Contact Info

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

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

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Arts and Culture Staff

Chelsey Johnson

Sharla Russell
Deputy Director

Melissa Velasquez
Arts Services Coordinator

John Dikinson
Gallery Manager

Yaz Haldeman
Project Specialist


About Us

We provide leadership by and for the City to support arts and cultural affairs; we recommend policies and programs that develop and promote artistic excellence in our community. Through the lens of Culture Connects: Roadmap, we advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to the arts and culture of our City.

Our Values


We welcome the participation of artists, nonprofits, businesses, educators, and the public in our work. We serve as a resource to them and are dedicated to facilitating discussions considering all viewpoints.


We are dedicated to leadership that advances the arts in Santa Fe and to serving as a true community organization, partner, and collaborator.


We embrace forward-thinking policy approaches that result in innovative, imaginative, synergistic programming and create economic sustainability in our community. 


We demonstrate professionalism and fairness in our work, are informed and prepared on issues affecting our community and are diligent and culturally aware in our decision-making.


We are knowledgeable and discerning about arts and creativity in Santa Fe. We remain informed of local and national trends in the arts and actively develop our understanding of and engagement with all art forms.


“Culture embodies the shared complex and diverse heritage of a community, including its tangible and intangible virtues…It is the quiet and restless imagination that becomes expression, from which emanates writing, song, performance, painting, sculpture, cuisine, dance, design, and story. When recognized, coalesced, and leveraged, culture is transformative. It ignites creativity, consciousness, and capacity."

-Culture Connects Roadmap


Focus Areas

Youth Arts

  • Support a continuum of opportunities for youth to benefit from our community’s cultural resources.
  • Ensure all students have access to in-school and after-school arts education programs; be a resource for such programs.
  • Foster the development of mentoring, internship, and apprenticeship programs in the creative sector.
  • Partner with youth organizations and agencies across our community.

Economic Growth

  • Develop strategies that advance our community’s cultural assets for long-term viability and profitability.
  • Provide stewardship of our cultural resources and responsible promotion of the Santa Fe brand.
  • Coordinate efforts that market our multiple accessible arts activities to increase visitors and attract the creative industry to our community.
  • Offer micro-grants to support the development of new cultural resources and nontraditional/cross-discipline activities.
  • Build infrastructure and capacity to support a thriving creative economy.

Creative Spaces

  • Sustain spaces throughout our entire community that promotes creative dialogue and exchange.
  • Identify and activate a network of creative spaces throughout our community, focusing on existing and nontraditional venues.
  • Support the development of authentic places across our city for people to live, work and gather formally and informally.
  • Prioritize the creative sector in community development; ensure adequate infrastructure for creativity.
  • Cultivate projects and programs that activate public spaces through creativity and the arts.


  • Provide all Santa Feans access to and participation in the creative life of our community.
  • Survey and assess the cultural needs of the community.
  • Facilitate discussion and collaboration to encourage participation in the arts by everyone in the community.
  • Galvanize cross-disciplinary programming that builds on existing public events and venues across our city.
  • Enhance infrastructure and outreach that boost participation in arts and cultural activities.


Arts Commissioners

The Arts Commission, an advisory committee to the Governing Body, is made up of nine volunteer Commissioners appointed by the Mayor and the City Council. Commissioners represent a broad range of talents, skills, and experience.

Commissioner Raashan Ahmad is an emcee, producer, DJ, label owner, and internationally touring musician who combines his story and stance on social, political, and cultural issues via spoken work (in all of its forms) with various rhythms and music from across the globe.  His career as a recording artist spans close to two decades.  He has released six studio albums, toured over 35 countries, collaborated with the national orchestra in Bogota, Columbia, and the symphony in Warsaw, Poland and has garnered critical acclaim from the worldwide press (RFI, XXL, BBC, France 24, Urb, Pan African Music, Rolling Stone, etc.).  Raashan is also a cultural worker rooted in racial/social justice and culture as a tool for education and community building.  In Santa Fe, he has served as a youth mentor, organizer of an annual back-to-school drive and food drive, and facilitated fundraisers for various teachers and classrooms.  In addition, he is currently Co-Executive Director at Vital Spaces, Co-Founder of Earthseed Black Arts Alliance, voted "Best DJ" in Santa Fe, a director and producer for various video projects, and a promoter for storytelling events as well as an ongoing assortment of community dance events that focus on bringing different sections of the city together.


Commissioner Paul Hultin is a lawyer, water and climate activist, and an advocate for artists and the Santa Fe arts community. After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he moved to Denver, where he had a national civil trial practice. Since moving to Santa Fe, he has limited his legal work to public interest water and climate litigation, advocacy, and legal representation of local and international artists. He served as a Board Member and Board Chair of the Center for Contemporary Arts from 2013 to 2018. He was an associate producer of Sembene!, an award-winning documentary about Ousmane Sembene, the father of African cinema, that screened at more than 50 film festivals worldwide. One of Paul's primary interests is the intersection of art and environmental justice and how art can tell universal stories that illuminate our troubled relationships with the environment and with each other.


Commissioner Marcia Mikulak is a concert pianist with a Bachelor of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Master of Fine Art in music performance from Mills College in Oakland, California. Dr. Mikulak received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. She created and directed Santa Fe Research, an organization dedicated to the investigation of learning and potential in children, examining ways in which children diagnosed with 'learning disabilities' could reach their own unique potentials. Her pioneering fieldwork in Minas Gerais, Brazil, working with street children, incorporated experimental musical instruments, improvisational techniques, theater, and storytelling. She has been a Brazil country specialist with Amnesty International since 2007 and is currently a Brazil consultant for Amnesty International. Dr. Mikulak has several publications, and her most recent is "Childhood Unmasked: The Agency of Brazil's Street and Working Children," published in 2015 with Cognella Academic Publishing. She is currently Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of North Dakota's Department of Anthropology. 


