Santa Fe has always been known for creative innovation in art, craftsmanship, and design. Since its founding in 1609, art has always characterized this colorful city. The city’s art history is a diverse blend of styles from Pueblo ancestors in 1050 A.D. to its current inhabitants. There are many traditional art forms to experience here.
Replete with natural materials, such as wool and plant fibers like yucca, Santa Fe and its surrounding areas were conducive to woven works. Ancestors fashioned blankets, sandals, baskets, and other goods. Traditional pottery featured painted motifs and optical illusions that fascinate archaeologists today. Potters applied readily available plant or ground mineral pigments to clay, wielding frayed twigs or yucca brushes to create various effects. Pueblo dwellers used vessels for storing or serving food and water. These days, artisans take the pottery tradition to fine art heights with delicately painted motifs.
As more Spanish settlers made their way to Santa Fe in the 1600s, the more word spread about this mysterious, remote land. Spanish colonists brought Catholicism, and religious motifs became common themes for artwork. They introduced embroidery, furniture-making, wood carving, painted flourishes, tinwork, and jewelry making to the local art traditions.
Around the 1920s, Santa Fe’s bustling art scene and natural environs beckoned creatives from across the country. Among these aspiring newcomers was Georgia O’Keefe, whose life’s work is on display at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe.
Current Ways to Experience Art in Santa Fe
Today, you can find artistic works in every corner of Santa Fe, but Canyon Road is a cultural mecca, boasting countless galleries, outdoor exhibits, museums, and restaurants along the mile-long meandering road.
Regular events such as the weekly Road Art Stroll help preserve Santa Fe’s prominent standing in the art world and bolster local artists. But it is also easy to spend time exploring on your own. Browse the collections, dine at a cafe or restaurant, and spend an afternoon at any of the 80 galleries found there.
Aside from conventional art forms like pottery and weaving, Canyon Road is home to contemporary art forms like glassworks, abstract paintings, and digital media. Boutiques deliver a range of jewelry, bespoke footwear, leather outerwear, and handmade wooden furniture. No matter what artistic styles you prefer or your budget, there is something on Canyon Road for everyone.
Find your inner artist
Are you more of a hands-on type of traveler? Unleash your creative side with the help of Lisa Flynn’s Inner Artist Workshop as she takes you on a tour of historic Santa Fe and helps you create watercolor postcards of what you find along the way. The customizable session accommodates both individuals and groups of all ages and levels. Just bring an open, curious mind—Lisa Flynn provides the art supplies needed for the class.
Are you looking for a place to stay during your artistic explorations of Santa Fe? The Inn on the Alameda is the perfect place for your Santa Fe getaway. To learn more about the Santa Fe area, or for help planning your trip to Inn on the Alameda, visit our website.
World Class Art in Santa Fe
There is a building in downtown Santa Fe that houses a world class collection of contemporary art, a building that is itself an example of the cultural synthesis that defines Santa Fe style and New Mexico culture: The New Mexico Museum of Art. Located within an easy walk to the Inn on the Alameda, the Museum offers exciting and challenging exhibits of contemporary art coupled with a permanent collection featuring many of the artists and artworks that define New Mexico.
The structure housing this collection is itself a work of art. The incorporation of Santa Fe into the United States had brought architectural styles that were largely incongruous with the cultural surroundings. The exposure of modern trained architects in the early 20th century to the organic forms of Puebloan architecture resulted in a revolutionary synthesis of styles known as Pueblo Revival. Consciously building on the historical innovations of the Spanish Colonial era and the Pueblo peoples’ monumental structures, the Pueblo Revival movement helped define Santa Fe for the coming 20th century.
The New Mexico Museum of Art is a masterpiece of this movement. Designed by New York-born architect Isaac Rapp, known as the “creator of the Santa Fe style,” this 1917 building has become an iconic example of Santa Fe architecture, melding elements of all the defining cultural influences in New Mexican society into a cohesive and attractive whole.
The permanent holdings of the collection are devoted to the history of contemporary New Mexican art. They include the Cinco Pintores, Georgia O’Keefe, the Taos Society and Gustave Baumann. The museum also has an extensive collection of American photography and multimedia works.
It is a world class artistic institution that has been home to numerous travelling shows challenging exhibits on the nature and function of contemporary artistic representation and media, and a continuance of their mission to expand their holdings.
Few exhibits better represent the complex and continuing mission of the museum than that of their past show: “Hunting + Gathering: New Additions to the Museum’s Collection” that exhibited in 2015. It was an illuminating exhibit designed to educate visitors to the complexity of the roles of “museum” and “observer,” the duty to challenge as well as curate, and the necessity to adapt and evolve to a very changing cultural and academic landscape. Encompassing multiple forms, the exhibit highlights works of sculpture, photography, prints, textiles, painting and mixed media, and displays them in a way as to challenge the viewer.
