Your next visit to Santa Fe could be a thrilling new adventure to the artistic frontier. As someone who’s been fortunate enough to learn from some of Santa Fe’s legendary artisans, I can assure you there’s nothing more exhilarating than expressing yourself artistically with the help of a creative guru. All through March, you can ply your artistic skills under the tutelage of Santa Fe’s renowned artists. DIY Santa Fe: A Creative Tourism Journey — an initiative of Santa Fe Creative Tourism, the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission — offers you the rarest of rare opportunities to create your own artworks under the guidance of more than 200 of Santa Fe’s finest artists.
Lose Your Painting Inhibitions and Find Artistic Glory
Like many people (especially here in Santa Fe), I’ve been known to apply brush to canvas as a hobby. And like equally many people, I run into mental roadblocks again and again: “What should I paint?” “Can I make it look real enough?” “Who am I kidding?” Overcoming obstacles like these is of paramount importance to capturing your true creative expression. And that’s exactly what celebrated Santa Fe artist Julie Claire enables you to do in her Individual Intuitive Painting Sessions. You’ll throw caution (and inhibition) to the wind, using basic brushes and large-scale canvases to boldly trust your inner voice. Come alone or bring a friend to this three-hour session and get ready for artistic transformation.
Nothing Holds Families Together Like Clay
Ever rolled up your sleeves and sunk your hands into a wonderfully gooey blob of clay and made it come alive? Take it from me, it’s an incredibly liberating experience. Celebrated instructor Ginny Zipperer makes creating with clay a family bonding exercise with her Family Clay Play. Parents and kiddos of all ages can collaborate on murals or sculptures inside Ginny’s inspiring studio or beneath the shade trees in her backyard. At the end of the two-hour workshop, your family’s masterpiece emerges from the kiln and you take home the ultimate Santa Fe keepsake. Hey, the family that clays together stays together. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Get Ready for Creativity Times Tin
Few things in life are as empowering as creating art from raw metal. You feel like such a primal force as you hew your personal artistic vision from a blank metallic slate. New Mexico’s legendary tinsmithing tradition dates back to the Mid-1800’s, when craftsmen created beautiful devotional pieces for Catholic churches. Chimayo’s own Sharon Candelario studied under New Mexico’s preeminent master tinsmiths, and now offers students hands-on Traditional Tin Smithing lessons for creating tin-edged decorative mirrors, picture frames, religious iconography, and more. I assure you, the process is a transcendent meditation. And the family-owned Medina Gallery, home to leading lights of the Santa Fe artistic scene, offers an ideal place to draw inspiration. Be sure to scope out the perfect wall space at home to display your newly created masterwork.
A Fusion of Art and Fashion? Sign Me Up!
Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about Santa Fe’s legendary artistic community, you discover something downright awe inspiring. My latest discovery? The time-honored artistry of glass bead making. In a wondrous artists’ enclave known as “The Soho of Santa Fe,” several master glass workers collaborate, enabling students and visitors to experience several studios in one locale. This inspirational setting is home to Glass Bead Making with Donna Nova. Donna, who has been crafting glass beads in the old-world tradition for nearly 20 years, leads four-hour individualized classes where students create glass beads in the style of the grand Italian craftsmen. Imagine the looks on your friends’ faces back home when you reveal your personal bead creations.
Start (or Jumpstart) Your Artistic Journey in Santa Fe
As someone with artistic sensibilities, I appreciate that Santa Fe offers an environment that continually stokes my creative fire. Here, creative folk of every experience level share ideas, insights, and visions with locals and visitors. Right now, a world of artistic opportunities awaits you among the many inspiring artisans and studios in and around Santa Fe. And with so many special deals on lodging available, there’s no excuse for not getting your art on in Santa Fe.
So come rev up your creative engine and return home with your own personal addition to the art world.
Walking and talking, shopping and sunning. These activities definitely make up part of the itinerary when my friends and family come to visit. But there’s always at least one buddy who wants to get her hands covered with paint or dusted with flour. And I am always thrilled to oblige since it means I can re-discover Santa Fe through a hands-on experience that brings my hometown to artful life.
Scenery Comes to Life in Full Color
Sending home postcards and snapping pictures are certainly enjoyable ways to remember a getaway to somewhere as memorable as Santa Fe. But take the time to wrap your fingers around a pencil or get coated with pastel. This gives you a unique, creative reminder of your time in the City Different and it also imprints the destination in your mind’s eye in an indelible way. Jane Shoenfeld’s Sketching and Painting Santa Fe workshops offer an easy introduction to seeing Santa Fe with your hands and your eyes.
No experience is necessary, all materials are provided, and you’ll work in the forgiving and sensuous medium of pastel, perfect for capturing the bold colors and long shadows of Santa Fe. A 3-hour Friday morning session, at a spot close to the heart of downtown, is a golden opportunity to discover your hidden talent with the guidance of a working artist.
Santa Fe + Self-Expression = Santa Fe Creative Tourism
Sometimes I have to move beyond my daily routine to re-discover something I may already know, but have somehow forgotten. That’s when Santa Fe Creative Tourism steps in to fill the creative gap for me. A collection of intriguing artistic experiences is curated into a one-stop website for the creative-curious to browse. Digital filmmaking or encaustic painting, pastel sketching or Chimayo weaving, monotypes or Monday night swing dancing at the Odd Fellows Hall — it’s a deep and entertaining catalog of creative vacationing.
For moving past the familiar, I currently have my eye on a specific two-day workshop listed on the site: Beyond Knowing: An Intuitive Painting and Movement Experience, September 14-15. Co-facilitators Julie Claire and Josephina Santiago, designed the weekend to help participants break free of preconceptions about the creative impulse by means of playful exercises in movement and artistic expression.
Make Your Pictures Truly Worth a Thousand Words
The advent of the digital camera and smartphone makes my photos look better. But when I see what a little education can do for a picture, I want to learn as much as I can. Then it’s time for the expertise of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Celebrated for helping turn a good eye into great photos, the workshops boast a stable of professional instructors, who can guide you through the maze of information involved in creating a memorable image.
Autumn is a feast of light and color in Santa Fe. The Photographic Workshops take full advantage of the season, with a whole host of opportunities. Perhaps learning how to harness the qualities of light is what thrills you, so consider Marc Muench’s High Desert Light workshop September 30-October 3. If you want to get back to the basics, George DeWolfe’s The Black-and-White Master Print might be for you.
