Contact Info

201 W. Marcy St.
PO Box 909
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 5:30 pm

Sign up for our newsletter to receive program opportunities and updates! 

Youth Arts Work

The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission is committed to supporting a continuum of opportunities for youth to benefit from our community's cultural resources. Our work centers on five key areas:

  • Developing and expanding the capacity of young people to thrive.
  • Ensuring all students have access to in-school and/or after-school arts education programs; be a resource for such programs.
  • Strengthening the role of culture in education.
  • Fostering the development of mentoring, internship, and apprenticeship programs in the creative sector.
  • Partnering with youth organizations and agencies across our community.


Some of the programs and services we provide in support of these areas are:

  • The Youth Culture Passport program provides free access to cultural events and attractions throughout the summer and winter holidays.
  • Free and low-cost, family-friendly programming throughout the summer via Southside Summer.
  • Funding for public art projects that engage young people through IGNITE.
  • Exhibits and programming in the Community Gallery.
  • Financial investment in ArtWorks, a program of Partners in Education Foundation for the Santa Fe Public Schools.
  • Presentation of the annual Melissa Engestrom Youth Artist Award as part of the Mayor's Arts Awards.
  • Grant support for arts learning projects and educational opportunities through our Cultural Investment Program partners.


Melissa Engestrom Youth Arts Award

Each year, the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission acknowledges the accomplishments of a young artist, 21 years or younger, who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to their craft and outstanding community services. The Melissa Engestrom Youth Arts Award is presented annually at the Mayor's Arts Awards. Past recipients have achieved professional success in the arts and other areas. 

This year's winner is Peyton Ellis. Through her leadership and hard work within The Convergence Project, a Santa Fe-based youth-led community program engaging teens through the arts, Peyton assists in projects that create opportunities for young performing artists, writers, and entrepreneurs from numerous schools in Santa Fe and the state. She has recruited adult mentors willing to volunteer their time to help with projects like the Oasis Music Festival (now in its fourth year), black light parties at Meow Wolf, and master classes at NDI-NM, among others. 

Her songwriting and storytelling talents have given Peyton a compelling voice to the angst, confusion, and social pressure plaguing all young people trying to navigate the road to adulthood.

Peyton uses her powerful singing voice in the name of social causes, such as performances at Santa Fe Pride events and the Roundhouse in the name of children separated from their families during immigration.


Melissa Houston Engestrom was a longtime supporter of the arts in Santa Fe. Engestrom worked for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Gerald Peters Gallery. From 1990-94, she served as Development Director for the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. Over her career, she also worked for Santa Fe Preparatory School and Helen Hunt, a philanthropist. Engestrom was a City of Santa Fe Arts Commissioner from 1992 until her passing in 1997. Her family and the Commission named the annual youth artists award presented at the Mayor's Arts Awards in her honor.


Click Here to view the Past Melissa Engestrom Youth Award Recipients


Youth Arts Exhibit

The City of Santa Fe Arts & Culture Department’s Community Gallery program accepts proposals from community organizations specializing in youth art programs to feature their artwork in the Community Gallery. The Community Gallery hosts an annual featured gallery exhibit from late January through late February every year that casts light on the important and inspiring work of youth arts in our community. The program aims to expand opportunities for young people to participate in cultural activities in our community and promote/coordinate opportunities for lifelong arts learning.



Proposed exhibits should run no longer than four weeks, based on the availability of the Gallery schedule.

Participating organizations will provide no fewer than 50 (but no more than 130) pieces of original youth art for display. Both 2D and 3D artworks are encouraged.

Artwork will be delivered by the sponsoring organization to the Gallery on a specified drop-off date (to be arranged between the Gallery and the sponsoring organization). Sorry, but we cannot accept late artwork. All artwork will be labeled, including artist, class, and spatial orientation (landscape v. portrait).

A template MS Excel document will be provided to organizations to complete with relevant information so we may produce exhibit labels.

Participating organizations may provide flyers for marketing.

An organization should designate a single point of contact for coordinating the exhibit with Community Gallery staff.

Organizations are responsible for the marketing and publicity of exhibition-related events (opening, etc.) to their members and constituency.

Exhibit materials must be picked up from the Community Gallery within a week of the exhibit's closing. 


Application Process

Interested organizations should submit the following:

A brief (two-page maximum) description of the organization and its youth work in the community, including outreach to diverse populations

A point of contact to be responsible for the implementation of the exhibit program, including organization/delivery of artworks for display, maintenance of digital inventory of artworks, and management of marketing/publicity of exhibit event

Up to five images of examples of past artwork that are representative of the organization's work.


Selection Criteria

Quality of the artwork produced through the program approach

Distinctiveness and uniqueness of the program approach

Demonstrated organizational capacity to meet exhibit requirements


Selection Committee

All eligible submissions will be reviewed by a committee of members of the Art in Public Places and Youth Arts committees. The City reserves the right to change the selection committee. Organizations that have exhibited in the Community Gallery within the past two years are ineligible to participate.

Please note that proposal materials will not be returned.



Please call the City of Santa Fe Arts & Culture Department at 505-955-6707 or email


Youth Poet Laureate Program

In partnership with the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the Arts and Culture Department is a member of the National Youth Poet Laureate Program with 42 other programs around the country that highlights our local young people and their creativity. Click Here for information and to apply. 

Click Here for more on the National Youth Poet Laureate Program.