Grants & Awards

Building the Future of Northern New Mexico: Grant-funded Partnership Converts Casino to Classroom

December 29, 2020

The Foundation has partnered with Moving Arts Española (MAE) in a new grant initiative supporting the renovation of the former Ohkay Owingeh casino dome to serve the youth and teens of the Española Valley and Northern New Mexico communities. The Thoma Equity Grants are designed to improve the lives of young people in rural or under-resourced areas of Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or Texas. These grants will support established and emerging nonprofits as they build capacity, launch new initiatives, and enhance existing programming.

Moving Arts Española programs have successfully reached more than 5000 low-income rural students since the organization began in 2008. However, many students leave the program in their teen years, a crucial transition time in vulnerable populations. The $100,000 matching grant from the Thoma Art Foundation will enable Moving Arts Española to build out the unfinished section of the existing campus to create a separate entrance and classroom spaces for teens and young adults. Design of the former casino building on the Moving Arts campus will be headed by the Santa Fe office of MASS Design and renovation is estimated for completion in two years, with the first teen participants entering the program in Spring 2023.

Services offered in the newly designed space will include skills-based arts training, access to behavioral health services, and career-building initiatives with local partners. Programs will educate and assist approximately 125 teen students per week from communities throughout Rio Arriba County and Northern New Mexico.

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