The Board of Directors for the Center for Contemporary Arts of Santa Fe (CCA) has voted to close the organization after serving the Santa Fe and northern New Mexico community on its forty-fourth year of operation. The decision was reached after careful consideration of options presented during its current strategic planning initiative.
“Closing a cherished, community organization like CCA is one of the most difficult decisions a board can make,” said David Muck, CCA Board Chair. “However, we simply couldn’t secure the level of individual donations required to achieve the high quality of programming and exhibitions envisioned by CCA’s professional staff and board of directors,” he continued.
Many nonprofits in the U.S. were hit hard by Covid and CCA is a good example. The CCA Cinema closed during Covid, and attendance was slow to resume, reflecting national downward trends in moviegoing post-Covid as reported in multiple news outlets, such as IndieWire and others. In 2023, the organization forecast the cinema to perform at only 50% of pre-Covid levels, resulting in monthly losses. Though grants and individual donations to the organization were up significantly in 2022 and 2023, they simply weren’t enough to make up the difference in the annual budget and cover both current and planned exhibitions and operations.
“This tough decision did not come lightly,” said Danyelle Means, CCA Executive Director and Head Curator. “For a nonprofit institution that operates independently of state support, the annual donations needed to sustainably continue operating was not enough, especially in the wake of challenges from pandemic closures and reduced attendance,” Means continued.
CCA did have its share of recent successes: CCA Executive Director Danyelle Means had secured a three-year grant of $100,000 per year from the Ford Foundation, with an option to renew for another three-year period. The organization was also the recipient of a $50,000 inaugural grant from Ruth Arts Foundation, as well as other granting organizations. Self-Determined, a 2022 CCA exhibition, was listed as one of the world’s Top 50 Exhibitions of 2022 by Hyperallergic magazine and CCA’s new monthly Closer Looks cinema series was a hit with film enthusiasts.
The CCA board of directors considered closing the organization in December of 2021, but voted to remain open in 2022 in hopes of a recovery post-Covid. However, despite the hard work of CCA staff and the accomplishments like the ones mentioned above, the shuttered period during which the cinema was closed proved too challenging to overcome. CCA Cinema’s final day of public operations is Thursday, April 6, and all upcoming CCA gallery exhibitions and public programs are cancelled.