Even with its long days, summer is a season that simply seems to fly by. But here in Santa Fe, our numerous arts events prove summer has yet to reach its peak. I’ll be taking my vacation off-season and enjoying the great weather at home, because August is an amazingly artful month of can’t-miss experiences.
Santa Fe has a centuries-old history of Native art and culture. Baskets and beads, paintings and pottery, jewelry and clothing — all are part of an artistic legacy that grew from usage. And over time, these items grew more beautiful and desirable to collectors. SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market has history, too, and Santa Fe is primed for its 93rd appearance Aug. 18-24.
The whole town dresses up for this party. And even after years of attending, I can’t wait to show up in my finery. Seeing the crowd decked out in its silvery best sends any style-hound hunting for a Concho belt or dangly turquoise earrings.
The Market hosts artists from coast to coast so you’ll find both Penobscot baskets and Pueblo pottery. Haida carvings find a home near Hopi katsinas, and Navajo rugs and colorful paintings are also part of the mix. Bring your collector’s eye and you won’t be disappointed.
Meet a Native Art Star on the Page and in Person
One of the West’s most celebrated painters makes a special trip to Santa Fe during Indian Market. Kevin Red Star, a Crow native from Lodge Grass, Mont., delves deep into family experience and heritage to create contemporary works prized by collectors. One of the first students of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Red Star also received a scholarship to the San Francisco Art Institute.
The experience provided exposure to political and social concerns that affect Native life and continue to inform his work. Red Star notes “I hope to accomplish something for the American Indian and at the same time achieve personal satisfaction in a creative statement through my art.”
IFAM, the Indigenous Fine Art Market, sets down roots in the Santa Fe Railyard Aug. 21-23. This new festival runs concurrently with Indian Market, giving visitors double the reason to be in Santa Fe. IFAM’s mission is to provide exposure for artists whose work may not fit SWAIA categories or regulations. There are over 565 registered Native American nations and IFAM’s palette of participants includes a host of Canadian First Nations and indigenous Hawaiian artists. It’s no surprise that the artist list has grown quickly!
And IFAM hosts a special event Aug. 21 called Red Star, Rising Star with — you guessed it — Kevin Red Star. Red Star is mentoring George Alexander, a young Muscogee artist, and together they’ll do a live paint accompanied by music from Brian Frejo. The resulting artwork will be raffled off and a book signing at the event both benefit IFAM. The Market runs both days 10 a.m.–5 p.m., with entertainment on the Railyard stage noon-10 p.m. Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday.
Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams Are a Perfect Pair
Speaking of indigenous Hawaii, I heartily recommend the O’Keeffe Museum’s killer exhibit Georgia O’Keeffe & Ansel Adams: The Hawaii Pictures Exhibit. Both artists had a special connection to New Mexico, so pairing them makes sense, especially as they also shared a natural ability to let native flora create an authentic sense of place.
It’s amazing to think of O’Keeffe as a hired art-hand for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which commissioned her to create ad illustrations in 1939. O’Keeffe’s compositional ability is always remarkable, and her tropical blossoms and landscapes offer a lushness that contrasts with her Southwestern works. Adams was also in Hawaii on commission; his 1948 government assignment was followed by a 1957 bank commission. Adams’ love of the outdoors and deep connection to the land are always at the forefront of his images and this stunning compendium is no exception. See this one before it closes Sept. 17.
Wrap Up Your Summer With Only-in-Santa-Fe Experiences
Summer’s beauty is far from over. And Santa Fe can prove it, with a bounty of treasures ripe for the picking. There’s no place like here to tuck an artistic rendering of colorful memories into your bag. When the arts of August arrive, just get here and let Santa Fe do the rest.
Summer is in full bloom–flowers blossoming and bees buzzing on long days ripe for enjoyment. I’m buzzing too, with excitement about the artistic riches in our hive. Santa Fe is always top 10 for creative cities, so we don’t need to go looking. Art and artists abound here!
See Beyond the Flower to a Colorful Career in Santa Fe
After her 30 years in residence, it’s apt that the new Judy Chicago exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Art is titled Local Color: Judy Chicago in New Mexico 1984–2014. As the artist notes, New Mexico attracted her for the same reasons it draws so many:
“What I wanted was the freedom to work. And that’s what New Mexico has given me, far away from the centers of the art world where the international art market presses down on artists and makes it difficult to pursue a personal vision like my own.”
The exhibit focuses on works made in New Mexico, where Chicago shares studio space with her husband in an old hotel they renovated. A gamut of media is represented – cast bronze and needlework, stained and painted glass, works on paper and painted porcelain in themes both intimate and universal.
Far East Art Styles in a Southwest Setting
Our serene Santa Fe Botanical Garden provides seasonal color and form for plant-loving people. But those who love get an extra twist on the outdoors with Origami in the Garden. This large-scale installation of folded metal forms by artist Kevin Box is up until October. Each time I visit, I choose a different time of day, so the magic of light and weather always lets me experience these unique works anew.
The artist considers origami a “simple metaphor for life. We all begin with a blank page, what we choose to do with it is what matters and the possibilities are endless.” Though fascinated by this intricate Japanese art form, Box was struck by the natural impermanence of the paper traditionally used to create origami. His re-envisioning led to 15 evocative cast and fabricated sculptures thoughtfully situated throughout in the garden’s graceful setting. The garden has been a great addition to the City Different and installations like this prove it!
