Heritage Arts Trail Project
Using funding provided by an ArtPlace America Creative Placemaking Grant, the SDTHA’s housing master plan calls for the construction of the Santo Domingo Heritage Arts Trail, a 1.5-mile walking and biking trail that will not only connect the Village Housing Project to the central portion of the Pueblo but provide six integrated art nodes where Pueblo artists can showcase their traditional and contemporary art work. The Santo Domingo Tribe has long been known for cultivating artistic excellence: 75 percent of the Pueblo’s residents consider themselves artists, though they currently lack sufficient public spaces to display and sell their work.
The Heritage Art Trail solves this problem. Running parallel to the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, it functions as a critical artery of transportation in a community where car ownership is a rarity and, through the presence of highly visible art nodes, raises awareness with passersby of the Pueblo’s exceptional artistic culture. This type of creative placemaking, where walkable paths elegantly mesh with existing infrastructure and foster opportunities for entrepreneurship, is an accepted tenet of urban planning. (The High Line in New York City and River Walk in San Antonio are two prime examples.) Unfortunately too few rural communities and very few, if any, American Indian reservations currently employ this planning model.