The New Mexico Museum of Art is slated to open a second location in Santa Fe with a focus on contemporary art. The former Halpin State Archives Center in the Santa Fe Railyard District will be converted into the new annex, set to open to visitors in 2020.

Philanthropists Ellen and Bob Vladem gave a gift of $4 million to the project. As a result, the building will be called the Vladem Contemporary.

The railyard facility will present ambitious contemporary exhibitions, showcase working artists and celebrate the diversity of art created in the area. It will continue to connect Santa Fe and New Mexico to contemporary art worldwide.

“We now have momentous support to exhibit and grow our contemporary collections,” said Veronica Gonzales, secretary of the state Department of Cultural Affairs. “The visionary design of the architects honors the old and embraces the new. The new Vladem Contemporary will be a gateway, not only to the Railyard District and its thriving contemporary art scene, but also to the museum’s first location on the Santa Fe Plaza.”

Mary Kershaw, director of the New Mexico Museum of Art, said the new venue’s great industrial aesthetic will offer a perfect size and scale for contemporary art. It will be used to present ambitious contemporary exhibitions, showcase working artists, and provide space for expanded group programs.

The iconic New Mexico Museum of Art’s 1917 building on the Santa Fe Plaza will focus on celebrating the state’s dynamic collection of 20th-century art and photography of the Southwest, and continue to serve as a hub for community events and performances.

At its founding, the museum provided a venue for living artists to exhibit their work. Santa Fe became a cultural destination known for the contemporary art of its day in the Southwest. As a result of the Centennial Campaign, the museum will operate at a level comparable to its founding in 1917, and in line with standards expected of top art institutions today

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