The Artistic Landscape is Unlimited at SITE Santa Fe
A visit to the cutting-edge SITE Santa Fe is de rigueur. From the day it opened, the quality has remained sharp, with thought-provoking exhibitions that validate Santa Fe’s credentials as an arts capital. The project, SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, is a six-year series of linked exhibitions showcasing contemporary art of the Americas, and the museum-scale SITE space kicks off the project with Unsettled Landscapes, opening on July 17.
Organized by a curatorial team from throughout the Western Hemisphere, Unsettled Landscapes is the first of three biennial exhibitions taking place. Sewing together the themes of landscape, territory, and trade, the exhibit is laced with political and historical narratives. With artists from Nunavut in the northernmost reaches of Canada to Chile’s Tierra del Fuego, the artistic spectrum covers a lot of territory. I’m ready to embark on this journey July 18 with Pablo Helguera’s Nuevo Romancero Nuevomexicano, a multi-disciplinary performance based on the forbidden card games of New Mexico’s Mexican era.
Bring On the Blues
Anyone who knows me knows that Turquoise, Water, Sky: the Stone and Its Meaning at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture has me enthralled. My turquoise fandom has me ooh-in and ahh-ing at this remarkable compendium of artifacts from the Museum’s collection. Not simply a semi-precious gem, turquoise has been honored as a sky and water stone, bringing blessings, good fortune, protection, good health and long life.
Cherished for its beauty and extensive range of hues, this “fallen sky stone” hidden in Mother Earth was a Southwestern adornment long before Columbus landed. Each individual stone’s color depends on the minerals in the area where it was mined. More copper means a bluer stone, more iron a greener one. Ancient mines dotted the Southwest, and the resulting variety of color and design is mesmerizing. And the history of turquoise in the Southwest is just as spellbinding. The museum has done a yeoman’s job of scouring the archives for examples, and an afternoon here means you’ll probably be shopping later to add to your own collection.
Santa Fe Creates an Especially Artistic Summer Experience
Having this rich mix of the traditional and the new means there is a pleasurable palette of experience for all. That’s why my adobe abode is summer visitors’ central! Creativity has been at the forefront of Santa Fe for centuries, so make your artistic pit stop here and you won’t go wrong.
Standing, clapping, dancing and cheering — there’s more than one way to appreciate a terrific performance. Once you’re in-the-know, you’ll have more than one historic Santa Fe spot for discovering the musical pleasures of the season. Since I’m totally Tuned Into Santa Fe, I’ve written your summer score, complete with notes on the scene.
Let’s Go Lensic
Santa Fe’s outpost origins meant foresight and originality were necessities. Nowhere is this more evident than the place that mixes mariachi music with 100-piece orchestras: The Lensic Center for the Performing Arts.
Built in 1930 by immigrant merchant Nathan Salmon and son-in-law E. John Greer, the Lensic quickly became a Depression-era social hub for inexpensive escape. Named through a contest requiring either a Spanish-sounding name or one incorporating the initials of Salmon’s grandchildren, the Lensic awarded Mrs. P. J. Smithwick a $25 prize for combining all six initials into a clever acronym alluding to a movie projector lens.
Recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of Save America’s Treasures, the Lensic hosts 200-plus events every year. Best-of-Broadway stars, local youth dance companies, professional ballet and flamenco troupes, and a host of comedians all wind their way into the wings.
Set Your Sights on the Sounds of the Santa Fe Opera
My two most perfect months of summer started for me with a back-when stint ushering in the old theater.
Old theater, you ask? This pioneering company began with one man’s notion of a site for singers to don new roles and enhance existing ones with ample rehearsal time in a secluded setting; the close-knit family atmosphere continues. His mission included a program to nurture young talents transitioning from academic life to professional opera. Today, founder/conductor John Crosby’s vision has become one of the world’s most unique opera venues, a place where careers begin, break-out roles are created, and premieres are the norm.
But back to the theater … Early patrons watched from open-air wooden benches on the grounds of a former guest ranch. A Time magazine article on the 1957 Madame Butterfly opening noted: “… traffic on the big four-lane Santa Fe–Taos highway was fin to fender.” Such enthusiastic support was critical 10 years later, when early morning flames engulfed the theater. Scheduled performances took place in a school gym and a national campaign to rebuild was launched. One year later a new, improved theater opened with a comeback performance of Puccini’s Butterfly.
Despite the magical outdoor setting, the new theater was still open to the elements and patrons beat a retreat during summer showers. In 1994, SFO decided the swift sell-out of rain ponchos had to end and plans were made for a full roof. The 1998 opening night unveiled the company’s third house with — you guessed it — Madame Butterfly.
Third time’s a charm and now patrons marvel at the architectural artistry as well as the artistry onstage. And there’s artistry in the time-honored tailgate tradition. White tablecloths, candles and champagne flutes delight, but a pair of chairs works perfectly with a pre-ordered Opera picnic.
For deeper understanding, I recommend the preview dinner with wine and an informative lecture over dessert. If you’re like me, indulge in an opening night dinner, an elegant experience for dressing in your evening finery.
BTW, opera attire runs the gamut from jeans to Jean Paul Gaultier, so all fashionistas are welcome to strut their stuff at any of the six new productions opening June 27 with Bizet’s Carmen. Watch the sun setting in all its glory, and no matter your fashion, food or favorite aria, I promise a night you’ll never forget!
Strike Up the Santa Fe Bandstand
My summer budget includes the aforementioned experiences, so I’m super-psyched when the goodness is gratis, thanks to the Santa Fe Bandstand. I can’t think of a better place than the leafy, historic Santa Fe Plaza to mix and mingle over music. The Bandstand brings two months of amazing almost-nightly performances, all genres and all absolutely free. Imagine that! On second thought, don’t imagine, just do it!