The campus is located on the serene grounds of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat and Conference Center. Classrooms, a studio, labs, housing, and the dining room are a mere 2 miles from the Santa Fe Plaza.
Get Your Hands into Some Masa Harina
Real creativity often comes out in the kitchen. You will get inspired here in Santa Fe, where time shared together with friends or strangers can be paired with the delicious ingredients that comprise our famed cuisine. The Santa Fe School of Cooking has been welcoming foodies to the table for over 25 years, and its 2012 move to a new and larger facility made the taste of a cooking class that much better.
This family-owned and -operated business, with founder Susan Curtis and director of operations Nicole Curtis Ammerman at the helm, offers a wide roster of classes. The classes start straightforward with the most-popular Traditional New Mexican demonstration class and go all the way to an utterly hands-on 3-day Southwest Culinary Bootcamp. Whatever your culinary pleasure, you can learn about the flavors that create the taste of Santa Fe and bring them home from the onsite or online market. I get hungry just thinking about all those different salsas!
Moving in Time to the Santa Fe Beat
Tap into Southwestern rhythms with a class at the NDI NM Dance Barns. The City Different got city-lucky in 1991 when renowned dancer Jacques d’Amboise introduced the National Dance Institute methodology to Santa Fe dance students. In 1994, NDI New Mexico was incorporated and the spacious Dance Barns facility has the dial turned to fabulous.
Visitors can don ballet slippers for a drop-in ballet class Monday through Thursday at 10 am. Tappers bring the noise Tuesday nights at 6 pm; Wednesday night at the same hour is dedicated to jazz. If your movement skews to the exercise end of the spectrum, head for cardio belly-dance Tuesdays at 4:45 pm. Friday 4:45 pm Zumba class will burn enough calories to let you enjoy a subsequent margarita without guilt.
The Write Way to Enjoy Santa Fe
Chances are you’ve read a novel or two set in Santa Fe before you got here – and at least one of them was by Tony Hillerman. The late author was so adept at distilling all the memorable parts of Southwest – the look, the feel, the flavor – and so beloved by anyone who ever wandered down to the Santa Fe Plaza to spend an hour with his gripping mysteries.
The annual Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference, a 3-day workshop covering topics on all things writing, returns November 7-9. Hosted by WORDHARVEST, an organization founded in 2002 to “support authors and encourage great writing,” the conference offers time to learn how to publish an e-book or polish your skills in a word-rich atmosphere of like-minded souls. Opportunities to network with other writers, get feedback on a current project, and meet literary agents and editors can all be accomplished in one place. And no mystery about it: essayists, memoirists, fan fiction writers — you’re all invited!
Crafting a Hands-On Vacation Creates a Lasting Memory
When we take home a skill from vacation, somehow that moment in time is crystallized forever. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of laying out a complete enchilada dinner for 12 or hanging an iconic photograph taken with your own camera on the wall. Do both and more by planning your Santa Fe vacation calendar around some of these hands-on adventures. Expand your horizons and enrich your life back home with the results of your artistry.
I enjoy a museum or gallery day as much as any art-loving gal does, but when the fall Santa Fe Area Area Studio Tour season begins, I am one happy camper. The reason is simple: Not only can I admire unique and imaginative creations, but I can also see the spaces in which they’re crafted, and I can meet the artists who dreamed them into reality. Santa Fe is the perfect home base to explore the variety of artistic expression on any of the incredible tours that surround the City Different. To me, that’s a complete picture. If you feel the same way, then map one of these terrific art tours into your Santa Fe getaway.
Choose the High Road for an Artistic Adventure
The High Road to Taos Studio Tour is so full of talent that it runs two weekends. This stellar event, September 21-22 and 28-29, kicks off the autumn studio tour season in a big way, as befits an organization encompassing so many artistic villages. This all-day outing lets you experience great nearby galleries and eclectic studio spaces. You’ll also take in the pristine scenery of northern New Mexico, and the dramatic light that has called to artists throughout the centuries. The 2013 High Road Tour celebrates its 15th anniversary, and honestly, it gets better with every passing year.
Dive right into the flow of art by driving north from Chimayo to visit the historic Santuario. Then, come home a different route via the low road along the Rio Grande. Be sure to make a 360-degree scan of the stunning views as you choose which treasures will decorate your home with Santa Fe memories.
The Secret Heart of Art
My mother taught me to share, so I’ll let you in on my favorite unknown place, about an hour north of Santa Fe: El Rito. Don’t zip by the turnoff to this beautiful spot on your way to Abiquiu and O’Keeffe country or you’ll miss something special. If you head to the El Rito Studio Tour October 5-6, you’ll see the glory of fall’s golden colors in the north country, spread out over a green plateau ringed by mountains. While not as large as some of the other tours, this one is just as rich in artistic expression. El Rito hosts a branch of Northern New Mexico Community College, which has helped keep the traditional arts alive. You can think ahead and pick up lunch to go from a Santa Fe restaurant or head to El Farolito Restaurant right on El Rito’s Main Street for a home-cooked treat.
Going Galisteo Way?
The Galisteo Basin has been home to artists for literally thousands of years, as the numerous unexcavated Puebloan ruins in the area demonstrate. And the Galisteo Studio Tour October 19-20 gives you a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the charm and history of this sweet village, 23 miles southwest of Santa Fe. Galisteo is home of many privacy-loving notables, including the late painter Agnes Martin and ‘50’s songsmith Burl Ives. This spot also packs a large punch of talent in current residents potter Priscilla Hoback, painter Woody Gwyn, art critic Lucy Lippard, and chef/food maven Deborah Madison. 25 stops encompass 33 artists’ work, and there’s food along the way — I love that!
The Fabled Gold of Eldorado Is the Art
While the conquistadors’ determined search for gold was unfulfilled, the local community of Eldorado, named for the city they quested, is rich in artistic treasures. Originally developed as a retirement community with a bent for passive solar design, Eldorado quickly became a residential choice for artists and craftsmen of all persuasions. Not a surprise given its expansive views and the buried utility lines that allow for unobstructed enjoyment of the fantastic sunsets.
