The Silver City Arts and Cultural District facilitates, collaborates on, and contributes to a variety of initiatives and events on a local and statewide scale.
Tourism & the SCACD
The SCACD is the official tourism agent for the Town of Silver City, supported by Silver City Lodger’s Tax. The organization is responsible for media planning, tourism advertising, website development, and social media marketing. In addition, the SCACD operates the Murray Ryan Visitor Center – located at 201 N. Hudson Street, Silver City, New Mexico 88061 – open seven days a week.
Silver City is New Mexico True
Beginning in 2011, the SCACD joined forces with the New Mexico Tourism Department. As a participant in the state’s tourism co-op marketing program, Silver City partners in the brand identity of the state’s advertising campaign. Branded as New Mexico True, this cooperative advertising campaign has allowed the SCACD to expand its marketing budget to reach ever wider audiences.
Working together with the seven other arts and cultural districts in New Mexico, the SCACD expands its in-state marketing through cross-promotion with these other communities. A unified web presence and printed materials showcase these diverse communities and their signature events. Guided by the New Mexico Arts & Cultural District office, the different districts benefit from the expertise and resources they provide.
SCACD Signature Event: CLAY Festival
The Silver City CLAY Festival is the signature event of the SCACD. As a mandated event through the New Mexico Arts & Cultural District office, the festival brings together artists, educators, entrepreneurs, families, youth, adventurers, and life-long learners to explore clay in its many forms, as well as its impact on our history, present, and future. With the first festival in 2012, the Silver City CLAY Festival now attracts regional, national, and international attention, creating expansive economic opportunities.
Taking place annually in late July, CLAY Festival features hands-on workshops, exhibitions, tours, lectures, a gallery night, CLAYFest Market, youth activities, and more. The festival intends to foster an entrepreneurial spirit that engages local businesses, artists, and the global community in a unified enthusiasm for clay.
Southwest New Mexico Clay Arts Trail
The Southwest New Mexico Clay Arts Trail is an innovative art and economic development initiative designed to market clay artist communities in Grant, Catron, Hidalgo, and Luna counties as a premier destination for cultural tourism in the Southwest region. As a collaborative marketing effort, the Clay Arts Trail combines and leverages our region’s unique educational, historical, and commercial community assets related to clay.
The Clay Arts Trail is a collaborative effort between the SCACD, New Mexico Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Included in the Clay Trail are artists’ studios, galleries, cooperatives, manufacturing businesses, museums, and other clay-related sites. The Trail offers visitors a guide to all things clay and promotes tourism and commerce for the region.
Quality of Life
An ongoing goal of the SCACD is to continue to improve upon the quality of life in Silver City to the benefit of residents and visitors alike. The organization manages a number of quality of life improvement projects, which are typically funded through local, regional, and national grants.
More recently, the SCACD, in conjunction with the Town of Silver City, has been working towards further developing, improving, and promoting local trail systems through grants funded by the Department of Transportation's Recreational Trails Program and Transportation Alternatives Program. These two grants will fund a kiosk, wayfinding signage, and a map brochure of popular local trail systems, as well as the revitalization of the Downtown and Silver City Greenways Trailhead.
Theatre District Plan
A collaboration of the Silver City MainStreet Project, Town of Silver City, and the SCACD, this plan proposes the creation of a Theatre District in downtown Silver City, connecting three landmark theatres and neighboring entertainment and dining establishments to serve as an anchor to the Arts and Cultural District and create a local “scene.”
The recommendation of a Theatre District in Silver City began in the March 2008 Arts and Cultural District Resource Team Assessment Report, and then was reaffirmed in the Silver City Cultural Plan of 2009 and the Silver City Downtown Action Plan in 2010.
The Theatre District Plan was conceived with the idea that, when implemented, it would provide rehabilitation and re‐use of the historic structures and bring new activity downtown. Suggested uses for the theatres vary according to the Plan, but include first‐ and second‐run movies, art film screenings, and high‐quality performance spaces for the city’s burgeoning live theatre, poetry, and music scenes.
As of 2016, the Silco Theater reopened as a functioning movie theatre after undergoing extensive renovations. The endeavor was led by the Silver City MainStreet Project, with fundraising beginning as early as 2012. For more information about the Silco Theater, as well as to view showtimes, please visit www.thesilco.com.
The El Sol, home to local theatre group Virus Theater, is currently undergoing renovations, but is being prepared to support the community's arts education programming, as well as provide a full performance schedule when the space is not being used by Virus Theater. More information regarding the El Sol can be found on Virus Theater's website.
A collaboration of many organizations, the SCACD Cultural Plan is the result of intense efforts led by local arts and community leaders. The information was gathered through initiatives from New Mexico MainStreet and its arts and cultural planning and development specialists, the Bureau of Business & Economic Research of the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Applied Research Services, Western New Mexico University, and the Mimbres Region Arts Council.
The SCACD Cultural Plan provides a flexible and community-focused framework for determining efficient ways the Arts and Cultural District can serve the needs of local artists and creative industries. It is intended to provide benefits to Silver City business owners, arts and culture nonprofit groups, government agencies, and visitors who travel here with the expectation of exploring and enjoying a vibrant art town.