Local bands let loose for loyal fans and you’ll see me June 23 for opening night with the Mil-Tones Brass Band. The Mil-Tones are followed by Zydeco master Terence Simien, and the bontemps will definitely roulez. I’ve been practicing my cumbia and samba for the mix of dance-worthy Latin bands on tap, so I’ll be rhythmically ready when Son Como Con takes the stage.
The series is decked with dance delights and the crowd shifts happily to make space for newcomers. Feet will fly for the Agalu African drummers; I’ve tuned up with Saturday classes at the Railyard Performance Center. I’m still honing my swing-dance steps but I have the future in mind. And if you simply want to watch, traditional New Mexico folkloric dance comes alive with Baile Espanol as does flamenco via the Maria Benitez Youth Dance Troupe. You’ll find the likes of Joe King Carrasco, crowned a perennial favorite in these parts for righteous rockin’, occasionally pairing with up-and-coming Santa Fe Opera stars.
Rockers, blues singers, jazzmen, and bluegrass pickers, they’re all here. There’s simply something for everyone, with circus acts like Wise Fool and Clan Tynker and even some noontime concerts. No foolin’, be wise and dip into this summer treat. Grab the family and a picnic blanket, mucho fun awaits. After all, I did say almost nightly.
Get in the Santa Fe Mood for Music and More
Summer comes just once a year, and when it does, you’ll find me here. I’ll be home, home on the range in Santa Fe, taking part in all the sounds of the City Different. Let our city-full slate of live performances set the musical mood for your getaway. Santa Fe is definitely the place to find a summer seat waiting just for you!
Not to brag, but I surprised my sister and brother-in-law with the ultimate gift last weekend: A break from their kids during their Santa Fe stay. While they toured art galleries and sipped top-shelf margaritas, I introduced my 7-year-old niece and 9-year-old nephew to the kid-friendly wonders of Santa Fe.
With an abundance of hands-on arts exhibits, miles of free biking and hiking, and scores of open-air festivals, I heard plenty of oohs and ahhs, but not one, “I’m booooored.”
The Harrell House Is Crawling with Knowledge
Tarantulas, millipedes, and scorpions, oh my! The Harrell House of Natural Oddities & Bug Museum offers a scientific adventure for nature lovers big and small. With 2,400 specimens on display and scores of live insects children can hold in their hands (under the watchful eyes of the Harrell House pest pros, of course), children are drawn to this locale like moths to flames. The gift shop offers toys, fossils and science projects. Luckily for me, the tarantulas aren’t for sale.
Interactive Galleries will Make Art Aficionados of your Little Ones
Each year, the Santa Fe Arts Institute hosts Arts Alive! events at museums across the city. Spur your little traveler’s creative side with sessions like Japanese kite-making, crafting animal masks, and creating Brazilian dolls, happening Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-2pm. Arts Alive! proved to be so popular that programs like Tako Kichi: Kite Crazy in Japan, has just been extended through July 27. And the breathtaking hand-carved animals featured in the Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico, will be on display through next February.
If an Arts Alive! visit doesn’t fit into your travel plans, not to worry. My niece, nephew and I devised our own ideal itinerary. We started by peddling along to the Santa Fe Botanic Gardens along its scenic bike path before cutting over to Museum Hill. The Hill features four of Santa Fe’s premier museums—the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Spanish Colonial Museum, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art—in one walkable location (even for the shortest of strides).
We made our last stop at the folk art museum, with more than 150,000 cultural artifacts captivating my niece and nephew. Besides the traditional masks and dolls from around the world, interactive galleries—complete with hands-on art stations and a Tree of Life-theme play area—transfixed my pint-sized tourists.
After all the oohing and ahhing, we were a little famished. So we grabbed a quick, tasty bite at Museum Hill Café. The outdoor bistro boasts stunning mountain vistas and a broad menu perfect for every palate.
Santa Fe Children’s Museum Leaves EVERYTHING to the Imagination
The Santa Fe Children’s Museum offers the ultimate playground for a child’s mind. And if you’re like me, you can’t help but rediscover your inner child within its walls. This place brims with fun activities for the kids: A dress-up area, cozy story space, water table, wooden blocks, giant bubbles, and much more.
My nephew couldn’t get over the rope chairlift…yep, only in Santa Fe. Outside, the kids tore into a digging area, live music space, a working garden, and more.
But the real hit was Makerspace: An 800 square-foot workshop full of cool tools and technology, from soldering irons to sewing machines to a computer lab. Just sign your kid up for their workshops and classes and let your little ones craft their perfect day.
Their calendar of upcoming events includes an open art studio, watercolor exploration, and even a jewelry-making class on Sundays!
A Crafty Celebration Worthy of Your Scrapbook
Planning a Santa Fe visit June 2-3? Don’t miss the annual Spring Festival & Children’s Fair. This weekend celebration will be held at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum set on 200 rolling acres. Kids love the sheep shearing, weaving, and blacksmithing demonstrations, and can try their hand at archery, arts & crafts, face painting, and lots more. Factor in wagon rides, music, dancing, live animals that include mini-horses, a rare white buffalo, and a wolf, and you’ve got a memory that can only be made in Santa Fe. Kids 12 and under get in free, so pack a family picnic and get ready for a weekend adventure.
