show each year are based in New Mexico).

In October 2017, SITE Santa Fe welcomed audiences to a new building designed by SHoP Architects. Over the course of twelve months, SITE Santa Fe renovated and expanded its original beer-warehouse home, creating a space that has reinvented the institution and brings distinctive architecture to Santa Fe’s landscape. The new building has allowed the organization to increase its capacity to engage the city of Santa Fe and beyond with dramatic new spaces for art, programming, and gathering.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, SITE Santa Fe was forced to close its doors to the public in mid-March 2020, just as it was about to open Displaced: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis. SITE Santa Fe reopened its doors with limited capacity in September 2020.

In 2020, SITE Santa Fe marked 25 years as one of the most unique and influential contemporary art spaces in the United States, and in 2021, Louis Grachos was appointed as Phillips Executive Director. Moving forward under Louis Grachos’ leadership, SITE Santa Fe continues the strong tradition of an “artist-centric” philosophy. SITE Santa Fe provides opportunities for artists, scholars, and curators to investigate new ideas, and offers a space where audiences can experience, engage, and learn through contemporary art. As a laboratory for exploration and expansion on the definition of contemporary art, SITE Santa Fe is committed to growing its multidisciplinary public programming and will continue to present leading thinkers, artists, and practitioners engaging with contemporary culture in all disciplines.

SITE Santa Fe prioritizes ongoing evaluation to determine best practices and to effectively serve audiences through programming, staffing, and board governance. SITE Santa Fe moves forward with the belief that a multiplicity of voices is what makes a strong community and is committed to growth, ongoing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility work, and the development of relationships, connections, and collaborations with organizations across New Mexico and beyond.

SITE Santa Fe’s Biennial

When SITE Santa Fe opened in 1995, it launched what was then the only international biennial of contemporary art in the United States and one of only a handful of biennials around the world. Since these early years, SITE Santa Fe’s Biennial has been its signature exhibition and the most nationally and internationally visible part of its programming. In the 20 years since the Biennial was launched, the landscape of the international contemporary art world has expanded, bringing a proliferation of biennials worldwide. Looking to reinvigorate the biennial model, in 2011, SITE Santa Fe’s Biennial was reimagined to focus on the Western Hemisphere and bring a greater understanding of Santa Fe’s place in the Americas; invite new and more culturally diverse perspectives to the curatorial table; and build an infrastructure at SITE Santa Fe to support long-term research and new artist commissions. This Biennial series, titled SITElines, was launched in 2014 with SITElines.2014: Unsettled Landscapes, and was followed by SITElines.2016: much wider than a line, and SITElines.2018: casa tomada (house taken over). In 2022, following a pause in the Biennial cycle, SITE Santa Fe began a series of strategic conversations designed to evaluate the importance of a large-scale international exhibition within the context of SITE’s program, institutional values, and goals. Furthermore, these sessions are guided in part by consideration of the tremendous potential for ground-breaking creative collaborations and important institutional partnerships that will continue to make SITE Santa Fe’s Biennial a unique destination event.

SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas

In 2011, SITE Santa Fe began a multi-year commitment to a series of linked biennial exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art and cultural production of the Americas. Bringing new perspectives to the curatorial table and building infrastructure to support long-term research and new artist commissions, SITElines officially launched in 2014 with Unsettled Landscapes, followed by much wider than a line in 2016, and Casa tomada in 2018, each organized by a different team of curators from locations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

View Past Biennials

SITE Santa Fe’s Education Programs

In addition to staging exhibitions and public programs, for the past two decades SITE Santa Fe has stepped into the significant void that exists in arts education in New Mexico schools. SITE Santa Fe’s Education department provides programs that connect students (elementary through college) directly with contemporary art and artists, reaches students often overlooked by traditional museum education programs, and gives teachers vital tools to bring arts programming back into their classrooms with meaningful links to their daily lessons. Today, SITE Santa Fe’s student education programs are some of the most innovative and sought-after in New Mexico. Students are engaged in high-quality structured arts programs that encourage self-confidence, learning skills, critical thinking, and teamwork. SITE Santa Fe’s programs provide a diverse range of students with meaningful opportunities to engage with artists who are creating works that address themes and ideas relevant to contemporary lives.