Moving Hearts, Moving Arts Española

This arts organization serves the youth of Northern New Mexico's fertile valley through performing and visual arts education; the results are life-changing.

Moving Arts Española is one of those treasured organizations that shines a bright light into our community: supporting local students, ages 3-18, through high quality, affordable performing and visual arts education as well as free nutritional and academic support. Their mission states: ”All children and youth deserve to have access to a superior arts education and the nutritional and academic support that they need in order to succeed and thrive.” Meow Wolf is proud to support Moving Arts Española in their mission as this life-changing organization now celebrates its eleventh year.

Twenty miles north of Santa Fe, Española, New Mexico is a city full of vibrant culture and deep-rooted history dating back centuries to Native cultures before colonial times. It is often described as the first European-founded capital of the New World. Located in a fertile farm valley, the city of Española has just over 10,000 residents proud to call the beautiful high-desert region home. Moving Arts Española has become something of centerpiece.

A Folklorico dance class at Moving Arts Española. Photo by Kate Russell

As soon as you walk through the front door, it’s easy to see the joy. A large, sunlit room full of student-made art gives backdrop to a thrill of activity. As students file in, they greet each other with huge smiles, hugs, and high fives. Today, many of the kids are learning about artistic symmetry, using vibrant paints to create whimsical and intricate butterflies.

An art class in process at Moving Arts Española. Photo by Kate Russell

This is a place where youth have found a home, one where learning and community building happens through the arts and performance. 

In one of the back studios, a hip-hop dance class is filling up with excited students. Nearby, some of the girls are putting on color-popping floor length skirts for a Folklorico class, a traditional Mexican dance that emphasizes local folk culture with characteristics of ballet. In the kitchen, Chef Laura is making sure everyone has a chance to eat. Today’s menu offers pasta and a fresh salad, all made in the nearby kitchen.

Moving Arts Española Founder Roger Montoya. Photo by Kate Russell

Moving Arts Española founders Roger Montoya and Salvador Ruiz-Esquivel know every person who enters by name. They ask kids about their days, their weekends, their families. They are integral parts of these kids lives and are driven by a simple question: “How can we support the community and enrich the lives of those in it?”

Through generous donations and funding, this organization provides resources for those who may not have access to creativity-based afterschool programs. Montoya and Ruiz-Esquivel have made it their mission to find a way to fill those gaps.

Moving Arts Española, student teacher Aaron. Photo by Kate Russell

Meow Wolf was proud to be a financial sponsor for Moving Arts Española over the last year. Giving $10,000 to support their programs, we hope to help increase the number of kids they can serve in Northern New Mexico. We are looking to expand our work in the Española valley in years to come, especially with such a wonderful organization. The stories of the impact of Moving Arts, some of which are told in the documentary above, are deeply moving.

Moving Arts Española can anchor a young person, connect them to others in their community, and build confidence. This is one little town that cares about its youth — all of them.

Consider supporting the great work Moving Arts Española is doing with a tax-deductible donation. 

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To view their class schedule and access registration deadlines for students, click here.