Make This Vacation Your Kids’ Santa Fe-vorite
When my niece and nephew reconnected with their Mom and Dad after all of our explorations, they could barely get the words out fast enough to describe the experience. These sights and sounds had them truly inspired, as well as really tired. (I got major thumbs up from both parents and kids on this outing!) The fact is, the adventures we adult Santa Fe enthusiasts can discover here are darn near equaled by the thrills that await the kiddos. So don’t forget the camera. Your kids will want to relive this adventure over and over.
Drawn to the artistic? I know the feeling well. Watching the talent on parade at Canyon Road’s Passport to the Arts last weekend left me with an appetite for more. Fortunately, Santa Fe delivers a mighty dose of the artistic every single month. There’s so much happening this summer that it’s taken me two weeks to share it all with you. (You read last week’s post, right?) Rest assured, my soul — and yours — won’t go hungry.
Let Your Eyeballs Lead You on an Artful Tour
Summer’s arrival brings long shadows. Around here, we call that time of day “legend light” and the magnificent landscape has been inviting paintbrushes, pastels, and photographers for centuries. Many artisans call Santa Fe home, and revelation arrives when these artistic residents open their doors to welcome us to the Santa Fe Studio Tour June 27-29.
A Friday night preview at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design kicks off the excitement. On Saturday and Sunday, it’s time to work the map. The Santa Fe Studio Tour offers the opportunity to visit with 58 artists in 37 studios across the city. Chatting with the artists and seeing their creative spaces always gives me more context, deeper insights into their work. Plus, I get to see whose space is the quirkiest.
From Cutting Edge to Classic at Weekend Warp Speed
The Downs at Santa Fe may have morphed from a racetrack into a flea market, but the City Different is way out ahead of the field with this summer’s Art Trifecta. From July 12-14, three stellar organizations join forces to create a winning triplet of artistic expression. Two are storied annual festivals, Art Santa Fe and the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, and they share this summer weekend with SITE Santa Fe. Santa Fe’s year-round destination for the avant-garde, SITE is revered by locals for showcasing radical re-evaluations of what art means in the 21st century.
The Friday, July 13 opening for The Pearl proves the point with a multi-media exhibition of works by Cuban artist Enrique Martinez Celaya (who also trained as a physicist – now that definitely piques my interest).
Art Santa Fe — Three Words That Say It All
While Santa Fe has a justifiable reputation as the art capital of the Southwest, the art is by no means all Western-style. We have our share of cowboy painters —and darn good ones, too — but cutting edge work shows up all the time. And nowhere is this more evident than at Art Santa Fe.
Kids rebelling against the idea of another museum? Turn their eye-rolling into the eye-opening with a trip to Art Santa Fe. The international, contemporary art fair July 10-13 brings the newest, boldest, most original works in its 14th show. My little artist anticipates seeing what’s new every summer and participating in a number of the event’s special sessions, like Korean papermaking I know where I’ll be spending a lot of the weekend.
Globally Yours in Santa Fe
Just as the quickly as Art Santa Fe has transported me to unimagined other worlds, a quick jaunt over to Museum Hill to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market sends me back to the past, to traditions, and to the far reaches of the globe.
With over 150 folk artists from more than 60 countries collected in the space (the expansive Milner Plaza), on same weekend (July 11-13), I can watch a Guatemalan master gourd carver at work, while munching on Indian samosa and listening to Kenyan music. The best part? As I load up my new, handmade basket for Farmers Market shopping or adorn myself with some great new ethnic jewelry I’ve picked up at the market, I’ll do it in good conscience: Artists take home roughly 90% of all proceeds to support their families—and traditions– back home. I’ve already purchased my ticket!
Santa Fe’s Historic Art Heritage Hits the Plaza
It’s no surprise that Santa Fe boasts the deepest roster of traditional Spanish artists in the country. Many of the artisans who show at Spanish Market are direct descendants of the Spanish settlers who, when packing for their trip across the ocean into the new world, decided against packing easels and paint brushes. (No room on the burro!) Without any of the Old-World gold-leaf for decoration, the settlers turned instead to gold-colored straw, crafting intricate straw inlay to decorate their homes and churches.
And without any oils or paints, they mixed natural pigments still used by traditional retablo artist to depict and honor their favorite saints.
It’s not just the divine that’s sublime, though. After popping into the St. Francis Basilica, I like to head over to the Contemporary Hispanic Market for some twists on tradition.
Pack Your Comfortable Walking Shoes for Indian Market
Santa Fe’s renowned SWAIA Indian Market turns 93 this year but hardly shows its age. In fact, it seems to get bigger and stronger every year. No wonder, since this is the country’s premiere Native American Arts Festival. (Note to self: Don’t forget the comfy footwear!)
Indian Market is a sell-out occasion, so make hotel reservations in advance. That way, you can hit the stalls early before the best pieces are whisked away by proud new owners.
I appreciate how the entire town–locals and visitors alike–turns out in their finery for Indian Market. No doubt, we’re stimulated by the variety of colors and textures on display. And if you mosey over to the Bandstand, you might see how all the elements of a Native costume work in unison when the person on stage does a hoop dance.
Indian Market covers not only the entirety of Santa Fe’s Plaza but the gamut of native art as well. And it’s not all pottery and turquoise.
Artistic traditions vary from region to region, with Pima baskets and Haida carvings, Pueblo pottery or Navajo weaving. Contemporary artists are also on display, giving us a generous peek at the next generation of tradition. Simply put, Indian Market is on my Must List!