The main studio event takes place in May with a tour throughout the community, and the artists of Eldorado also bring their work right into Santa Fe every autumn. The fall show is October 25-26 at St. John’s Methodist Church. Last fall, 58 artists participated, so you can get all of the beauty in one easy-access spot right in the heart of Santa Fe.
Doing It Artistically in Dixon
The first weekend in November heralds the arrival of the Dixon Studio Tour, now in its 32nd incarnation. Tucked along a canyon 26 miles south of Taos, Dixon not only includes 29 artists’ studios to visit, it’s also the only studio tour that boasts a winery built by two brothers and a garlic farm gardened by a writer. If you get the artistic bug yourself, you can take a creative workshop. Stopping into the Elementary School Mercado guarantees that you’ll meet some of the local families who have carved out a living in this scenic enclave perched along the Rio Grande.
La Cienega, a Hidden Haven of Talent
Late-autumn travelers wind up the studio tour season with a visit to La Cienega, a mere 10 miles or so south of Santa Fe. The name translates to “the swamp,” but all it signifies now is that the area is an oasis of old cottonwoods and poplar trees. This whole valley was once a Spanish land grant, and the water that makes it tree-laden is still part of the attraction. While the leaves may have dropped by Thanksgiving weekend, November 30-December 1, when the studio tour occurs, the timing means you can start your holiday shopping by buying direct from the artists of the La Cienega Studio Tour. This is one of the smaller tours, but most of the artists on it have lived out here on their acreage for many a long year, and their level of craft has been honed to perfection.
Let a Tour Create Your Memories
You can see that Santa Fe comes by its artistic reputation honestly, and not just because of the many world-class museums and stellar galleries that you find all over this art-loving town. And since the studio tours are planned over different weekends throughout the year, you can always return for a whole new experience. If you venture out into the hidden haunts where the artists themselves find inspiration, you’ll be inspired too – and hopefully bring back something beautiful to remind you of your Santa Fe art adventures.
Museum Hill is Santa Fe’s very own internationally recognized art and history destination. To wander and explore the offerings at these museums is to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the three cultures that have merged to form a rich heritage, which is the union of Native American, Spanish, and Anglo traditions. The exploration of a fantastic museum is an immersion in history and stories. A magnificent exhibit leaves me changed somehow (and admittedly, smarter). Museum Hill provides ample opportunities to ignite inspiration, and deepen your appreciation of art and the cultures that bring it to life in its many forms, and to come away with a new way of looking at the world.
See Cultural Evolution at the Museum of International Folk Art
One of my all-time favorite museums is the Museum of International Folk Art. The permanent Girard Collection, from famed textile designer Alexander Girard, is a hearty explosion of color, cultural diversity, and sheer whimsy. There are more than 120,000 objects on display ranging from primitive puppets, elaborately carved dolls, and animal figures, strange otherworldly masks, and fantastic tableaus that depict birth, death, nature, religion, saints, and sinners. It is a fascinating glimpse into a way of storytelling through the use of tangible objects.
The seeds for this stunning folk art collection were sown during Girard’s honeymoon to Mexico, when he and his wife returned to the United States with their car loaded down with treasures. The Girards settled in Santa Fe in 1953, and in 1978 made the gift of more than 100,000 objects to establish the Girard Foundation. Girard personally installed the exhibit, and his love of design and object placement is truly a sight to behold.
I wandered this exhibit for nearly two hours before finding my way to the “New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate’ Y Mas” exhibit. The results of the melting pot (pun intended) of cultures and flavors are evident today. It’s eye opening to examine ancient kitchen tools and dishware, silverware and copper pots, and realize how far we’ve come, yet how true to form our modern kitchens still are. I was struck with the genius of the utilitarian pieces, and the simple beauty of the decorative displays. Williams-Sonoma has some serious competition here!
These cool artifacts also show the progression of fusing America’s traditional crops like beans, squash and corn, with new and exotic spices, vegetables, and meats brought by the Spanish and other settlers. Santa Fe has long been heralded as a go-to culinary destination, and most foodies know the region for hearty ingredients like native chile, corn and squash. But, surprisingly, chocolate has been a coveted New Mexico delicacy for more than a century. (Check out my previous post to find out how to savor your own indulgent chocolate tour.) Archaeologists have found traces of theobroma (chocolate’s scientific name; it means “food of the gods”) in Chaco Canyon pottery shards.
It’s been said that when Don Diego DeVargas marched north for the re-conquest of Santa Fe, each of his soldiers carried a wedge of chocolate all the way up the Camino Real, enticing his enemies into chocolate-fueled negotiations. Chocolate has been winning wars and wooing lovers for centuries. It’s history, from Mezo-America to China is a fascinating one, and this exhibit illustrates how chocolate has become a staple in many cuisines.
Refuel at Museum Hill Café
If the wandering and culinary displays leave you hungry, be sure to stop by the Museum Hill Café, which sits amidst the common courtyard shared by several of the museums. There, you can refuel with a fantastic variety of fresh food, ranging from Asian shrimp or steak tacos, nachos, yummy soups salads, to a great selection of sandwiches and quiches. This lunch spot is airy and welcoming with a spectacular view and patio, and also boasts homemade desserts, coffee, beer, and wine.
The Café offers a delicious New World Cuisine Cafe Sampler Plate to accompany the New World Cuisine exhibit. The plate is $14 for one or $24 for two, with a fabulous $9 wine pairing. Delectable offerings include sweet corn custard, Jalisco sopes, nopal salad, poblano mole, and a divine dark chocolate truffle gram tart. I love the concept of tying in a feast for my eyes at the museum, with a feast for my taste buds at the café.
Past Meets Present at Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
Just across the courtyard is the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, whose mission is “to inspire appreciation for and knowledge of the diverse native arts, histories, languages, and cultures of the Greater Southwest.” For a relatively small museum, the scope of this vision is great, but the mix of ancient artifacts with modern components brings the mission to reality.
The ties to the past are evident throughout the museum, and I was aware of a deeper respect growing in me. Seeing the handiwork of the tools, stoneware, baskets, beading, and leatherwork truly commands a reverence for what the times and landscape (literal and socioeconomic) must have been. The current exhibit, “Woven Identities,” features baskets woven by artists representing 60 cultural groups in six culture areas of Western North America. Each basket, with its unique patterns and artistry, tells a story. Although the names of the weavers are largely unknown, it’s easy to imagine the person who constructed these beautiful pieces. I left feeling humbled and enlightened of the fortitude and inherent skills that these artists incorporated into their work. The expression of their individuality is revealed in each fiber.
