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.
Santa Fe is a multicultural city that has long been influenced by Native American, Hispanic, and Latino cultures. The Southwestern style’s distinct architecture is a prime example of this unique mix of cultures and ideas. The Southwestern-style dates back thousands of years to Native American architecture and Spanish colonial influences.
Pueblo Revival, or Santa Fe Style architecture, dates back to the early 1900s but reached the peak of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. It imitates the style of adobe Pueblo architecture but often uses different materials. You’ll find that the style features an overall boxy look with flat roofs, terraced facades, recessed windows, private courtyards, and of course, the iconic stucco exteriors. Log beams, called vigas, often bear the roof’s weight and may extend outside the home’s walls, acting as an additional design element. Santa Fe is the perfect place to find examples of this style as many of the buildings in and around the historic old town, including the Inn on the Alameda, showcase this style of architecture.
Southwestern interior design often matches the exterior design and incorporates natural, tactile materials such as those found in woven textiles. Upholstery, floor coverings, and bed linens are usually made from cotton or wool, along with other natural materials such as yucca.
Traditional Pueblo weaving techniques produce floral and nature motifs alongside thematic patterns and symbols. Artists create tapestries, rugs, and blankets in neutrals like gray, brown, black, and charcoal with red, green, and blue accents.
In most Santa Fe homes, traditional craftsmanship is always on display through woven baskets and furniture, and many similar motifs can also be found in the pottery from this area.
Experience Southwestern-style for yourself
Stay in a traditional room at the Inn on the Alameda to savor the Southwestern style. Our rooms feature local art, a warming, earthy color palette, and wooden furnishings. We’re conveniently located just a few blocks from the historic Plaza.
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!
For lovers of art and heritage, the upcoming weekend promises many delights, as the 61st annual Santa Fe Spanish Market swings into the Plaza. With 183 artists in the Market, and an additional 52 youth artists exhibiting their work, this is an artistic and familial legacy that continues to grow in size and quality.
Spanish Market on the Santa Fe Plaza
Taking place on the historic Plaza, on Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29, from 8:30 am to 5 pm, the Market offers something for everyone, from straw applique to retablos to engraving to weaving and calaveras, too. If we’re lucky, we might even see some of that beautiful and increasingly rare colcha embroidery!
Calaveras con Corazon
And if your taste runs more to the cutting edge, the Contemporary Hispanic Market runs concurrently, spread along both sides of Lincoln Avenue, with 134 booths of art and artistry to peruse or purchase.
There will be food, of course, since it’s Santa Fe, and among other tasty events, there’s a cooking class with John Vollertsen, “Spanish Influence on New Mexico’s Norteno Cooking,” at Las Cosas on July 26 at 10 am. And if you just can’t make time for that class, don’t forget that the Inn offers a Muy Sabrosa Cooking Experience with the experts from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, soon to be fully ensconced in their new location.
La Comida Muy Sabrosa!
Also on July 26, John Schaefer lectures on “Collecting Spanish Colonial Art” at Peyton Wright Gallery at 4:30 pm. On Friday July 27, at 9:30 am, Patina Gallery hosts a breakfast reception and lecture on the work of Enric Majoral. On Friday evening, a Market Preview opens at the Santa Fe Convention Center at 7 pm.
Listen for “la musica,” not only during the Saturday-Sunday Market itself. On Thursday, July 26, the Santa Fe Bandstand series gets into the act with homegrown favorites, Andy Primm and Alex Maryol, performing on the Plaza from 6 to 9 pm. Performances by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival take place in St. Francis Auditorium on Thursday, July 26 at noon and 6 pm, Friday, July 27 at 6 pm, Saturday, July 27 at 6 pm, and Sunday, July 28 at 5 pm. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale offers a concert, “Celebrating the Centenery,” at 8 pm on Saturday, July 28 at the New Mexico History Museum. The Santa Fe Opera serves up Giaochino Rossini’s Maometto II on Friday the 27th at 8:30 pm, and on Saturday the 28th, also at 8:30 pm, the premiere of Richard Strauss’ Arabella rounds out the season’s repertoire.
It looks like it will be a great weekend…will we see you there?
Santa Fe Community Gallery, 201 West Marcy Street, Santa Fe, NM
Hours: Tue-Fri 10a-5p, Sat 10a-4p through June 8, 2012
Did you know that the Santa Fe Community Convention Center includes a Community Gallery? It’s a nice little secret to discover, especially since it provides a venue for artists who might otherwise not have an opportunity to show their work. So many Santa Fe galleries, but so many more artists than exhibit spaces!
