The Santa Fe Children's Museum isn't a place people think of when it comes to live music…or adults for that matter. After all, the space is, first and foremost, for children. Associate Educator Rachael Kissling's hope, however, is that some after-hours music and adults-only fun might stir up buzz for the museum and help pull more people into the world of play-to-learn education.
"I personally love to play in the museum," Kissling tells SFR, "and I know that I have plenty of friends that do as well."
To make the museum—which recently underwent renovation and expansion to include a performance space—more appealing to adults, its lineup now includes concerts and dance parties. Several intriguing events are already on the horizon but, for the moment, it's kind of an experiment to see how things go.
"Hosting some concerts will give older people a chance to check it out, whether it's for the first time or they're coming back to see it through different eyes," Kissling says.
My punk-ass editor, Rani Molla, and I stopped by SFCM for a recent performance by roots/bluegrass act Atomic Grass. The crowd was sparse, but the band still brought the ruckus, as it were. There's something magnificent about a band that kills no matter the size of the audience. Atomic Grass is cool as hell and totally nails with ease its three-part harmonies. The band's tunes were full of all the lightning-fast banjo picking and old-timey guitar you could ever want from a bluegrass band.
In a marked departure to many Santa Fe music events, SFCM's definition of adult is 18-plus.
According to Kissling, "There are a lot of people in Santa Fe that aren't yet 21 and don't have a whole lot to do, [and] this will give them something fun and different to do without hanging around a bunch of kids."
But don't fret, parents. The bulk of the music events will remain family-oriented.
This first show is booze-free; however, there is a PB&J bar, and Kissling is currently looking into making booze available at future gatherings.
The venue might be compelling for other uses as well. SFCM is currently in talks with local organizations such as young professionals' network MIX, arts space Santa Fe Complex and arts collective Meow Wolf (The Due Return is absolutely incredible, by the way) about other ways to use the space. Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera Manriquez wants to expand the museum's grasp to include and inform a broader part of the community.
"These shows aren't just about the music; they're also about getting a younger generation of adults involved not only with the museum, but also with philanthropy in general," Tutera Manriquez says. "Sometimes, this generation doesn't always feel like there are meaningful ways to contribute to their community or resources readily available…having parties like this will be a great way to get musicians and scientists and engineers, etc., together."
Kissling and Tutera Manriquez believe that the peculiar location would be enjoyable for any number of uses and attendees.
"It's always good to have fun," Tutera Manriquez says, laughing. "And the museum provides the perfect space for children or adults to do just that."
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