From Far and Near, the Art Comes Here
I know, lucky me, I live here. Sorry if I’ve made it hard for you to choose. That’s why my own visitors come back again and again … and again. All these wonderfully artistic events return annually, too, so pick what you’ll be doing in Santa Fe this summer and next summer — I know you’ll be back!
The sun is hard at work in Santa Fe, coaxing bulbs to put out their colorful blossoms to sway in the spring breezes. We’ve had our final drift of snow, and day by day, the sun sticks around in the sky longer and longer. I say it’s time to take a leisurely tour to look around the colorful Santa Fe landscape and be assured the city is indeed in full bloom.
Capture the Colors at The Bishop’s Garden
The harbinger of spring in Santa Fe is the ubiquitous forsythia. The rich yellows of this hardy plant, followed swiftly by fragrant flowering fruit trees, call me to the Bishop’s Garden, designed by Bishop Lamy who built the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. A colorful real-life character, he is the famed subject of Willa Cather’s Santa Fe-centric novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop, a must-read for lovers of Santa Fe.
I love spending some quiet moments in our Cathedral before making a meditative circuit on the path under the beautiful blossoming trees. My next stop? A picnic on the Plaza, where the hanging baskets add color to the heart of our historic town.
Canyon Road, Painted in Mother Nature’s Hues
Any historic town deserves help sustaining special sites, and we’re fortunate the Historic Santa Fe Foundation is so firmly rooted in its commitment to preserving the gorgeous gardens at El Zaguan. Built in the 1840’s, the former Johnson family Canyon Road hacienda is named for its long interior hallway (the zaguan) and has served as an artists’ colony since the 1920’s when it was converted into a series of small apartments. The Foundation continues this tradition by offering one-year residencies to artists and writers whose work benefits from the serene surroundings.
Some of the trees in the small but lush garden are well over 100 years old, and I love to lean against their trunks and listen to leaves murmur as they did in years gone by. Stands of lilac, lavender, and roses perfume the air from spring to fall. The Santa Fe Master Gardener Association partners with the Foundation, ensuring that the garden is a water-wise oasis retaining its historic origins and beauty. Open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm, the Master Gardeners are on-site and happy to plant-talk on Thursdays and Saturdays.
If you think Santa Fe is all sagebrush and cottonwoods, you’re in for a delightful surprise! Mid-April through mid-October, the Garden Club’s Pequeno Tours (pequeno means little) offer intimate tours of three stunning homes and gardens, with a knowledgeable, plant-loving Garden Club member as guide. The tours run frequently, and are a one of a kind experience. Come July, Santa Fe is a riot of color, and the Garden Club’s Behind Adobe Walls Home and Garden Tour is too. Two successive Tuesdays take flora fanatics to eight fantastic gardens, located in private estates and historical sites.
Santa Fe Plants for the Future with a New Botanical Garden
The magnificent museum complex on Museum Hill gained a new partner across the road when the Santa Fe Botanical Garden arose amid the junipers and piñon trees. Celebrating our region’s biodiversity and plant heritage, the Botanical Garden began in 1987 with the seed of an idea planted in the minds of local gardeners. By 1993, the 35-acre Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve opened adjacent to El Rancho de las Golondrinas and cultivated the desire for a city site to host native plants and educational events. In 2006, with 11 acres of land leased long-term from the city, planning began in earnest. With the first phase completed, the Garden opened its gates for year-round viewing in 2013. I’m excited about Origami in the Garden, a large-scale outdoor sculpture exhibition with creations from Santa Fe artist Kevin Box. Kevin’s work is on display until October 25th, and the self-guided cell phone tour ensures a fully enlightened experience whenever I visit.
Plans are laid for the next phase, showcasing plants used by local cultures throughout Santa Fe’s ancient past. Clustered around a central plaza, the newest plots will include plants traditionally used for healing, cooking, weaving, and dyeing, along with outdoor classrooms to host programs for the whole family.
Pick Some Pretty Posies at the Santa Farmers’ Market
Growing Southwest beauty differs from planting in the moist Midwest or coastal rain-belts. Be it food for the table or flowers for the soul, those who live by hands in the soil bring their harvest to the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market Tuesdays and Saturdays. With spring’s arrival, the Market has moved back outside, and that means vendors are multiplying. Right now, I’m all about fresh greens to grace my plate, and beautiful bunches of flowers to make my dinner table festive only gets easier as spring turns to summer.
Make Yours a Colorful Journey to Santa Fe
A Colorful Journey … there’s more than one reason this phrase is the City Different’s calling card. The sun is painting long shadows to frame the bright hues tucked against adobe walls and lining garden walks all over town. I am nurturing the notion of adventures yet to come, but in the meantime, I invite you to share the blessings of colorful blossoms and leaves that whisper softly, “Come outdoors and celebrate spring’s return.”
As I roam the winding avenues of Santa Fe, I constantly run smack-dab into a mind-blowing creative marvel by one of the extraordinary artists we’re blessed with here. Almost always, a conversation with the artist ensues, and they share their vision for the piece, and describe how it came to life. The artistic community here is so generous and quick to help inspire others to creativity. A prime example of the shared creative passion here is DIY Santa Fe: A Creative Tourism Journey, an initiative of Santa Fe Creative Tourism, Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission. Now through the end of March, Santa Fe artists of every genre and medium you can imagine will be budding artists toward their very own personal expression. So pack your imagination and start creating.
Want to relieve stress? Throw a pot!
