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Protesters and artist Gilberto Guzman, in blue vest, join hands during a demonstration last year to preserve the mural on the Halpin Building.

The future of a more than 40-year-old mural on Guadalupe Street remains unclear after a day of talks between an artist striving to save the painting and a state agency determined to remove it from a building undergoing renovations.

The state Department of Cultural Affairs and artist Gilberto Guzman, 88, met in a federal court-ordered mediation session Tuesday as part of a legal battle over the artwork, Multi-Cultural, created by Guzman and others in 1980. But neither side would speak about the outcome. 

"Our mediation has concluded, but unfortunately the mediation and outcome terms will have to remain confidential for a bit," Albuquerque-based attorney Penelope Quintero, who represents Guzman, wrote in an email Tuesday.

Daniel Zillmann, a spokesman for the Department of Cultural Affairs, wrote in an email Tuesday that while the mediation did take place, he was not "at liberty to discuss the outcome."

He wrote in an email last week the department's decision was final and the mural would be removed.

U.S. District Judge Kea W. Riggs ordered the mediation after denying the state agency's request to dismiss Guzman's lawsuit seeking to preserve the massive painting on the state-owned Halpin Building. The site is undergoing a renovation to serve as the future Vladem Contemporary art museum. 

Efforts to remove the mural have led to public protests and cries to save it, with critics saying its removal reflects a lack of respect for long-held cultural traditions in the city.

State officials argue the mural, which has lost much of its luster and color over the years, cannot be saved or relocated. But Guzman disagrees.

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(3) comments

Stefanie Beninato

Mediations are generally confidential. However the parties could agree to share the outcome. Not sharing makes one wonder if the issue was resolved or not.

Peter Zabriskie

It personifies Santa Fe's new attitude of "out with the old, in with the new" as seen by the massive construction of new apartments/condo/s - which stress Water/Sewer/Parking/and Crime that are already out of control.

Vince Czarnowski

Why is everything always so secretive in Santa Fe?

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