Multi-Cultural: The Mural, The Lawsuit and Gentrification

Category: Firm News

Penelope Quintero represents the mural maker of “Muliti-Cultural”

Gilberto Guzman’s mural Multi-Cultural has been on the east side of the Halpin Building on Guadalupe Street in Santa Fe, NM since 1980.

The state contractually agreed not to alter or paint over the work “during its normal life” and to give Guzman access to the mural so he could maintain it, which he last did in the 90’s. Now the Halpin Building is being renovated and the mural wall is scheduled to be demolished to be replaced with the Vladem Contemporary, a satellite branch of the the New Mexico Museum of Art.

The Museum of New Mexico is the beneficiary of a $4 million donation from the Vladem family, and out of state family who has resided in Santa Fe for only 4 years. The community of Santa Fe has been actively outspoken against gentrification of the city and this threat to the Halpin Building and mural has ignited even more protests.

A lawsuit and request for injunction was filed in US District Court of New Mexico to stop the demolition of the mural. The lawsuit is based on claims of breach of contract, and the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA). VARA was the first federal copyright legislation to grant protection to moral rights.