The Renga Project

49 New Mexico poets, one sign, one year, one evolving poem. Then 52 artists respond to the poem in a linked drawing. All published as a book.
Axle Contemporary
Santa Fe, New Mexico
United States
1 Team Member

If you live in Santa Fe, you probably know us, or have seen our shiny aluminum mobile gallery, Axle Contemporary, on the streets of the city for the past three years.  If you live elsewhere, you might have read about us in the national press.
We occasionally create artworks which move beyond the mobile gallery.  The Renga Project is one of these.  It brings the poetry of 49 New Mexico poets to the public on a changing sign in downtown Santa Fe. It then engages 52 visual artist who respond to the stanzas with a linked series of drawings which we'll publish with the finished poem, as a book.  The Renga Project is inspired by the great sucess of our Haiku Roadsign project, from 2011.

The year-long Renga Project will expose thousands to a  public art and poetry collaboration created by over 100 people.

On June 21st, 2013, we'll install a beautiful wooden signboard, complete with a small roof near the corner of Guadalupe Street and Cerrillos Road, in the Railyard Park in Santa Fe.  Each week we’ll hang a new stanza on the sign.  Renga is an ancient traditional  collaborative form of poetry from Japan.  Poets write short stanzas which respond to what has come before.  Our Renga will be written by 49 New Mexico poets.  Santa Fe’s Poet Laureate Jon Davis will start each of the four seasonal sections.  The other stanzas will be written by 24 poets selected by him and an additional 24 poets selected by them.  There will be 6 stanzas at a time on the sign.  As each new stanza is added, the oldest will be removed.  The public will experience, over the course of a year, a changing and evolving 52 stanza collaborative poem.
In addition, we’ll invite 52 New Mexico Artists to create a linked drawing which illustrates the poem.  We’ll publish a book at the close of the project with the full poem and the full linked drawing.  There are 3 versions of the book, an affordable paperback, a series of four seasonal handmade miniature japanese-style folded books, and a beautiful limited edition handmade accordion book.  All of this will culminate with a reading of the poem with the poets at the New Mexico Museum of Art and an exhibition of the drawings in the Axle Contemporary mobile gallery in the summer of 2014.

We need to raise a minimum of $1,500 to fund this project.  This will help pay for the construction and installation of the sign, the large-format printing of the stanzas, the weekly installation work, the design and printing of the book, organizational duties, and a copy of the book for each of the poets and artists.

Please contribute to help us make this project.  And spread the word to let others know about it.


Thank you!


Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman,

Axle Contemporary


Find out more about Axle Contemporary and Jerry and Matthew here:

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raised in 2 months
39% funded
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$1,500 USD goal
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This campaign ended on June 15, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Whispering in the Wind

    This is an ephemeral reward. We'll whisper your name into the wind on the summer solstice in Santa Fe.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $10USD
    name in Renga Project book

    We'll add your name to our list of project supporters at the back of the paperback book

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $20USD
    Axle Contemporary t-shirt

    Our beautiful Axle Contemporary t-shirt with our van drawing on the front. Handprinted on a 100% cotton shirt. Please specify size: s, m, l, xl. Shipping included, USA only.

    4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $20USD
    Renga Project paperback book

    About 60 pages. A black and white paperback book with the entire poem and the 52 linked drawings, a short essay or two about the project, and a photo of the sign on the cover.

    8 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $30USD
    Haiku Roadsign book

    This book documents our 2011 project with photos, the Haiku, poet bios, and essays about the project by Joan Logghe (former Santa Fe Poet Laureate); Laura Addison (curator of contemporary art at The New Mexico Museum of Art); and Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman (Axle Contemporary). 80 pages.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2013
  • $50USD
    miniature Renga book

    4.25 x 4.25" handmade japanese-style accordion book, with one season (13 weeks) of poetry and drawings from the Renga Project. 13 pages Please specify which season.

    4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $200USD
    set of 4 miniature books

    A set of all four 4.25 x 4.25" seasonal handmade japanese-style accordion books, tied together with a ribbon.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $750USD
    limited edition Renga book

    limited edition handmade accordion book (all 4 seasons), clothbound, signed and numbered, 8.5 x 8.5", edition of 10 (60 pages)

    0 out of 8 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
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