The Personal Pursuit of Navajo Heritage at Wheelwright Museum
Another smaller museum that houses an impressive collection of Native American artifacts is the Wheelwright Museum. The current exhibit, “A Certain Fire: Mary Cabott Wheelwright Collects the Southwest,” showcases the museum’s namesake and her unyielding passion for preserving native culture. Her purpose in opening the museum (celebrating its 75th year) was to create a home for items that supported the study and practice of Navajo ceremonialism.
Eventually, her collection came to encompass a wider range of tribes throughout the Southwest. With the assistance of scholars, artists, and collectors, Wheelwright filled her museum with weaving, artworks, archives, and other items, helping to preserve one of the world’s great religious traditions. I loved seeing these exquisite pieces, and Wheelwright’s own writings and photographs give the exhibit intimacy and a personal touch. Be sure to check out the gift shop, the rustic and authentic Case Trading Post. There you will find fair trade baskets, weavings, jewelry, books, and pottery from local artists.
See New Peruvian Works at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
The Spanish Colonial Arts Society recently opened to the public its largest permanent gift of Peruvian art in its 88-year history. The “Window on Lima: the Beltrán-Kropp Collection from Peru” exhibit includes 40 objects from Peru, as well as a number of objects from other countries collected by Pedro Gerardo Beltrán Espantoso and his wife Miriam Kropp Beltrán. Pedro was a descendent of a Spanish conquistador and a member of the Peruvian aristocracy who served as Peru’s ambassador to the United States in the 1940s. Dignitaries and royalty were often entertained at their lavish home, and this exhibit allows us modern day civilians to see for ourselves how this family lived.
I am buzzing to everyone about this exhibit, which includes a rare reverse-painted glass frame from Cajamarca, Peru, an exquisite silver panel of Abraham, Isaac and the Angel, and a table with marquetry of incised ivory and tortoise shell. There’s also an entire set of Beltrán custom-made and engraved cobalt blue and gold dinner service for 46 people. I’d love to be invited to that dinner party! Tinwork, silver, gilded gold, carvings, and etchings all comprise this ornate style. I also love an excuse to admire the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, located in a historic, Pueblo Revival-style building, on the north side of Museum Hill. Check my past post all about exploring this exquisite museum. [Link: http://santafe.org/blog/?p=194]
Get Enlightened at Museum Hill
Santa Fe is truly fortunate to be the home to these unique museums that give other art destinations a run for their money. You will come away with an enriched appreciation for this distinct part of the world that combines preservation of the past with modern artistry, all atop a magical hill.
In a city known for its high altitude, elevated spirits, and glorious skies, one might understandably overlook Santa Fe’s most down-to-earth cultural icon: the Santa Fe Railyard District.
The Railyard District is Santa Fe’s newest old neighborhood, offering an ever-evolving version of the authentic Southwestern experience. While Santa Fe’s historic Plaza may be the heart of town, the Railyard is its new cultural lifeline, serving up a casual — dare-I-say hipper — side of Santa Fe, while tipping its hat to traditional and time-honored activities just blocks away, and living side by side with one of Santa Fe’s oldest neighborhoods. Here locals and visitors converge in an eclectic mecca of contemporary art, fresh food, unique shopping, and old-fashioned relaxation.
Long before it became a “district,” however (more than a hundred years ago, for you history buffs), the Santa Fe Railyard served as the official gateway to the City Different. Tourists, artists, businessmen, and more than a few adventure seekers discovered a magical frontier beyond their wildest dreams, courtesy of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Strolling the picturesque district on a coffee-fueled spring morning, I learned that the Santa Fe Railyard District once supported a booming railroad economy, bringing laborers and materials vital to the development of our distinctive central neighborhoods and landmarks. Decades of economic glory faded into memory, however, as new generations of travelers found Santa Fe by car and eventually airplane. And the once-bustling Railyard fell to neglect and abandon.
Thankfully, Santa Fe’s past and future got back on track, so to speak, when the city pledged to revitalize the Santa Fe Railyard District, restoring the cultural hub’s historic elements, and reinventing a lively network of colorful, open-air community spaces.The district’s revitalization included the establishment of the Railyard Park, which is the “green heart” of the district. The park includes an outdoor performance space for movies and concerts, picnic areas in shady groves and gardens, and 5,000 feet of walk-bike trails that will link to a citywide trail network.
Much like the rail lines of old, the Santa Fe Railyard District offers refreshing, surprising, and unforgettable stops. Indulge in Santa Fe’s emerging performance events, dining destinations, and to-die-for shops. Or just set off on a local journey defined only by the district’s enchanting rhythm. So let’s roll down the tracks …
Tomasita’s proudly holds court among Santa Fe’s chile royalty. But there’s nothing stodgy about this local landmark. Open since 1974, the lively restaurant is considered by many the epicenter of the Railyard. Drop in to begin or end your day, to see and be seen, or to soak up the Railyard’s good vibes and creative energy. Authentic — as in, “abuela’s in the kitchen” — New Mexican food is the specialty. That means mouthwatering traditional chiles rellenos, enchiladas, and stuffed sopaipillas. (I confess the smell of fresh tortillas sustained me as I waited in the quick-moving line of hungry patrons.) Diners are encouraged to fearlessly dive into local red and green chile, and then toast the culinary adventure with a famous sangria swirl margarita.
SITE Santa Fe
Visit SITE Santa Fe to experience full-throttle visual and performance art in the Railyard District. Here video, photography, large-scale sculpture, and painting coexist in harmony, as internationally recognized artists make full use of this modern space. SITE’s fantastic, flexible gallery space and groundbreaking contemporary art exhibitions provide an intoxicating yang to the yin of Santa Fe’s beloved traditional arts. I can proudly say I expanded my artistic horizons by simply wandering through each of the current exhibitions. A video installation by performance artist Linda Montano entitled “Art/Life Counseling” really called to me (though I’m not exactly sure what it said). The video monitor is draped in a disheveled red wig and the face of the artist speaks directly to viewers. Comical, endearing, and, mildly unsettling. Bravo, SITE.
