The Center for Contemporary Arts has come a long way from hosting gallery shows in the lobby of the former National Guard Armory back in 1978. First called the Armory for the Arts by members of the Rising Sun Media Arts collective, the center was founded by Bob Gaylor, Linda Klosky, Alton Walpole, and others as a grassroots organization to promote visual and performing arts. It was re-christened Center for Contemporary Arts the following year, and has since acquired a much bigger footprint. The center’s Tank Garage Gallery can accommodate large-scale exhibitions. Its Cinematheque has two screens. And in 2018, it assumed operations at The Screen, the art-house theater on the campus of the former Santa Fe University of Art and Design (1600 St. Michael’s Drive).
Now in its 40th year as the CCA, the long-running arts nonprofit boasts more than 65,000 visitors annually. CCA invites the community to come celebrate its birthday with a weekend-long series of events.
Things get rolling with a 6 p.m. birthday bash in the Tank Garage on Friday, Sept. 6, called Past, Present, Future. The event features renowned hip-hop artist Raashan Ahmad as the evening’s DJ. Local vendors will be selling wares, food trucks offer up tasty morsels, and each ticket holder gets one free drink to get the fun started. The cost is $15.
At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, enjoy a variety of New Mexico fare in a gourmet buffet at CCA’s Turning 40 gala, also in the Tank Garage. The event includes cocktails and a live auction with some remarkable items on offer, including a seven-night Alaskan cruise for two, a four-night stay in Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel during Art Basel Miami Beach in December, an original work of art by mixed media artist Judy Tuwaletstiwa, and more. The cost is $150 per person. Tickets for the gala and Friday night birthday bash are available online at ccasantafe.org or at the door.
The weekend concludes with a morning and afternoon filled with family-friendly activities at CCA’s community day event, starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8. Participate in hands-on arts and crafts projects, group yoga, and more. There will be chalk drawing, community mural painting, an interactive circus performance by Wise Fool New Mexico, and screenings of the 2001 Oscar-nominated documentary Winged Migration and Buster Keaton’s silent 1924 classic Sherlock, Jr. All Sunday events are free. CCA is located at 1050 Old Pecos Trail. For a complete schedule of events visit ccasantafe.org. Call 505-982-1338 for more information.