“I can personally identify with the loneliness that the COVID epoch has bestowed upon us all. It is my hope that through this project, our outreach and art can begin to help restore and serve as another example of how vital community and cooperation are.”
—Jamison Chās Banks

The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts has partnered with artists Eliza Naranjo Morse and Jamison Chās Banks on the collaborative, community-driven project Giving Growth. This project is centered on not only the need to find a place for healing and hope, but also a home for our collective desire to (re)build relationships, honor our elders and future elders, and share beauty. Giving Growth, as a community art project, is dedicated to elevating and nurturing underrepresented voices, intergenerational sharing and creating, and honoring our sense of place and potential for healthy and sustainable growth in mid-town Santa Fe. Giving Growth is based on the idea of the planting, growing, harvesting, and disseminating of seeds and relationships. The project culminates with a public event at the Coe on August 18th, 2022, 5:30-7:30 pm (free admission, open to all).

Through a budding relationship with elders who reside at Ventana de Vida senior housing, Naranjo Morse and Banks will build raised bed planters at both the Coe and Ventana de Vida. Ventana de Vida, a senior community that provides critically needed affordable housing for members of the Santa Fe community, is located down the street from the Coe. While Santa Fe is often seen as a town of retirees, low-income, native-born or lifelong residents are generally ignored in these conversations. The relationship-building between individuals from Ventana de Vida and the Giving Growth artists is a way to expand this dialogue to include these elders and to build meaningful connections between neighbors and generations.

The raised beds will serve to grow and share a variety of local and hardy flowers and edible plants. In conjunction with these gardens and plantings, the artists and the Coe will host a series of relationship-building days with the elders of Ventana de Vida, in which community, care, and honor will be nourished alongside the growing seeds. These moments of growth and intimacy are a reciprocal, creative engagement, a give and take that is actively evolving, but ultimately led by the elders from Ventana and serving as a support system for their knowledge and wisdom.
The evolution of these relationships and growing plants will be documented and serve to inspire creative artworks by Naranjo Morse and Banks. These artworks will be presented at the public event at the Coe on August 18. This immersive, interactive installation including flowers, audio recordings, and printmaking will illustrate the process of growing plants and nurturing human connections.

Giving Growth is an opportunity to highlight the knowledge and voices of elders who live within our communities but are often isolated or ignored—particularly throughout the pandemic. By growing together, this project amplifies the incredible resilience held within our land and our elders. Through sharing the experience with the public, resilience is highlighted so that we all may learn from it.

Eliza Naranjo Morse was raised, lives, and works on, around, and beyond Kha’ po’ Owenge Land. She has participated in creative activity individually, communally, nationally, and internationally for more than twenty years. These efforts are centered around community relationships as well as cultural care and vibrancy. Naranjo Morse gathers a perspective from many sources including ongoing relationships with her elders and environment, cartoons, history, and world news. She is also deeply inspired by knowledge systems that work with compassion, creativity, and Indigenous values. Naranjo Morse’s tangible artworks are articulations of navigating the human experience within a cultural and global experience.

Jamison Chās Banks is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates films, paintings, performances, and installations. His works often explore the history of war and territorial expansion, both literal and psychological. Banks appropriates and alters symbols employed in propaganda and popular culture and redeploys them in contexts that subvert their original meanings. He usually begins with an area of investigation that spawns a series of interrelated artworks in different media. Banks is currently an Adjunct Instructor in the Studio Arts Department at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and has been with IAIA since 2012. He is a citizen of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma. Banks is also a descendant of Oklahoma Cherokee and Ioway Tribal members respectively. Banks earned a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2012.