As a self-confessed clay-ophile, I can attest that handmade pottery is more than just beautiful decoratively. The process of throwing pottery offers a beautifully visceral artistic experience—and, it’s all kinds of fun. Ceramics with Heidi Loewen Porcelain Gallery will give you a one-on-one demonstration of the centuries-old tradition of wheel-thrown pottery, and help you create an artifact of any size that you’ll treasure the rest of your days. Yes, you’ll experience the sensation of throwing a pot into in the air (repeatedly) and transforming it into your porcelain vision. We’re talking serious fun, folks. You don’t need a lick of experience, just an ample supply of joie de vivre.
If a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words, a Photo Collage Is Worth a Novel
If you’re like me, you’re awash in cherished photos. With the advent of digital photography, our photo collections have become a tidal wave. Why not transform several of these golden memories into a collage that conveys your own personal narrative? In the Photo Collage & Mixed Media Workshop with Gail Buono, you’ll receive guided instruction on how to layout your photos, apply them to paper, and add pastel and watercolor to bring your collage vividly to life. I can tell you from personal experience that Gail Buono is the real deal, artistically speaking. She received her degree in Painting from the acclaimed School of Visual Arts in New York City, and was awarded two painting fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and her work has appeared in exhibitions throughout the U.S. and Europe. Gail is the perfect person to help unlock your inner collagist.
No Boundaries: Now That’s Art
Making the leap artistically from, say, painting still lifes to the more personal, emotional realm of abstract painting can be a bit daunting at first. But I’ve learned first-hand that some gentle coaxing from an experienced pro can really launch you into a soulful new world of personal expression. In Abstract Painting with Andrea Cermanski, you’ll get all the inspiration and technical skills needed to embark on a personally enriching journey into Abstract Art, using either encaustic or acrylic paint.
These classes are open to newbies and aspiring Jackson Pollocks alike. And while you’re in town, be sure to check out Andrea’s work on display at the William and Joseph Gallery on Canyon Road. (Yes, there will be wine.)
Santa Fe Isn’t Just Your Muse, It’s Your Subject
Up for an artistic holiday? Have I got a home run for you: Imagine soaking in all of the awe-inspiring landscapes, architectural wonders, and cultural icons of Northern New Mexico, and bringing them to life through your camera lens. That’s exactly the trip-within-the-trip that lies in store for you with Santa Fe Land and Light Photography Workshops, hosted by Eloquent Light Photography. Step by step, you’ll walk alongside award-winning photographer Craig Varjabedian, composing your own personal photographic essay of the stirring New Mexico vistas that have enchanted artists for decades. You’ll gain access to amazing locations thanks to Craig, who has photographed New Mexico for 30-plus years. You’ll also participate in group discussions, sharing your digital images and learning the best techniques for tripods, histograms, and more. If you’re a photo buff, this class is sure to click with you.
Art: If You Want It Done Right, You Have to DIY
Think of it as your passport to heightened creativity. Or a sightseeing journey for your right brain. Or even a romantic getaway for you and your senses. (All complete with stacked enchiladas and a top-shelf marg.) DIY Santa Fe is all of this and more. An artistic epiphany is calling. Answer it!
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.
One year leaves, another begins. Things change, and with the past gone, we have only the now. Einstein said “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”With the calendar’s turning, I’ve been ruminating on how to re-visit and renew my connection to myself, and to my mind, body, and soul via the revitalization of change. Be it known that I intend to “Be Here Now” in Santa Fe by shuffling my deck of experiences to become a more tuned-in, turned-on version of me … call it happiness 2.0(14)!
Divining A City Different Direction
“It’s in the cards” is one of those phrases I’ve heard bandied about over the years, and I decided it was high time I found out what that meant. Chances are you’ve seen a Tarot deck yourself and wondered what a reading might reveal. Not actually a predictor of the future, the Tarot is rather an aid to help one navigate through life’s present challenges. With so many pictorial designs, there is no one deck of cards used by all, but each set consists of cards known as the Major and Minor Arcana. The four suits of the Minor Arcana (wands, swords, cups, and pentacles), each with a king, queen, knight, and page, offer a specific meaningful approach to life’s practical daily ups and downs. By contrast, the Major Arcana is comprised of picture cards that represent principles, concepts and ideals reflecting powerful, long-term energy or big events in certain areas of life.
To move myself thoughtfully forward further into a new year, I turned to Tamara Janúz, who reads Tarot at BODY of Santa Fe every Wednesday, 9 am to noon, and Sundays 3 to 5 pm. Seated quietly, she lays out the cards without fuss and lets the story unfold before your eyes. You’ll excuse me if I don’t reveal the essence of my reading, but I will say that both the Angel and the Queen of Hearts made an appearance.
Turning Two Fitness Ideals into One with a Yoga Hike
I don’t need the cards to tell me to stay in shape (my doctor dad did that), and thanks to any number of yoga and fitness classes all over the city, I have a regular practice schedule flexible enough to keep me flexible. But I’ve been intrigued by the thought of combining two activities I enjoy — yoga and hiking — into one unique outing this year. Thanks to Stacy Kinsley and YogiHiker, it looks like I have an excellent plan to spring into action once winter says goodbye and warmer weather returns. The notion expressed in the YogiHiker tagline, “stillness in action,” embodies much of what I hope to achieve, a centered space for conducting another year on this planet.
Recognizing that any practice based on repetitive movements can easily become stale is the essence of the YogiHiker philosophy, which encourages curiosity about both outdoor environs and inner connections to the self in nature. Scheduled for an average 2.5 to 3 hour outing, each of the yogi-hikes takes place close to town, so just like me, you can engage in a centering experience in the morning and still have the rest of the day, as well as a newly-heightened appetite, to mosey back into town for a healthy and well-deserved lunch.
