Santa Clara paseo de onate sign

The 8-feet by 24-feet billboard has sat blank for decades, Española Community Development Director Lou Baker said. 

If you’ve ever looked at the stark white billboard by the Rio Grande on Paseo de Oñate and envisioned a canvas for your art, your opportunity has arrived. 

Española Community Development Coordinator Lou Baker announced a contest for artists who would like to turn that blank sign into a vibrant greeting for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists entering the city’s downtown-west side area.

“A call has been sent out to the community to all the artists — professional, amateur, beginner,” Baker said. “We just want everyone to be involved, and submit to the Española Community Development Committee their art that they would like to have placed on this sign.” 

The city will lease the 8-feet by 24-feet sign — which has been blank for decades — from the Santa Clara Pueblo, Baker said. The city will print the winner’s art on a canvas wrap that will then be placed on the sign for one year. Entries will be judged by the seven-member community development committee, and the winner will be approved by city council. 

Artists should submit conceptual sketches and design drawings as well as a letter of interest by mail to the City of Española Community Development Office or by email to by 5 p.m. on Aug. 5. 

The contest announcement states that the site-specific art work should:

• Enhance the entrance to the Downtown area and gateway to the West side of the City of Española with a distinctive aesthetic experience both highly visible and welcoming to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists

• Highlight the importance of the Downtown and Westside of the City of Española.

• Create a signature presence for the entrance to Downtown and the Westside of the City of Española. This can be whimsical and/or colorful; incorporate an image or feeling of water and light; reflect on the natural environment; or, highlight the importance of the Rio Grande River and the bosque ecosystem.

• Provide excitement and interest for the community as a whole.

• Celebrate Española’s identity and rich heritage.

• Reflect community values.

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