May 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Santa Fe Complex Closes Its Doors

Farewell party takes place at the Complex on June 1

By Todd Eric Lovato

Fox in a Forest

Todd Eric Lovato is a Santa Fe native, the managing editor of SantaFe.com and an overfed, long-haired leaping gnome.

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After more than four years of bringing together many of Santa Fe’s brightest and creative minds, Santa Fe Complex is closing its doors.  Just days after celebrating its four-year anniversary, the nonprofit announced the closure of its facility, located in the Second Street Studios, Wednesday.

The organization will host a parting celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. this Friday, June 1 at the Santa Fe Complex, 1807 Second Street, #107. The evening will feature live performances, interactive exhibitions and teleconference and Skype correspondence with people who have been involved throughout the years. The evening also includes the one-year birthday celebration for CIRE (Center for Integrative Research and Exhibition) and the closing of the Ghost in Armour art show.

The Complex was a space where both budding and seasoned scientists, artists and thinkers could and explore and find support for cutting-edge ideas, particularly in the realm of complexity science, a versatile and burgeoning scientific discipline that that tries to make sense out of complex systems. Projects at the Complex ranged from 3D wildfire simulation and emergency evacuation planning to audio-visual music performances and a weekly board game night that attracted hundreds over the course of its tenure.

“Every time I walked in the doors, it was a new conversation,” said Stephen Bohannon, who undertook a variety of projects for the Complex, including Ignite New Mexico, a popular lecture series featuring five-minute talks from community members, and the board game series The Game. “It crossed gender barriers, age barriers, economic barriers.”

The Santa Fe Complex struggled with obtaining funding and the administrative burden of running a mostly volunteer nonprofit, said Bohannon. “After the City pulled funding in March, (Santa Fe Complex) received a critical surge of volunteer efforts to make our final events happen,” wrote board member and original founder Stephen Guerin in a message on the organization’s website.

In an attempt to cut expenses, the Complex relocated from its Railyard location to a new space in the Second Street Studios in late 2011.

The nonprofit drew on technology, science and art to create a space that fostered both innovation and creativity amongst its users. It also served as a valuable education and workspace for experts and novices, alike. Many members have used the Santa Fe Complex as a springboard for success in careers in technology, art and science, said Bohannon. “There’s probably no less than six tech start ups that have emerged from Santa Fe Complex,” added Bohannon. “We’ve had international artists do residencies. We’ve put on educational workshops and teleconferencing with audiences from throughout the world. We’ve shared our space and struck partnerships with people from distant cities. The list goes on and on.”

Despite losing its space, the Santa Fe Complex organization will keep its nonprofit status and the remaining board members will continue to explore funding and options for future projects, said Bohannon.

In the meantime, Bohannon looks forward to Friday night’s farewell party and hopes all those involved with the Complex can attend the event. “It’s important to pay homage to the things that have been good for us,” he said.  “We were all part of something unique and special and with a nice sendoff, we’ll all feel better about the good work we’ve done and the strong work that continues to evolve.”

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