Located at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center on the NE corner of West Marcy Street and Grant Avenue from July 6-8, 2010. Registration in advance at [email protected]

Every summer, the art opportunities in Santa Fe seem to get better and better. The two-year-old SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair) WEST Exhibit and its big sister, Art Santa Fe celebrating a tenth anniversary, are both now well-established and welcomed as summer events, and Santa Fe’s art educators have exhibited their wisdom by developing new ways for those who love art AND Santa Fe to learn more about each.


SOFA WEST returns to Santa Fe from July 8 to 11, and has worked with local arts professionals to organize an exciting three-day symposium entitled Historic Bond/Contemporary Spirit: Collecting New Southwest Native Pottery. This intriguing educational event begins on Tuesday, July 6, 2010, one day before SOFA WEST opens and runs through Thursday, July 8 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Attendees will also be welcomed to the invitation-only opening of the SOFA exhibit on July 7 at 6:30pm.


Tailored to both the collector and the connoisseur, the Historic Bond/Contemporary Spirit symposium features presenters Garth Clark, who wears a multitude of hats as an author and specialist in modern and contemporary ceramics and as a curator, critic and art dealer; Bruce Bernstein, PhD, executive director of SWAIA (Southwestern Association for Indian Arts); and Ellen Bradbury Reid, former director of Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe (now known as the New Mexico Museum of Art) and currently head of Recursos de Santa Fe, the city’s well-regarded organizer of a variety of conferences and symposia that cover the panoply of arts, architecture and history, past and present, that distinguish the Southwest.

Garth Clark, himself a passionate collector, has said that the pottery culture of the Southwest is “rich, mesmerizing, unparalleled, and uninterrupted for two thousand years.” The symposium creates a venue in which a small group of pottery enthusiasts can travel back through the millennia with their guides, both noted scholars and Native Potters, via a thoughtful program of travel, demonstrations and lecture presentations.

Dr. Bruce Bernstein of SWAIA, a principal organizer of the Historic Bond/Contemporary Spirit symposium, has said that the program was designed to explore the ongoing meaning of pottery in the culture while examining the great beauty of today’s creations, since through the years, “Southwestern Native pottery has been through cycles of renewal and regeneration, resulting in compelling contemporary innovations including new forms, techniques and symbolism.”

Key organizer Ellen Bradbury Reid, of Recursos de Santa Fe, notes that it is verging on 25 years “since there was a serious recap of the world of pueblo ceramics.” While newer Native pottery has moved from traditional to innovative and even irreverent,  the roots of the process remain strong and visible. The work of the younger potters shows a freshness  and inventive quality that appeals to collectors and curators alike.


The program has been well thought-out and includes exclusive curatorial tours of prehistoric and historic Pueblo pottery from internationally recognized museum collections, as well as private collections of historic and contemporary Native ceramics. As all art lovers know, experiencing the depth of  a private collection is one of the most exciting ways to indulge a passion, as well as being a rare privilege. The travel leg of the symposium takes participants to tour the Pueblo of Acoma, the Sky City, located 2 hours SW of Santa Fe, where they can witness the making of Pueblo pottery first-hand. Truly one of the most unusual of pueblos, with its location atop a mesa, Acoma is among the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the US, and its rich and unique history invites further study.

For the truly intrepid traveler, the education can continue with an exploration of Chaco Canyon, the largest, best-preserved and most architecturally sophisticated of all the ancient Southwestern Native villages. On July 11 and 12, 25 adventurers can experience the striking aura of this prehistoric center of Anasazi ceremony and trade. Sturdy walking shoes, sunhats and sunscreen are required. Chaco Canyon is definitely a bucket-list place, and 26 miles of dirt road are rewarded by a glorious vision of the past.

July in Santa Fe promises to be hot, not only in temperature, but in choices for memorable art adventures – and this is truly one of them!