Santa Fe Clay
If observing isn’t enough for your artistic endeavors, there is no finer way to get your hands dirty than with a visit to Santa Fe Clay. This is a dream facility for diehard DIY-ers, or anyone craving an enlightening hands-on experience. At a sprawling 10,000 square feet, the fantastic space offers endless hours of creativity via its gallery, artist studios, retail store, wheels and kilns, and massive workshop and teaching space with expert staff. Santa Fe Clay hosts classes year-round for adults and children, and exhibits some of the finest clay artists working in the medium today. I’m not talking pinch pots and light switch covers here. Santa Fe Clay is a dynamic, forward thinking studio. Inspired by the shelves of creations set out to dry, the fresh-out-of-the-kiln pots, and the sheer joy on the faces of workshop participants, I have officially pledged to get my clay groove on.
Railyard Artisan Market
Saturdays and Sundays bring the Santa Fe Artists Market and the Railyard Artisan Market. Prepare to be surprised. Housed alongside the east walkway of SITE Santa Fe on Saturdays or inside the Farmers Market Pavilion on Sundays, the respected markets boast fine handmade crafts and artworks ranging from knitted scarves and hats to watercolor landscapes to artisanal teas and body products. My credit card limit flashed before my eyes as I beheld a gasp-worthy selection of fun retro aprons, imported clothing from India, felt handbags, hand blown glassware, and a virtual trove of jewelry. Pick up one-of-a-kind gifts here, or self-gifts — my favorites. Several crafters work while you stroll, offering unfiltered glimpses of their works-in-progress.
Perhaps the unifying event in the Railyard is the renowned Farmers Market. This market prides itself on strict standards requiring that all food and products be made with local ingredients, and prohibiting reselling. That means you buy directly from the source. I love the idea of paying the farmer who grew my food. The market is alive with energy, color, and happy shoppers. Fresh breads, seasonal herbs, overflowing baskets of greens and veggies, free range eggs, aromatic fresh and dried chiles, local honey and jams, luxurious body products, organic coffee, and homemade tamales transform moods and test your bliss-endurance. Meanwhile, strolling musicians and kid friendly activities keep young shoppers smiling. The market is open 8 am-1pm Saturdays (year-round) and Tuesdays (May through Thanksgiving week). June-September the hours shift forward an hour: 7 am-noon.
Beyond the food scene, a true feeling of community pervades this burgeoning creative space. Whether you want to swing dance or catch a reggae band, see a thought-provoking film, visit with neighbors over coffee and burritos, even witness a dynamic aerial acrobatic performance held right on site, all you need to do is show up. Check the jam-packed schedule on the Santa Fe Railyard District website for information. Or take my advice and gather your friends for the Free Railyard Park Movie Series, which features movies every other Friday night all summer. Meet me at “The Princess Bride” July 27 or “… prepare to die!
Balancing history, authenticity, adventure, art, food, and performance, the Santa Fe Railyard District sparkles with timeless appeal and youthful. Find your favorite stop, as you get on board with a cultural treasure that is definitely moving in the right direction.
If your heart beats for the arts, then plan an escape to Santa Fe. With a vibrant and growing gallery scene, Santa Fe has become one of the world’s major arts centers without sacrificing its small town warmth. The art-tropolis of Santa Fe is divided into neighborhoods, making it easy for you to jump from gallery to gallery. Lovers of all genres and movements — from contemporary and abstract, to super realism and Western — will find something to love.
I asked Kathrine Erickson, president of the Santa Fe Gallery Association, what sets Santa Fe apart. “Santa Fe is the only city in the world that can boast over 200 galleries in two square miles,” she said. “Art collectors can travel to biennial art fairs in Berlin, Miami, New York, or they can come to Santa Fe 365 days a year to experience our unique year-round art fair, and view an unlimited selection of artwork by international and regional artists alike.”
Santa Fe’s rise as an art market can be traced back to the opening years of the 20th century, when artists began to discover the charm of the landscape and the beauty of the native people’s craftsmanship. By the time the Museum of New Mexico opened its Museum of Fine Arts in 1917, there was no stopping the love affair between artists and Santa Fe — a love that has blossomed into a full fledged city of the arts, with creativity, craftsmanship, and individual expression pretty much everywhere you look.
With so much to see where does one start? Katherine prudently advises you start with “ … comfortable shoes, dressing in layers, and a good handbag.” She also recommends the guides found on the Gallery Association’s website. Karla Winterowd, owner of Winterowd Fine Art Gallery on Canyon Road, says that a Santa Fe art excursion is an awakening experience for a first time art collector. “If you are a first time buyer of art, truly, Santa Fe is the place to come because you can walk around, take a couple of days, and go with yourself, your partner, or your designer.
For those with a little more experience, you can discover new artists as well as new work from artists you might already be following. It’s an inspiring trip whether you are new to buying art, a savvy veteran collector, or just interested in seeing some amazing work.
And, of course, in-between visiting galleries and studios, you can experience some of Santa Fe’s other charms. Shop at unique specialty stores, eat at world-renowned restaurants, and enjoy the historic adobe architecture that defines Santa Fe. And if you need a lift, just take the free Santa Fe Pick-up shuttle. Art appreciation has never just been about acquiring, so enjoy the gorgeous downtime and culture.
The Never Ending Canyon Road Art Galleries
Canyon Road is a great place to start your visual arts voyage. This neighborhood is the bustling heart of the gallery scene with more than a hundred art galleries in a mile-long stretch. The Canyon Road galleries have a wide selection of modern, contemporary, Native American, and Russian art.
A stroll down the historic Canyon Road — the oldest adobe houses on Canyon Road date at least to the 1750s — leads you to unique fashions, sculptures, photography, dazzling Navajo jewelry, and stunning handmade embellishments. In the fall, I love watching artists at work at the gallery’s “paint outs.” Anytime I have winter visitors, one of their favorite experiences is walking the famous Christmas Eve Farolito Walk. For Santa Fe newbies, Farolitos are small, sand-filled, paper bags illuminated with votive candles, which line the historic neighborhood streets and adobe walls. The effect is nothing short of magical. Luckily, the picturesque beauty of Canyon Road can be enjoyed any season of the year.
