Santa Fe Arts Neighborhoods Elevate Art Appreciation

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.

Canyon Road in full effect – photo courtesy of Essential Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Santa Fe Railyard District

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.

Manitou Gallery in the West Palace Art District

Studio Tours

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.

Santa Fe – Spring Must Do’s

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.

DIY Month

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

Photo: Rosalie O’Connor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Keep Santa Fe Colorful With ARTfeast February 22-24

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.

Highlights from ARTfeast 2013:

By Gabe Trujillo 2/21/13

Romantic Guide to Santa Fe

Couple exploring Downtown Santa Fe

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 Livability dubbed it one of the Top 10 Romantic Cities in America. Below is my insider’s guide to a romantic stay in Santa Fe.

 

Chocolate elixir from Kakawa Chocolate House
Photo courtesy of Food Network TV

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.

Estrella del Norte Vineyard

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.

Enjoying the serenity of the Santa Fe wilderness
Photo Courtesy of Homes.com

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.

Spectacular sunset from La Fonda Bell Tower

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.

Indulging in a romantic dinner

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.

 

Valentine’s Day & Annual Romantic Events

At the Artist Table

WHEN: February 14, 2013 from 6 – 9 pm

Looking for a truly memorable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? “At the Artist Table” presents an intimate evening of fine art and cuisine.

Moonstruck at the Lensic Performing Arts Center

WHEN: February 14, 2013 at 7 pm

Join us for a Valentine’s Day screening of this romantic comedy, released in 1987 starring Cher and Nicholas Cage.

ARTfeast

WHEN: February 22-24, 2013

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.

Santa Fe Restaurant Week

WHEN: February 24–March 3, 2013

Feast on delicious, three-course meals at a fraction of the cost. Dinners will be priced at $25 for two for casual-dining restaurants, or $20, $30 or $40 per person, depending on the restaurant.

 Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

WHEN: March 29-30, 2013

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.

First Friday Art Walks

WHEN: First Friday of the Month

Join the West Palace Arts District Galleries every month on the First Friday for a variety of openings and exhibitions. Hours for events are usually from 5 to 7:30 pm.

Last Friday Art Walk at the Railyard Galleries

WHEN: Last Friday of the Month

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.

Santa Fe Opera Festival Season

WHEN: June 28 – August 24, 2013

The repertory includes a world premiere, the first Santa Fe performances of another brilliant opera by Rossini, the return of a comic opera by Jacques Offenbach, and two popular revivals.

By Gabe Trujillo 2/14/13

Can’t-Miss Santa Fe Winter Experiences

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”  – John Steinbeck

While many towns lull into hibernation during the winter months, Santa Fe vibrates with life. Picturesque snowdrifts blanket adobe walls. Laughter and conversation surround crackling kiva fireplaces. The spicy aromas of piñon and cedar permeate the air. Deep relaxing pueblo drumming echoes northern New Mexico. And flavorful pots of posole and green chile stew transport you back to grandma’s cozy kitchen. Food & Wine proclaims, “Winter is the perfect time to explore Santa Fe and discover all of its wondrous offerings.” We locals couldn’t agree more!

Winter in The City Different is, well, different. In a city blessed with a gorgeous array of winter scenery, you’ll often find lunchtime temperatures 30 degrees warmer than our crisp mornings, and sunshine during a snowfall is not uncommon. Few things match the sublime sight of light rays dancing between giant snowflakes.

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PARTY ON IN PEACE: Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Fiesta de Santa Fe.

If there’s one tradition that captures the vibrant spirit of Santa Fe, it’s our city’s annual celebration, La Fiesta de Santa Fe–a colorful, historic feast unlike anything you’ve experienced. With parades, dancing, concerts, and a 30-foot effigyof gloom built every year just to be burned to the ground, La Fiesta de Santa Fe is truly a feast for all the senses.

As thousands of fiesta-goers who return year-after-year will attest, celebrating Santa Fe style means more than just revelry. Legendary food, music and the pageantry of 300 year traditions provide the perfect celebration.  Crowds discover and rediscover a bounty of authentic local cuisine and regional wines at gourmet restaurants and traditional food booths lining the Plaza. Streets spill over with music, parades and cries of “Viva la Fiesta,” with festivities pausing only for a majestic, time-honored Catholic ceremony.

