The New Mexico Department of Culture is making progress with its plan to remove an iconic mural in downtown Santa Fe that supporters have fought for for more than a year.
The crews have a tarpaulin over the mural with the title Multiculturalpainted on the side of the former Halpin building on the corner of South Guadalupe Street and Montezuma Avenue.
“The renovation process on the east wall has begun,” said agency spokesman Daniel Zillmann in an email. “The window inserts were removed on Wednesday and the construction netting was installed on Friday morning.”
The mural – painted by Chicano artist Gilberto Guzman and others in the 1980s – will fall when the crews transform the building into the Vladem Contemporary, a museum that will showcase modern art.
Numerous local residents have protested the state’s decision to demolish the mural, citing another example of gentrification in the city’s Railyard neighborhood.
In March, Guzman urged a federal judge to prevent the state from removing the mural, but the court denied the request in part because the artist was unable to demonstrate that destroying the mural would cause irreparable harm to him.
Although Guzman’s lawsuit is still going through the legal system, supporters admitted the mural is likely to fall.
“We still have a glimmer of hope,” said Theresa Sanchez, a Guzman liaison, in a telephone interview on Saturday. “We think the artist still has some rights, but we don’t know. It must be determined or agreed by the judge. So it’s still a bit on the limbo side. “
“Does it feel good when that is simply wiped away and doesn’t have the feeling that he and his employees could redo the mural? It feels kind of empty, feels kind of sad to the Santa Fe community and heritage part, ”she added.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Culture, the mural “will be retired as part of the renovation and the museum plans to honor the mural and its history with an exhibition inside.”