Railyard Arts Neighborhood
If your artistic tastes lead you to modern work, follow the tracks to the Railyard Arts District to find the best in contemporary art. This neighborhood houses 10 must-see galleries in new warehouse-style buildings. Besides avant-garde painting, you’ll also find jewelry, exquisite furnishings, textiles, and bamboo pieces. Go international with a visit to the Railyard’s standout gallery, SITE Santa Fe. SITE Santa Fe is a dynamic art space, featuring contemporary photography, painting, sculpture, installations, and its signature international exhibition. The last Friday of each month is the perfect time to stop by as the Railyard features Last Friday Art walks. Galleries hold opening exhibitions and stay open late. If you need a little energy during the course of your art appreciation, the Railyard’s Flying Star Cafe serves tasty plates and a menagerie of delicious baked goods.
West Palace Arts Neighborhood
Located between the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum on West Palace Avenue and Johnson Street, the West Palace Arts Neighborhood has the best of both worlds: museums and galleries. Dive into the rich history of New Mexico’s art at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Then head over to the galleries to work on your collection, or to just pretend like you’re a jet-setting art buyer.
The galleries here are outstanding. The LewAllen, Manitou, Peterson-Cody, and Wadle galleries combine to represent more than 350 nationally recognized artists. Plus, every first Friday of the month, the West Palace galleries offer an assortment of openings and exhibitions featuring the work of exceptional contemporary artists. A perfect opportunity for some high-culture mingling.
Taking a studio tour provides an unforgettable way to see new work from a large section of artists. The Eldorado Arts and Crafts Association opens its studios May 18-19 for the Eldorado Studio Tour. 110 artists in 72 studios will showcase work in a variety of media and genres including painting, ceramic, glass, jewelry, oil, photography, printmaking, sculpture, digital, wearable, and recycled art. If you want to get a sneak peak of what’s going to be on the tour, the tour’s Preview Gallery will open for early viewing May 4-17.
Looking for a fun day trip in the fall? The first weekend in November, the Dixon Studios offers its annual studio tour. A 45-minute drive through the scenic Embudo Valley will bring you to Dixon, home sweet home to more than 50 artists. Walk from studio to studio while you enjoy the beautiful village and discover gorgeous paintings, outstanding photography, fine sculptural jewelry, stoneware, wearable art, herbal bath and beauty products, handmade chocolates, local wines, and traveling musicians. With so many studios and amazing pieces of art to choose from you’ll be glad you made the short trip – just make sure you clear some trunk space before you go. Some of the studios are open year-round, but call ahead before you hit the road.
Your Art Is Waiting for You
Santa Fe has a huge crush on the visual arts, and a massive appreciation for visitors who share that passion. If this preview has you eager to explore, as Karla recommended, The Santa Fe Gallery Association is a handy resource for learning about the galleries before you arrive. The Association’s website lists upcoming events and maps to help you plot your own individualized tour based on your tastes.
Katherine also has a one final tip for a perfect ending to any art-filled day. “Be sure to scope out your restaurant selections in advance and make reservations when possible — especially during the busy summer months. There are many great restaurants to choose from, and after a long day of gallery hopping you want to reward yourself with an equally artful meal.”
With so many artists, galleries, and opportunities to explore this amazing city, your new favorite piece of art is sure to be waiting for you in Santa Fe.
Make the Most of Your Post–Hibernation this Spring in Santa Fe
Abandon your cozy seat by the fire and finish up your gourmet hot chocolate, because spring has arrived in the City Different! It’s time to go out, get active, and explore more of what makes Santa Fe so magical. Let the city’s creative spirit awaken yours from hibernation and explore the rich traditions of Santa Fe’s many cultures. Here are some ways to make the most out of a springtime trip to this wondrous and surprising city.
At a modest size of 37.4 square miles, and internationally recognized as a premier art market, Santa Fe packs in more creativity per square foot than anywhere else in the country. Get inspired by more than 250 art galleries, museums, and centers, and five art schools.
You’ll need those creative juices flowing as Santa Fe celebrates DIY Month in March, a creative tourism journey that gives you the chance to spend all or part of a trip taking workshops from experienced artists and artisans. It’s okay if you’re not an O’Keeffe. Classes cater to all artistic explorers, from beginners to aficionados. Fulfill a dream, refine a skill, or fall into something completely different. Want to tap into your inner artist? Take an expressive painting workshop with artist Cathy Carey. In this five-day class, limited to a small enrollment, you’ll learn techniques to loosen up your drawing and painting, capturing the feeling and fluid movement of Matisse and Van Gogh, and build a new connection to your work.
The Land and Light photography workshop teaches you the skills you’ll need to capture the majesty of Santa Fe with a lens. Walk this enchanted land with photographer Craig Varjabedian, photographing unique environments in an atmosphere of adventure and discovery. It’s a great way to explore the diverse culture, architecture, and landscape of northern New Mexico while upping your shutterbug game.
Personally, I can’t wait for the Glass Ristra workshop, a luxurious creative workshop brought to you by Bridges to Santa Fe. Held in a gorgeous home gallery, you assemble your own red, green, or Christmas glass ristra, while dining on red and green chile appetizers served on artisan-rendered glass platters.
That’s just a small sampling of the exciting do-it-yourself offerings. Transforming photographs with beeswax, traditional tinwork, Japanese papermaking, spinning wool, and many more possibilities await.
Bead Fest Santa Fe
Align the do-it-yourself spirit with do-it-for-yourself results at Bead Fest Santa Fe. Perfectly suited for both jewelry making novices and experts, Bead Fest is four days of discovering the latest techniques, tools, and tips. Take one of the 95 different workshops offered by jewelry artists from around the country, or shop at more than 150 booths and tables with everything you need to craft your own amazing creations. I’ll be going to behold the beautiful work on display, and, just maybe, end up with an amazing piece of my own design.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
After all that making and creating, make sure you’re getting a balanced cultural intake. Along with the visual arts, Santa Fe is also a vibrant city of the performing arts. At the end of March, you can catch the dual-city Aspen Santa Fe Ballet as they return home for a program featuring Jiri Kylián’s poignant Return to a Strange Land, Alejandro Cerrudo’s striking new ballet Last, and Trey McIntyre’s seductive Like a Samba. Not sure if ballet is for you? Give this group a chance. Just don’t be surprised if you spend the entire performance at the edge of your seat. I asked ASFB’s director of marketing Jennica Lundin about the upcoming shows. “It’s not traditional ballet but way more contemporary,” said Jessica. She also told me that two of the three pieces would be performed on pointe, where the dancers perform entirely on their tiptoes. “Performing on pointe shows that our dancers’ technique is rooted in classical style.”