“Classic” pieces such as Ansel Adams’ photographs and Gustave Baumann’s paintings are juxtaposed with more challenging items such as Barbara Diener’s hauntingly composed and staged photographs and Sarah Magnuson’s evocative structures made of butterfly wings preserved under glass. These contrasts help to define for the viewer the paradoxes and challenges apparent within the collection, and hopefully, present a cohesive whole greater than the sum of their parts. This cohesion is mirrored in the Pueblo Revival building that houses it.
The New Mexico Museum of Art is a quick 5-minute drive or 10-minute walk from the Inn via Paseo de Peralta, a main thoroughfare on the north side of town. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays 10am-5pm and welcomes visitors for free admission on Friday’s from 5-8pm, May through October, and the first Friday of the month, November through March.
Miles and miles of blue sky, towering mesas, native plants, and the rocky desert landscape instantly inspired American painter Georgia O’Keefe when she first visited Abiquiu in the late 1920s. She came back time and again, and eventually moved to the area in 1949, where she lived until her death in 1986.
Abiquiu’s stark landscape, indigenous art, and unique adobe architecture prompted O’Keeffe to take her artwork in a new direction. She shifted from New York City cityscapes to the flowers, bones, natural landscapes, and colorful shapes of northern New Mexico. She referred to this imagery as “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.”
The beautiful, unique landscapes that inspired O’Keeffe’s world-renowned pieces of art can only be found in New Mexico, and you can come see the inspiration in person. The majestic, red-rock formations and rich history of the area will inspire you to take out your easel and paint your own masterpiece.
About an hour drive from Santa Fe, the Abiquiu village bridges the past and the present. Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic home and studio in the village is open seasonally from March to November for public tours with advance reservations. O’Keeffe purchased the home in 1945, and visitors can see how she lived and worked, and how her lifestyle inspired her art.
And, while you’re in Santa Fe, don’t forget to stop by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, featuring a vast permanent collection of her work and changing exhibitions of her work and work by her contemporaries.
But Georgia isn’t the only artist to call Abiquiu home. The Abiquiu Art Project features other artists who are living and working in the Abiquiu area. Teresa Toole has created this project to offer private or small group tours year-round to visit the private studios of 4 of Abiquiu’s most internationally known artists, offering you a feel for both this special area of New Mexico and also the art and artists that choose to call this area home.
Inspired to find your own inner artist? You can schedule an art lesson during your stay here at the Inn! We are a proud sponsor of local artist Lisa Flynn’s Inner Artist Workshop. Ask us about this local workshop.
Take a renowned portrait photographer, give her the time and opportunity to shoot some iconic artifacts and unique locations, and you end up with portraiture by proxy. The artist herself says it best: “It’s a big country out there. Go ahead, hit the road and find places and things that inspire and mean something to you.” How fortunate that Santa Fe has some wonderful results of this advice on display!
An exhibition entitled Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage has just opened at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and it is so worth a visit. The promotion of great women artists has always been part of the O’Keeffe’s mission, and Ms. Leibovitz was honored in 2010 as one of the Museum’s Women of Distinction. She has returned to the City Different with over 70 works, in an exhibit organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and sponsored in Santa Fe by a grant from The Burnett Foundation.
Self Portrait © Annie Leibovitz
The exhibit is evocative and unexpected in equal measures. If you follow the curator’s path, you’ll start with a photo of a snake skeleton embedded in a banco at Georgia O’Keeffe’s home and end with an aerial view of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, both representations of a Celtic symbol believed to represent travel from the inner life to the outer soul or higher spirit forms.
The sense of a spiritual journey runs through the whole show, from the places and objects Leibovitz chose to shoot right through to the subtext the viewer intuits from the resulting images. A picture of the worn compass that Thomas Jefferson gave to the Lewis and Clark expedition is positioned across from an amusing shot of a small model of the Lincoln Monument perched alongside the giant foot of the monument itself. John Muir’s notebooks and Charles Darwin’s skeleton of a pigeon shine a light on a few of the curiosities that attract the scientific mind.
Annie Leibovitz, John Muir botanical specimen, John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez, California, 2011. © Annie Leibovitz. From “Pilgrimage” (Random House, 2011)
Notable women of history receive their due, with a panorama of a evening gown worn by opera singer, Marian Anderson, placed near a photo of Emily Dickinson’s simple white dress. Eleanor Roosevelt’s quiet domicile, Val-Kill, is full of the furniture she had manufactured. The desk of Virginia Woolf is swept clean, in contrast to the quote from her husband that she was “not merely untidy, but squalid.” In a nod to the artistic feminist past, 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (who, interestingly, was Virginia Woolf’s great-aunt) is represented by a piece depicting the garden door through which her famous neighbor, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was able to visit in secrecy (nothing shady, just avoiding his many fans). Both the hard and the soft sides of the famed sharp-shooter, Annie Oakley, are revealed by a bullet hole in the center of a heart.