Get the Skinny on Santa Fe Skincare
Paying attention to feeling more blissful has been all well and good, but catching a glimpse of my skin in the mirror after the holidays was not exactly a blissful experience. Okay, it was a magnifying mirror, meaning this was a helpful but brutally honest friend. After that revelation, it hasn’t taken much convincing to steer me towards better skincare. And Living Bliss Skin Care and Botanicals is my new solution.
A home-grown small business, just the sort of operation I love to support, Living Bliss creates its products with vegan-friendly, non-GMO, organic ingredients, which in simple terms means “fear not, we’re good for you.” And as a dyed-in-the-wool Santa Fean, knowing they’re made according to the phases of the moon for potency makes me feel that’s there’s extra magic working to make me look my best. These goodies, tailor-made for our high-altitude living so close to the sun (not that I’m complaining about 300-plus days of sun, mind you) are available online, but I like to visit the tester samples right here at the Santa Fe Artisans Market in the Farmers’ Market Pavilion on Sundays. I’m even dancing around with the temptation of a personal consultation — nothing like getting advice on best practices in person.
Delight in a New Dance
My waltz with errands around town often includes a welcome stop at a building I once knew as a Piggy-Wiggly grocery, re-incarnated as a Safeway and then Alfalfa’s Natural Grocery before reaching an apex with its current occupant, BODY of Santa Fe. A many-things-to-many-people operation, BODY opened in 2004 and has morphed organically over time into a boutique, natural foods café, a yoga and exercise studio, and spa facility responsive to visitors in search of a health-conscious and sustainably-focused lifestyle. Count me in because you’ll see me there!
Thankfully, I awoke on January 1 with only a few extra pounds donated by holiday fun, but I did not wake up with zest for my usual exercise routine. I don’t know about you, but frankly, I’m a little tired of the same old squats to the same old music. An inspiration to try Nia delivered a perfect aural and physical detour. A barefoot movement practice drawing equally from martial arts, dance arts and healing motivation, Nia teaches practitioners to cultivate a body-centered awareness through movement to music. Discovering this dance-centric technique at the hands — and feet — of a roster of masterful instructors who teach at BODY was a revelation. The playlists are electric and eclectic, and the dance aspect let me forget about exercising for health and just flow into the freedom and fun of moving. No, I’m not ready for the Nia School White Belt Training at BODY in February (if you are, pencil in Santa Fe for February 20-23), but I’m all set to dance my way into 2014 with a lighter heart.
Appreciating the Appeal of a Young Year
You probably read it here already: the entrance into a new year should be a source of adventure not agonizing. And finding and embracing new experiences is a joyous way to live in the now. If you’ve penciled in joy on your calendar, then follow your bliss to Santa Fe. You’ll find delight in discovering so many pleasurable ways for self-revelation and renewal as a living, breathing being in this still-young century.
Throughout the centuries, creative souls have sought out Santa Fe for the inspiration of its heavenly blue skies, its 300-plus annual days of sunshine, and the combination of mountain light and long shadows that makes the area so inviting to the imagination.
Santa Fe became the first U.S. city to be chosen by UNESCO as a Creative City, one of only nine in the world. Artists of all kinds ply their skills year-round, including those talented types who capture it all on film or canvas for us. Discover what they’ve been up to as the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and the Canyon Road Paint-Out bring our city to an artistic apex in October.
Independent Filmmakers Make a Splash in Santa Fe
The fifth annual Santa Fe Independent Film Festival arrives on Wednesday, October 16 to occupy and intrigue film buffs for five event-filled days through Sunday, October 20. This year’s extravaganza of 80 feature-length films is frosting on the cake with filmmakers’ workshops, panel discussions and parties galore. I’m looking for a celebrity sighting of Indie Spirit Awards Winner and filmmaking legend, John Waters!
According to the New Mexico Film Commission, close to half a billion dollars were spent by film production companies over the last 10 years in New Mexico, resulting in a financial impact of nearly $1.5 billion benefitting the state. That’s a lot of action, and it has attracted the attention of both filmmakers and committed filmgoers, sure to be here for this year’s screenings.
Two downtown locations, the historic Lensic Center for the Performing Arts and the Center for Contemporary Arts, known locally as CCA, continue to act as festival venues. They are joined this year by the newly-reopened (thanks to George R.R. Martin and probably to Game of Thrones, too) Jean Cocteau Cinema in the Santa Fe Railyard. The Screen at the Santa Fe University of Art & Design on St. Michael’s Drive offers a fourth venue for experiencing the on-screen excitement.
Festival screenings kick off with 11 films beginning at 6:30 pm in the CCA Main Theater on Wednesday, October 16, and the Palace Restaurant & Saloon welcomes the sounds of Anthony Leon & the Chain in a celebratory party at 9 pm. On Thursday, October 17, CCA goes wild, with 45 different screenings between the main theater and the studio screen throughout the day 10 am to 7:00 pm. The Lensic hosts a 7 pm screening of Tapia, the compelling tale of New Mexico native Johnny Tapia, a five-time world champion boxer. At The Screen, the 7 pm screening of the documentary Pastriology will be followed by an 8:30 pm celebration of local organic foods in Studio C. A vivacious 9:00 pm after-party takes place at Tanti Luce on Shelby Street. Two days down, three to go!
