In the Summer of 2023, the New Mexico Museum of Art will open its highly anticipated exhibition space, Vladem Contemporary, in Santa Fe’s Railyard District. Those who remember the Railyard as a dusty parking lot for locomotives often marvel at the speed of its transformation into a vibrant community gathering space. There’s a LEED-certified farmer’s market building, retail and entertainment options, and ample green space to enjoy. As changes continue, so do debates about the area’s rapid gentrification.

The Vladem enters this chat as a modern complement to the NMMA’s historic location on the Plaza, a dynamic new facility featuring established and emerging contemporary artists. Most importantly, the space will deepen conversations between the institution and community regarding New Mexico’s multicultural artistic heritage. 

Encounter Culture host Charlotte Jusinski spoke with Katie Doyle, assistant curator at the New Mexico Museum of Art, and Cristina González, an artist whose work will adorn the Window Box gallery, an exterior-facing exhibition space at the corner of Montezuma Avenue and Guadalupe Street. The trio discuss what it means for NMMA to set up in the Railyard, what folks can expect from Vladem, and the ever-evolving nature of public art.

“I love our old 1917 museum!” says Katie. “But there are going to be ways to interact with [the Vladem] that are impossible in our Plaza space.” To be clear, the “old museum” isn’t going anywhere; it’s expanding its reach by way of a state-of-the-art gallery, workshop, and educational facility in one of Santa Fe’s most exciting neighborhoods. Think of it as one museum, two locations. 

The Vladem will offer guests and casual passersby greater, and in many cases free, access to art through innovations like the Window Box, a nine-by-five foot storefront-like space at the corner of Montezuma Avenue and Guadalupe Street. As part of its inaugural display, the museum invited Cristina to create a new work for the Window Box. “I’m activating the space from the ceiling down to the floor with vertical scrolls,” she explains. In “Apapachado la Matria,” the artist fuses several fine art techniques in a complex exploration of her intrapersonal relationship to the soul and connection to her female ancestors in Mexico.

Change, while not without its challenges, is a vital component of growth. The Vladem Contemporary’s Railyard expansion signals the museum’s future-forward commitment to Santa Fe and the power of collaborative public programming.

CORRECTION: The neighborhood around Santa Fe’s Railyard was called the Barrio de Guadalupe, not the Barrio Analco, as mentioned in this episode. We apologize.

The New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary is scheduled to open in the Summer of 2023. Learn more about the historic Lamy Branch Railroad in a two-part story in the Winter 2021 and Spring 2022 editions of El Palacio Magazine. Check out CristinaGonzá for more information about the artist and her work. Katie Doyle’s first museum-curated show at the Plaza Building is “To Make, Unmake, and Make Again.” It’s a ceramic-focused exhibition about ceramic artist Rick Dillingham, and it opens on October 6th, 2023.


Cristina González – Inaugural Artist, Window Box Project At New Mexico Museum Of Art Vladem Contemporary

“I’m very interested in how art education can impact communities, individual students, but also communities.”

“This is a really thick and dense and difficult time in our country and in New Mexico, so there’s always that ‘what’s my relationship to those questions?'” 

“It’s interesting for a community that is so deeply committed to the arts, I’m surprised that we don’t have more publicly funded art and not just singular pieces.”

“The New Mexico Museum of Art at the Vladem and SITE Santa Fe I know they’re very keen, and other partners in the Railyard [on] how to attract audiences to this space and make it known that this is for everyone.”

“For me, in my practice, I’m always thinking about a public conversation. That’s the nature of my work, and that’s the nature of my particular practice.”

Katie Doyle – Assistant Curator, New Mexico Museum of Art

“A successful piece of public artwork, in my eyes, is responsive to a contemporary cultural issue, something that any one person who could be a member of the public holds dear.”

“Public art isn’t always for everyone. Even though it is for everyone, you can still speak to a specific audience within that everyone.”

“It’s very important coming out of the gate that we show up, and not just in, you know, architecture and art, but also through programming. And the plazuela outside of the window box is gonna offer so many beautiful opportunities for programming that happens, like, on the street.”

“That’s really what makes this space unique is that it kind of offers something to the greater conversation of public art that a lot of spaces don’t, or a lot of public art pieces don’t.”


SITE Santa Fe
Gilberto Guzman mural

Leo Villareal

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Encounter Culture, a production of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, is produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios.

Hosted by Charlotte Jusinski, Editor at El Palacio Magazine

Technical Director: Edwin R. Ruiz

Recording Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe

Executive Producer:  Daniel Zillmann

Show Notes: Lisa Widder

Associate Editor: Helen King

Associate Producer: Alex Riegler

Theme Music: D’Santi Nava

Instagram: @newmexicancultureFor more, visit

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