There are artifacts and architecture of all kinds highlighting other artists, from Martha Graham’s iron gates juxtaposed with Isamu Noguchi’s props to Pete Seeger’s incredibly crowded home workshop to Ansel Adams’ glowing red darkroom. You can turn 180 degrees from a rumination on Sigmund Freud’s couch and see the Graceland graves of Elvis Presley’s family. Bet Freud would have a field day with that!
Georgia O’Keeffe, Purple Hills Ghost Ranch-2 / Purple Hills No II, 1934. Oil on canvas affixed to Masonite, 16 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Of course, the visionary Georgia O’Keeffe herself is acknowledged through photos of her house, her studio daybed and her pastels. And you should definitely allow enough time to head back through the Museum to see Georgia O’Keeffe and and the Faraway: Nature and Image, which will be on display through May 5, 2013.
Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage will be on exhibit at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum through May 5, 2013. This is a pictorial journey worth taking!
Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum February 15-May 5, 2013
Self-Portrait, copyright, Annie Leibovitz
Since its inception, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has had as part of its mission the celebration of women artists. And this year, Santa Fe is in for a treat, as the Museum brings us “Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage,” an exhibition organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibit is comprised of photographs made between April 2009 and May 2011 and tours nationally to 8 different museums.
This renowned photographer has turned her talents towards subjects quite removed from the portraits for which she is so well-known. The work in this new exhibit is based purely on the artist being emotionally or intellectually moved by the subject. Over the course of two separate trips to New Mexico, Ms. Leibovitz captured images of O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu home, the stunning landscape at Ghost Ranch and its environs, and in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum vault itself.
And there’s an extra special event in conjunction with this exciting exhibit! Ms. Leibovitz will be speaking about her work on Tuesday, February 12, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in downtown Santa Fe. Tickets will be available at www.lensic.com
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is located at 217 Johnson Street in Santa Fe, NM.
November 15 is a very special day for lovers of Georgia O’Keeffe, and the 125th anniversary of the birth of the famed New Mexico artist gave us a chance to do something different to celebrate!
The One and Only Georgia!
To mark the 125th anniversary of Georgia O’Keeffe’s birthday, the Inn invites lovers of O’Keefe to celebrate the date with a Santa Fe getaway! The Happy Birthday, Georgia Experience includes the following:
- A four-night stay for two in a Traditional 2-Queen accommodation
- Museum passes for two for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
- A 2-hour demonstration cooking class for two, based on some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s favorite recipes, at the Santa Fe School of Cooking
- Ten (10) O’Keeffe postcards to send to those back home
- An ample continental breakfast every morning
- A relaxing wine hour every afternoon
- Free parking, free local and toll-free calls, and complimentary wireless access
The discounted package is available only for the dates or 11/14-18/12, and guests must stay all four (4) nights. Please note that the cooking class is limited to 18 people, so book early!
Above the Clouds, Oil on Canvas, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1962
Currently on exhibit at the Museum is Georgia O’Keeffe and the Faraway Image: Art and Nature, on view until May 5, 2013. The show drawings and paintings inspired by the Ghost ranch area beloved by O’Keeffe, as well as by outdoor excursions she made. Highlights of the exhibition include O’Keeffe’s paintings, photographs made by others of places she camped, and a recently made photographic panorama of the “Black Place” establishing a contextual reconstruction of a site where O’Keeffe camped in 1944.
Part of the Cliff, Georia O’Keeffe, Oil on Canvas, 1946
For the birthday celebration, the O’Keeffe Museum has put together a whole slate of events to mark the contribution that Georgia O’Keeffe made to the American art scene. All proceeds from events will support the Museum’s exhibitions, public and youth outreach programs. Take note of the following events:
On Wednesday, November 14, a screening of Jill Shapiro’s Bone Wind Fire takes place at the Museum’s Education Annex. Using the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo, the film reveals and revels in the creative spark of each of these unique artists. The screening is free; no reservations required.
On Thursday, November 15, admission to the Museum will be free all day!
From 10am-1pm, on Thursday the 15th, the Museum partners with the Santa Fe School of Cooking to celebrate with food and stories that represent aspects of O’Keeffe’s life.
Also on the 15th, at 6pm, the St. Francis Auditorium welcomes art historian, Roxana Robinson, who will explore O’Keeffe’s rich and intriguing body of work in an informative illustrated lecture.
On Saturday, November 17, the O’Keeffe Education Annex hosts a family program from 1-4pm. And at 7pm that night, there will be a jazz concert with Grammy nominee Karrin Allyson at the Ballroom of La Posada.
Get away with Georgia and see the New Mexico that she loved!