Commissioner Karl Duncan is the Executive Director of the Poeh Cultural Center at the Pueblo of Pojoaque. Karl is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he received a BA in Museum Studies and is currently part of the first cohort for the MFA program in Cultural Administration at IAIA. Karl has worked as the Curator for the Buffalo Thunder Resort Art Collection. He serves as Vice-President of the Continuous Pathways Foundation and a board member of Buffalo Thunder Incorporated and Silver Bullet Productions. Since his arrival at the Poeh, Karl facilitated the return of a historic collection of 100 pieces of Tewa Pueblo pottery on long-term loan from the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of the American Indian. He is a youth mentor with the Boys & Girls Club in Pojoaque, helping coordinate and teach Native American hoop dancing.


Commissioner Andrew Lovato Co-Chair is a Santa Fe native and has been a professor for the past 38 years at The College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Community College, and The Institute of American Indian Arts. He recently retired from full-time teaching. He received his Ph.D. in Intercultural Communication from the University of New Mexico. He was a Fulbright Scholar in 2018. He is the author of several books on Santa Fe and New Mexico's history and culture. He has taught guitar for over 30 years at Santa Fe Community College. He was Santa Fe City Historian in 2018-2019. 



Commissioner Heidi McKinnon is a museum consultant who has worked for twenty years to support cultural heritage, social cohesion, and systemic change as a curator, writer, public speaker, and social entrepreneur, working on issues of historical memory, indigenous history, human rights, and women's rights throughout Latin America. In 1996, Heidi began her career working with artisans and culture bearers for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife Studies for the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program. In 1999 she became part of the curatorial team for the inaugural exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution/National Museum of the American Indian, which opened in 2004.

Ms. McKinnon served as the founding Director of Exhibitions and Planning for the Museum of Freedom and Human Rights in Panama City, Panama, which opened in 2019. She created the inaugural exhibitions as well as the planning and visioning documents for the museum,

In 2020, Ms. McKinnon opened Heritage by Hand, a lifestyle brand focused on handmade work from across Latin America, where Heidi takes her museum experience to the retail arena mixing her personal interests in cultural preservation and environmental sustainability.


Commissioner Robyne Robinson is the Principal Consultant for fiveXfive Public Art, a firm that brands a strong business identity with the community through the arts. The former Director of Arts @ MSP, Robyne, developed arts and culture programming at MSP International Airport, generating over 5 million dollars for the Minnesota arts community through commissions, exhibitions, and programming at the nation’s 16th largest airport. Her work at MSP has received praise from transportation writers and national media, including The New York Times. Robyne is well-known as an Emmy-winning news broadcaster in the Twin Cities and the first African American prime-time anchor in Minnesota. During that time, she also produced and hosted the first nightly arts and entertainment segment in a major newscast – The Buzz – which resulted in international press coverage and one of the first interviews and lengthy relationships with Prince. Robyne is the creative mind behind ROX Jewelry Designs, sold throughout the US, Greece, and London. Her work is on display at the Lewis Museum of African American Art in Baltimore, fine art galleries in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and has been featured in US and UK magazines. Robyne has received numerous honors, including being selected as a 2010 candidate for Lt. Governor, a Hubert Humphrey fellow at the University of Minnesota, and the critically praised curator and owner of Flatland Gallery (2000-2003). She rounds out her list of awards with her recent induction into Minnesota’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame–another milestone as the first African American honoree.

Commissioner Winoka Yepa (she/her/asdzaan), is Diné, originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, located on the Navajo Nation/Dinétah. Ms. Yepa brings a wealth of experience from the arts, museum, education, and Indigenous research fields. Ms. Yepa was formerly the Senior Manager of Museum Education at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, where she re-established and developed the museum’s education program and curated the museum’s first series of virtual residencies, virtual exhibitions, and first mobile application. She is currently a Data and Research Associate with Native Americans in Philanthropy and is a doctoral candidate in Education at the University of New Mexico. Ms. Yepa also serves as an advisory board member for Imagining America, a Humanities Advisor for gallupARTS, and an Education and Community Programming Advisor for Tse’Nato’. Her original position as alternate to the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission was unanimously approved at the Governing Body meeting held on August 31, 2022.

Commissioner Anne Wrinkle, Co-Chair, is an independent consultant in cultural communications, marketing, fundraising, and events for museums and non-profits.  She served as a senior staff member at the contemporary art museum SITE Santa Fe in several capacities, including External Affairs, Development, and Public Relations for almost 20 years, as it grew from a scrappy, spirited and ambitious youngster to a sophisticated, mature and integral community asset, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020.  Throughout her extensive career in the art world, she has expressed a passionate commitment to supporting and serving extraordinary artists and helping share their unique perspectives with the people of Santa Fe and the world.  Prior to moving to Santa Fe from New York City, Anne held positions at The Drawing Center, Michael Werner Gallery, and Livet Reichard Co., an arts marketing/PR firm with clients including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Martha Graham Dance Company, AmFAR, and NARAL, among others.  She holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MA in Art History from Hunter College, CUNY. She was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art.