Turning to the Community for Support
The far reaching impact of the global economic recession is challenging the mission of one of Santa Fe's landmark youth development organizations, Warehouse 21 (W21) the Santa Fe Teen Arts Center. Like most other non-profit organizations, Warehouse 21 has experienced a general downturn in funding from donors, grantors and earned revenues. Today, Warehouse 21 announces the launch of a new community campaign seeking direct support as it begins to celebrate the third year in its new facility and its 14th Anniversary on the Santa Fe Railyard.
Warehouse 21's Executive Director, Ana Gallegos y Reinhardt, states, "Why Warehouse 21? Why now? It's all about our City's young people. They are our future." Specifically, W21 believes that youth are the hope and promise of the creative economy in Santa Fe. Warehouse 21's mission for more than a decade has been to be a hub for youth development, nurturing and strengthening emerging creative talent and entrepreneurism. Many Warehouse 21 alumni credit the organization with launching their arts career, and many of these alumni return to mentor other young artists.
Since 1997, Warehouse 21 has served thousands of Santa Fe area youth by providing mentored learning and entrepreneurial programs in the Performing, Visual and Media Arts. Warehouse 21 is recognized as an effective and innovative youth arts organization in Santa Fe and has received numerous awards including the Coming Up Taller Awards from the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and W21 was selected as the Best Nonprofit in 2009 by the Santa Fe Reporter.
Warehouse 21 offers affordable programs and events in its Concert Hall, Black Box Theater, Media Lab, Fashion Design Studio, the Eli Farmer Recording Studio, the Flying Cow Gallery and in its Screen Printing Studio. With a small staff of two Directors, youth interns, mentors and volunteers, W21 has produced in this fiscal year over 100 youth-driven events and has conducted a variety of workshops in the arts and entrepreneurism. W21 has also hosted 186 other events involving 85 unique entities through rentals and collaborative projects, direct evidence of the community's need for W21's resources.
Greg Malone, Warehouse 21's Director of Programs and Operations, noted the organization's move into a larger facility in the Railyard District in 2008 provided greater capacity for programs. He said that increased operating costs came with the new, expanded space, but funding sources during the current economic climate have not been able to keep pace with programming, marketing, core support and facility needs. "We have recently had to cut back hours of operation, though W21 will continue to offer ongoing programming while it evolves its long-range sustainability plans. We believe we are taking appropriate steps to adapt to this recession. Now we need to ask for the community's help," Malone said.
In addition to fundraising, Warehouse 21 is addressing the costs of doing business. Measures being taken include further cutting its operating budget, searching for compatible partners to share its program facilities, and developing collaborations with other youth service providers in the area to pool resources and to take advantage of mutual synergies. A recent energy assessment from the City also helped W21 identify ways to cut utility costs, although the building is generally energy efficient due to its modern design.
Warehouse 21 is solid in its commitment to youth and is moving forward aided by $65,000 in recently awarded local grants and other pending grants in the pipeline. The various grants provide partial funding for direct services to youth, an evaluation of a youth services collaborative in Santa Fe, program marketing and youth employment. However, access to most of these grants is still months out and program grants typically do not include much funding for general operations. Because of this, Warehouse 21 is dealing with an immediate shortfall of $105,000 which it needs in order to bridge its funding gap.
"We remain optimistic and are determined to be resilient during these tough times," says Gallegos y Reinhardt, a recent recipient of the Governor's Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women. "Our youth deserve a place like Warehouse 21 and the opportunities it provides them. The future of our City and its economic base will continue to benefit from our efforts."
Warehouse 21 is open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays in the afternoons and evenings. The organization's website contains detailed hours of operation, information about how to make a donation, and special announcements.