Santa Fe Japanese Cultural Festival
Go from nimble dancers to nimble swordsmen at the sixth Santa Fe Japanese Cultural Festival. Nothing feeds creativity like knowledge and experience, and I can’t think of a more exciting mental meal than a large serving of Samurai culture. Witness master swordsmen demonstrating their skills, Taiko drumming from Grammy winner Koji Nakamura, and a Grand Samurai Performance from Japan’s Nobuyuki Sato. You can also feast on Japanese food (yum), enjoy workshops (this city is workshop crazy), a silent auction, and – you guessed it – arts and crafts. It wouldn’t be a Santa Fe event if it didn’t involve creating something.
Santa Fe in Bloom
All of this culture can wear a person out. Make sure you leave yourself some time to enjoy and relax in Santa Fe’s natural beauty. Spring is a time when the outdoor world of Santa Fe turns into a collage of blooming plants. Why not try out some of those newly acquired photography skills on the blooming Aspens, tulips, poppies, and more. If you want a peek at some gorgeous gardens, the Santa Fe Garden Club is offering Pequeno Tours, private tours of some of Santa Fe’s finest homes and gardens. The Pequeno Tours start in mid-April and with spring temperatures in the 50s and 60s and plenty of sunshine, being outside in the fresh air of Santa Fe — named cleanest in the country by the American Lung Association — just feels great.
Start your Creative Season
Spring in Santa Fe is truly an inspiring time. Whether you want to jumpstart your own artistic renaissance or just recharge, there’s more than enough to wake your sense of adventure from its winter slumber. With all the opportunities to create and explore, there’s no time like spring to experience all the creative energy, diverse culture, and natural beauty that Santa Fe has to offer.
Call it bravery, call it creativity, call it crazy, but once a year Santa Fe pours our heart and soul into a three-day weekend extravaganza of visual arts, cuisine, wine, home design, fashion, and good old-fashioned people watching. Right brain, this is your wakeup call.
ARTfeast is one of my absolute favorite weekends of the year because it combines two things I adore: Santa Fe art and Santa Fe food. Also on the menu, a fashion show and several silent and live auctions, all benefiting art programs in Santa Fe public school — another reason to love this event.
ARTfeast is Santa Fe’s spirited carnival of the senses, a movable feast of what we love most about our colorful city, and what we can’t wait to share with visitors. If you’re looking for stuffy white-glove galleries or an exclusive cufflink crowd, look elsewhere. Santa Fe’s ARTfeast is where locals and temporary locals roll up our sleeves, unbutton our collars, and maybe even loosen our belts a notch or two as we dive into pure creative and food indulgence.
Friday, Feb. 22 kicks off the weekend with Art of Fashion, a runway show and luncheon featuring the latest jewelry and clothing from local designers and boutiques like Cicada Collection,Tsosie-Gaussoin, and Queen’s Ransom.This is your opportunity to get a runway-side view of an eclectic fashion show, glittering with artisan-made jewelry and designer creations amidst a sea of fashionistas. Browse only-in-Santa-Fe silent auction items including a set of animal-themed plates while you nosh on a local farm-to-table luncheon. Both live and silent auctions will serve up offerings from participating designers. This year I’ll be bidding on an original handcrafted ring from Golden Eye.
If that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for dazzle, join us for the tony Gourmet Dinner and Auction, where you can pair your eye for style with your appetite for a multi-course gourmet feast coupled with vintage wines. You’ll have the opportunity to vie for exciting packages, including an original sculpture by Star York, when you’re not busy sampling the tasty food.
ARTfeast’s Edible Art Tour Friday night (are you sensing a theme here?) sends adventurous spirits through 35 art galleries, paired tastings from local restaurants. Amazing food and exceptional art share the stage as you bounce from gallery to gallery. While you can’t literally eat the work hanging on gallery walls, you can indulge in gastronomic masterpieces served up a la carte from some of Santa Fe’s top culinary artists as you treasure hunt for new pieces to add to your collection. The mingling of local and international art stirs your soul with vibrant paintings, sculptures and installations, while the infusion of culinary greatness ignites your senses — and tests the limits of your stretchy waistband.
My favorite items from previous Edible Art Tours include the glass-plated loo sculpture at the David Richard Contemporary Gallery in 2011, and the Moroccan lentil soup from Jambo Cafe and wild mushroom tamales from La Casa Sena in 2012. But this is the year I’m really going to indulge, gaze and graze, as I look to expand my culinary palate seeking out new items from my favorite local restaurants. I’m looking forward to stopping by the Heidi Loewen Porcelain Gallery to see her line of porcelain stilettos and unique porcelain platters; the fact that her gallery is paired with the Santa Fe School of Cooking makes it all the more alluring.
If you’ve ever wanted to sneak a peek inside some of the city’s most incredible homes and dream about the Santa Fe home you’d love to live in, then head to Saturday’s Art of Home Tour. You’ll never have a better opportunity to tour some of the city’s most exquisite homes and art collections. You can even purchase local artwork showcased throughout the homes.
ARTfeast caps off the lively weekend on Sunday with the rousing Artist’s Champagne Brunch and Auction. This event allows you to meet and mingle with some of Santa Fe’s most influential artists and provides you the opportunity to take home a special treasure.
As if the much-needed mood enhancement isn’t enough reason to love ARTfeast, you’ll feel even better knowing this event benefits art programs for Santa Fe’s youth. So feast on! You’re keeping Santa Fe colorful, and paving the way for the next generation of Santa Fe’s visual, culinary, and performance artists.
The 16th-Annual ARTfeast promises to be an unforgettable weekend. Whether you choose to attend every event, or only pick your favorites, your right brain and your taste buds will be beyond delighted. Check out these photos from last year’s ARTfeast, and gear up to enjoy a full plate of cuisine, art, and socializing at this year’s extravaganza. For a complete listing of 2013 ARTfeast events and ticket prices, visit www.artfeast.com.
