A city selection committee has recommended an Albuquerque-based organization called Artful Life to oversee Santa Fe's public discussions on controversial artwork and monuments such as the obelisk in the Plaza.
Dubbed the Culture, History, Art, Reconciliation and Truth process, the proposal went through a number of iterations before being approved by City Council in January.
According to its website, Artful Life is dedicated to "transformational change through the beauty and power of creative collaboration."
The group was founded in 2015 by Valerie Martinez, a Santa Fe native, educator and former Santa Fe poet laureate.
She has also served as director of history and literary arts at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and was involved in discussions surrounding Santa Fe's decision to end the divisive Entrada pageant.
If selected, the organization would start by gathering public input and forming a CHART team, Martinez said.
"We do understand that this also needs to be courageous," she said. "We are dealing with complex issues and we are at a critical juncture. The healing process needs to not only come from compassionate connections, but also address some of the complex issues the city is facing."
The contract for the CHART facilitator must make its way through the committee process, first starting with the Finance Committee on Tuesday. The City Council is expected to vote on the contract July 14.
According to a fact sheet provided by the city, surveys, one-on-one interviews and community dialogue sessions are slated to begin in October. The city has budgeted around $265,000 for the CHART process.
For many, the discussions will focus on what to do with the remains of the obelisk, which was decried by some as racist for long-removed wording that referred to "savage Indians." The monument was toppled on Indigenous Peoples Day by a group of protesters.
The public discussions will also center on what to do with a statue of Don Diego de Vargas, a Spanish conquistador who is both honored and reviled.
The city removed the de Vargas statue from Cathedral Park last summer when monuments and historical markers were thrust to the forefront of the national dialogue.