Ask any local, and you’ll discover that Fiesta de Santa Fe has a special place in the hearts of Santa Feans. Beyond its fun and pageantry, it offers a unique blend of ancient culture, modern art, and longstanding community traditions.  ¡Viva La Fiesta!

A Celebration of Peace

With a name that means “holy faith” in Spanish, it won’t surprise anyone to learn that there’s a lot of Spanish colonial heritage in Santa Fe. In fact, Santa Fe was considered the capital city even when New Mexico was still the “Kingdom of New Mexico” under the rule of the King of Spain. La Fiesta de Santa Fe is a celebration created by the conquistadors who helped establish colonies here.

It might be hard to get excited about celebrating colonialism in the Twenty First Century, but Fiesta de Santa Fe has survived since 1912 because it was never a celebration of Spanish conquest. La Fiesta de Santa Fe has survived so long because it celebrates cultures coming together in peace. After years of conflict between colonists and native tribes, Don Diego de Vargas successfully re-occupied Santa Fe without conflict or bloodshed. It was such a profound step toward peaceful coexistence that De Vargas attributed it to divine intervention and insisted that a feast be held in reverence of the Virgin Mary.

Conflicts did not completely disappear, but the tradition of celebrating a peaceful marriage of differing cultures remained, an attitude that characterizes Santa Fe even today. Visitors can celebrate culture and history by retracing the actual steps of the city’s ancestors through the center of town, or by joining a candlelight procession on the last day of the Fiesta.

A Celebration of Art

In 1924, before Burning Man, and comparatively new to the rest of Fiesta celebrations, the burning of Zozobra began as a creation by artist William Shuster. A member of a group known around town as Los Cincos Pintores (the five painters), Shuster was among the first Anglo artists to discover Santa Fe’s unspoiled beauty and natural splendor. By then, La Fiesta de Santa Fe was over two hundred years old and had seen better days.

Not content to let the tradition die, Will Shuster and several of his friends hatched a plot to stage a fiesta of their own in an empty lot behind City Hall. Shuster adapted a tradition with roots in Roman Catholicism as well as the cultural ceremonies of the Yaqui Indians to create a huge marionette personification of gloom that would be burned into cinders.

This year Fiesta de Santa Fe celebrates its 300th anniversary, proving that partying in peace can be a lasting tradition. So join Santa Fe in watching your troubles and gloom go up in smoke. “Viva La Fiesta”!

Fiesta De Santa Fe Events: September 5-9, 2012

September 5

Concierto de Mariachi: 10am – 12pm & 2pm – 4pm at the Lensic Performing Art Center
Historical Fiesta Lecture:  6pm – 7:30 September 5 at the New Mexico History Museum

September 6

Burning of Zozobra: 3pm – 11pm  at Fort Marcy Park

September 7

Pregon de la Fiesta: 6am – 7am at Rosario Chapel
Fiesta Fine Art and Craft Market: 9am – 5pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Food Booths: 9am – 10pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Bandstand on the Plaza: 10am – 10pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Official Opening of the Fiesta: 12pm – 12:30pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Entrada de Don Diego de Vargas: 2pm – 3pm at the Santa Fe Plaza

September 8

Desfile de Los Ninos (The Pet Parade): 9am – 10:45am Downtown Santa Fe
Bandstand on the Plaza: 10:45am – 10pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
La Merienda (The Fashion Show): 3pm – 5pm at the James A. Little Theater
Gran Baile: 7:30pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center

 September 9

Solemn Procession: 9:30am – 10am at the Palace of the Governors
Pontifical Mass: 10am – 11:15am at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi
Bandstand on the Plaza: 11am- 5pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Desfile de la Gente Historical Parade: 12:30pm – 3 pm Downtown Santa Fe
Closing Ceremonies: 5:15pm – 5:30pm at the Santa Fe Plaza
Mass of Thanksgiving and Candlelight Procession: 7pm – 9pm at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Find more ways and reasons to celebrate in Santa Fe here!