Santa Fe has been arousing spirits and stirring passions for over 400 years. Maybe it’s the city’s dramatic sunsets and picturesque mountain vistas. Or maybe it’s the charming adobe buildings, cozy kiva fireplaces, and tantalizing cuisine. Whatever it is, Santa Fe, like a Pablo Neruda poem, embodies true love, making it an ideal destination for a romantic getaway. Did you know that “Santa Fe” is the universal word for “love”? Ok, not really. However, The City Different does have the ability to inspire the heart, rekindle an old flame, or spark a new one. Don’t take my word for it. U.S. News Travel recognized Santa Fe as a top destination for romantic retreats and Livabilitydubbed it one of the Top 10 Romantic Cities in America. Below is my insider’s guide to a romantic stay in Santa Fe.
What better way to re-ignite a romance or proclaim your love than by spending a day indulging in fine art, breath-taking skies and mountains, and delectable cuisine? Start with a couple’s massage and a soak in one of Santa Fe’s calming spas. Then, make your way to Kakawa Chocolate House for some midday sweetness. Your senses will be invigorated after sharing a few cups of Kakawa’s “Tonantzin” chocolate elixir, an herbal aphrodisiac said to flame the passions within. While you’re there, purchase a box of Aphrodite Truffles, which were inspired by the Love Goddess herself.
Nothing is more sensual than a spicy encounter in the kitchen. Spend the day mastering the flavors of the real Southwest with a cooking class taught by highly acclaimed local chefs. Try the “Green Chile Workshop” at Santa Fe School of Cooking, or the “Exploring España” class at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy to really heat things up. For you wine lovers, sample award-winning vino varietals with an intimate tour at Estrella Del Norte Vineyard, which offers a “Cupid’s Arrow Wine Lover’s Special” for the month of February.
If museums and world-class art stimulate your desires, head to Museum Hill to explore exhibits like “New World Cuisine, the Histories of Chocolate Mate y Mas” at the Museum of International Folk Art. Then make your way to the legendary Canyon Road where you’ll discover vibrant international art galleries. Stroll the intimate adobe walled streets as you treasure hunt for the perfect piece of original artwork to fall in love with.
In the midst of all the affection, take some time to appreciate the scenery with the person you love. Just the two of you…explore Santa Fe’s crisp, pure mountain air and whispering pine forests with a hike or horseback ride through the peaceful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Stop by the Santa Fe Farmers Market before you head up and grab a few ingredients like local red chile raspberry jam and artisan cheese, the perfect compliment for your romantic adventure. Having Santa Fe’s pristine wilderness to yourselves will reinforce your appreciation for nature, as well as each other.
As daylight turns to dusk, Santa Fe’s evening skies create a symphony of colors, transforming from turquoise blue to deep orange and red. Marvel at the sunset and enjoy a specialty silver coin margarita from La Fonda’s fifth-floor Bell Tower, the highest terrace in Santa Fe (open weather permitting). Or hop on the Pinzgauer Tour offered by Santa Fe Walkabouts for a ride up to Baldy Peak, offering a 12,000-foot panoramic sunset view.
The City Different is home to an unrivaled collection of James Beard recognized culinary gourmands and local farm-to-table food artisans. Whether you’re looking for elegant sophistication or something a little more quaint, Santa Fe is teeming with romantic restaurant options. After a day of passion, have an intimate dinner next to a crackling piñon fire at Rio Chama Steakhouse. And at the end of the night, enjoy a night cap with your amor at Secreto Bar, located inside the sublime St. Francis Hotel. Here you’ll discover ancient wine-making traditions introduced by Santa Fe’s Franciscan monks, as well as a wide array of award-winning, hand-crafted cocktails.
Romance is found everywhere in Santa Fe. Wherever you go, you’ll be smitten by the city’s charm, sophistication, and ever-present beauty. And as your love for Santa Fe grows, so will your love for one another.
Fine art meets fine dining in this one of a kind event. There are fashion shows, an auction, home tours, and the Edible Art Tour–an evening of gallery hopping with art-inspired nibbles prepared by the area’s finest chefs.
This innovative dance company returns home this March with a program featuring Kylián’s poignant Return to a Strange Land, Alejandro Cerrudo’s striking new ballet Last, and Trey McIntyre’s seductive Like a Samba.
Held the last Friday of every month, this exciting world-class contemporary art experience opens up the hip Railyard Arts District at night. RAD (The Railyard Art District), a cooperative of 10 Railyard art galleries hosts its “Last Friday Art Walk” throughout the Railyard.
OmegaMart looks the way everyone expects a grocery store to look. The shelves are fully stocked with a hundred different things. The hand-made ‘OmegaMart’ sign matches the signage of surrounding shops, and the pleasant Muzak-like sounds create a familiar mind-numbing environment for shoppers. An OmegaMart associate wearing an OmegaMart apron standing behind checkout stand even greets shoppers with a smile.
The catch is, OmegaMart is not a grocery store. It’s an original work of art. But this monumental installation isn’t your typical art, either. Simply by stepping inside, curious shoppers help create the experience that makes OmegaMart special. What else would you expect from The City Different and our friends at the avant garde art collective, Meow Wolf?
During the 2011/2012 school year, Meow Wolf’s CHIMERA Educational Outreach Program worked with over 1000 elementary school students to design products for commercial reproduction and display. The hands-on project gave students the chance to be on the producer side of consumerism by creating 150 original designs for OmegaMart’s displays and faux-groceries.
Some products are simply empty boxes or recycled containers with originally designed sticker-labels. Other products are cast-plaster sculptures painted and labeled with repetitive consistency. OmegaMart also stocks with finest oxymorons like ‘Locally-Nationalized Produce’ and ‘Organically Recommended Meats.’ Tongue-in-cheek murals surround shoppers, and fake handmade display cases and freezers line the walls. Many collected items from actual grocery stores – ‘Sale!’ and ‘ Big Savings!’ signs – hang from the ceiling alongside humorous propaganda posters.
Laughter can be heard up and down the aisles as customers explore the store, inspect items, and even buy one or two ‘products’ before they leave. The groceries may be fake, but they can still be purchased with real money!
Come experience OmegaMart‘s funhouse reflection of daily life, open Wednesday through Sunday, 12pm-6pm at 1636 St. Michael’s Dr. from now until September 23rd, so Interested in art events? Find more here!