Giving Growth

by | Jun 21, 2022 | Coe Collaborations, Exhibitions, Project Space

“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.

July 19, 2022

I wanted to send everyone a lovely mid-summer update on Giving Growth, our summer program. The project, led by Eliza Naranjo Morse and Jamison Chas Banks, has been one of beauty, growth, and relationships. Over the past few months, we have worked together to build our new raised bed gardens, both here and at our neighbor’s Ventana de Vida. Eliza has planted over a hundred flower plants on her land in Espanola. And we have hosted three powerful and intimate gatherings for elders living at Ventana here at the Coe. They have brought their own artworks to share, as well as stories, conversations, and deep appreciation for our engagement. When you next come by you will be able to see not only the thriving plants but also the wonderful artworks by one of our Ventana friends, ninety-year-old Tom McGrath, mounted on our fence. These gatherings will continue on over the next months and, we are all hoping, far beyond that. See the photos below for a little sampling.

Eliza and Jamison are preparing their immersive installation which will occupy the Project Space for our celebration event on Thursday, August 18th, 5:30-7:30. Please make sure to mark your calendars. We know this is the busiest of times, but we promise it will be a stunning evening! We will have a performance by the incredible Albuquerque-based band Lindy Vision, Saya’s Frybread and Indian Tacos, and Axle Contemporary, so really an event not to be missed!

In addition to all of this bounty, we have been thrilled to have received incredibly generous support for the project through a $5,000 City of Santa Fe Arts and Culture department grant and in-kind donations from Reunity Resources, Alpine Builders Supply, Santa Fe Audio Visual, and Copy Shack. And to top it all off, I have successfully pitched the project to a writer at Hyperallergic who will be writing a piece on Giving Growth that will come out sometime in September!

All my very best,

—Bess Murphy 

Giving Growth Write-Up!
September 28, 2022

Have you read the latest write-up on Giving Growth?

Chelsea Weathers from HYPERALLERGIC:

“…surrounded by the glinting lights and the seasonal full moons, watching people kneel to examine the small mound of earth, I understood also that this is the time for our collective healing, an opportunity for us to come together and take care of one another after years of neglect and loss.”

First Friday, October 7th from 1:00 – 4:00 PM will be the LAST day to experience this incredible exhibition!

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