The Jean Cocteau Cinema gets into the act on Friday, October 18 with a 7 pm screening of The Suicide Shop, an amusing animated French comedy. Of course, there are 27 other films to choose from that day, beginning at 10:45 am at CCA. An hour-long writing lab with screenwriter Joan Torres (ever heard of Blacula?) at 11 am in the CCA Studio accommodates only 45 people, so sign up early. You can close out the day with a 10 pm dance party at The Rouge Cat lasting into the wee hours.
If you’ve gone the distance with a full pass, be sure to eat a hearty breakfast on Saturday, October 19, since you have 38 different films to select from that day. A live cast screenplay reading of a work-in-progress by Chris Eyre (known for his films Smoke Signals, Hideaway, and Skins) helps shape his new comedic film “Up the River” at 1 pm at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. A 100-minute Writing for the Screen workshop takes place for 45 lucky folks at 2 pm in the CCA Studio. At 4:30 pm, the Eldorado Hotel, hosts Fashion Heat – Native Fashion as Art 2013, a fashion show that highlights Native American clothing designers. Taos Pueblo native and Project Runway contestant, Patricia Michaels, will introduce her 2013 collection.
If my plan for a casual sighting of John Waters’ doesn’t materialize, I know I can see him in person at his 7 pm one-man show, This Filthy World, on stage at the Lensic. A 9 pm after-party at San Francisco Street Bar and Grill gets rocking with Native American actor and local favorite Gary Farmer and his band, the Troublemakers.
The Film Fest closes with a bang on Sunday, October 20, and another 24 films still to enjoy, along with a few signature events. At 10:45 am in the CCA Main Theater, actors Wes Studi and Maria Dhu Studi host a workshop on the craft of cold reading. Noon brings master craftsman Lee Daniel to discuss cinematography in the CCA Studio, followed in the same space at 2 pm by Ron Blumberg in a take on comedy writing, but remember that 45-person limit. The Sunday feature special for locals will be Milagro Man, a biographical documentary about John Nichols, the Taos-based author of the beloved “New Mexico Trilogy” (The Milagro Beanfield War, The Magic Journey, and The Nirvana Blues), screening at the CCA Main Theater at 5:30 pm. The festival ends with a spirited round of toasts at an 8:30 pm final after-party in the recently-opened downtown Santa Fe Spirits Tasting Room.
Painters – and Printmakers and Sculptors, Too – Put On a Paint-Out
If you feel like you’ve spent a little too much time indoors watching movies, devote some of your weekend to head outdoors for an artistic adventure. Santa Fe’s renowned museums are clustered around the city, and while there’s more than one gallery district, Canyon Road resonates with anyone who’s ever parked an easel and picked up a brush to capture the summer’s morning beauty or the color of changing leaves on a crisp autumn afternoon. If this sounds like your kind of enjoyment, you’re in luck, since the Sixth Annual Canyon Road Paint-Out is waiting in the wings to enchant you.
Nestled along the Santa Fe River, Canyon Road stretches up to the mountains where the Dale Ball Trails take you into the Santa Fe National Forest, but the heart of the street is a stunning half-mile of restaurants, shops, galleries and artists’ studios brimming with magical creations. On October 18-19 this year, over 100 artists head to the street to make artistic fantasies come to brilliant life 11 am to 4 pm.
Galleries will have their doors wide open both days, and the talk of the town will be the new exhibitions, as you stroll in and out of opening receptions on Friday, October 18, from 5 -7 pm. Five Theories: Painters Reception at Canyon Road Contemporary Art hosts five artists participating in the Paint-Out, and Winterrowd Gallery welcomes painter Don Quade for an exhibit entitled Global Crossroads. Sage Creek Gallery artist Kevin Courter shows Sojourn, a series of works generated in the Big Sky Country of Montana, and Mark Yearwood has his second solo exhibition in Santa Fe, Progressive Rhythm, at InArt Gallery.
Karan Ruhlen Gallery exhibits Recent Landscapes: Near and Far, the work of Martha Mans, and at Longworth Gallery, you can catch Empowerment, Kimberly Webber’s new oil paintings. New Horizons, landscapes from the 19th to 21st centuries drawn from the collections of Matthews Gallery, will be on display there, and Turner Carroll Gallery gets vibrant with Rex Ray’s Colortopia. Silver Sun brings painter Lee McLeod and Navajo Jeweler Shane Hendren to the gallery, and Light, Action, Color at Alexandra Stevens Gallery will have all seven exhibiting artists on hand to talk about their work.
In a nod to the past, Adobe Gallery presents an exhibit/sale of art by early 20th century Native American artists who attended the Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930s and 40s under the tutelage of art teachers Dorothy Dunn and Geronima Cruz Montoya. And that’s just Friday!
On Saturday, the artists return for more “plein air” – a French term for working outdoors on the spot. At noon there’s a festival parade with marching bands, followed by performances by the talented students from the Santa Fe Public Schools Music Education Program. At 2 pm, New Concept Gallery hosts a round-table discussion on Abstract Art. Streetside happenings continue until 4 pm, and there are sure to be surprises … even we locals have to wait and see!
October Is the Month to Rediscover Why You Love Santa Fe
Thought you’d seen and done it all on your last visit to Santa Fe? Perhaps you’ll realize it’s time for another trip to one of the world’s premier arts destinations. The hunger to see and share artistic endeavors in a variety of visual forms never seems to abate in Santa Fe, and the City Different offers two out-of-the-ordinary visual arts experiences to enchant October visitors. Words hardly do these two exciting events justice, but seeing will definitely be believing.