Santa Fe Community Gallery inside the Convention Center
The exhibit currently on display at the Community Gallery, “Odes and Offerings,” is the brainchild of Santa Fe’s Poet Laureate, Joan Logghe. (Yes, not only does Santa Fe have a community gallery, the City Different also has a Poet Laureate, pretty impressive for a city of 65,000!). To complete her poetry tenure, a project was devised for the Gallery whereby 36 writers were invited to collaborate with 36 visual artists to create works in tandem, paired up by Ms. Logghe and the Gallery’s Director, Rod Lambert.
Wish You Were Here: Artist, Donna Ruff; Haiku by Poet, Charles Trumbull
Each artist was supplied with two poems from the poets’ works and asked to incorporate a line, a phrase or a stanza into the completed work. Logghe states that “The idea is not a poetry-inspired piece, but a piece where the text becomes part of the work or art.”
Detail Panel from The Archaeologist as Full Moon: Artist, S.K. Yeatts; Poem with the Same Title by Poet, James McGrath
The works run the gamut of media, from photographs to sculpture to giclee prints to film. In some works, the texts are utterly obscured and in others, words boldly confront the viewer/reader. The gallery has thoughtfully provided texts for all the poems, so one can wander through the exhibit with literature in hand, which significantly enhances the experience. The exhibit is peppered with names familiar to Santa Fe arts-lovers; artists such as Jane Shoenfeld, Charles Greeley, Gail Rieke , Ann Laser, and Andrew Keim are paired with writers like the late Witter Bynner, Judyth Hill, John Brandi, Dana Levin (who brings us the Muse x2 Poetry Series), and Henry Shukman, who wrote a lovely and ruminative piece on Santa Fe for the New York Times.
The Mesa the Shadow Built: Artist, Charles Greeley; Poem with the Same Title by Poet, Judyth Hill
A variety of public events will be held in conjunction with the exhibit:
“Words Away” a reading by three Santa Fe Poets Laureate, Joan Logghe, Valerie Martinez and Arthur Sze, taking place in the New Mexico History Museum Auditorium on April 27 at 6pm
A four-hour Poetry Workshop with Ms. Logghe on April 28 from 1-4pm at the Gallery
A two-hour Visual Arts Workshop with Sabra Moore at the Gallery on May 5, from 12-2pm
A Poetry Reading featuring approximately half of the participating poets on May 16 from 6-8pm at the Gallery
A tw-hour Visual Arts Workshop with Suzanne Vilmain at the Gallery on May 19 from 1-3pm
A Poetry Reading by the second group of participating poets at the Gallery on May 23 from 6-8pm,
A Final Poetry Reading by Joan Logghe, featuring works penned during her service as Poet Laureate on June 8 from 5-7pm
“Let the mind and the soul swap places for a while.” from Jack’s Creek Soliloquy by Tommy Archuleta
This exhibit is worth the time…and you have plenty of time to see it, since it is up until June 8!
Look for It!
Time-Lapse at SITE Santa Fe 1606 Paseo de Peralta (505) 989-1199
Exhibit runs from February 18-May 20, 2012
In addition to satisfying a taste for the the artistic permutations brought to us by our Museum of New Mexico system, with its panoply of offerings from folk art to photography, a hunger for the cutting-edge can be sated without a trip to the East or West Coast. How? SITE Santa Fe, of course!
SITE Santa Fe in the Railyard Arts District
Since its inception in 1995, SITE has become a valuable resource in the Santa Fe art world. The ample layout allows for installations and large-scale works, and the curatorial staff understands their mission well. February brought the opening of the newest offering from SITE, Time-Lapse 2012.
With an aim of demonstrating the mutability of art, Time-Lapse brings together four artists whose work are specifically intended to change over the course of the exhibition. And an opening event on February 17 also gave Santa Fe art-lovers the chance to enjoy the artistic antics of the Meow Wolf collective, a loose and exuberant confederation of multi-media artists who staged a happening (for lack of a better term) in the Time Capsule Lounge. They did not disappoint!
Meow Wolf: An Old-Fashioned Overhead Projector
Flash Theater by Meow Wolf
Curated by Irene Hofmann, Director and Chief Curator of the Phillips Collection, along with Assistant Curator, Janet Dees, and thanks to much-appreciated support by our local Barker Realty, this examination of change over time features work by artists Byron Kim, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Eve Sussman/Rufus Corporation and Mary Temple.
Ms. Temple engages the viewer immediately with her Currency Series, begun in 2007, and continued with a drawing every day, inspired by the current news and headlines. She creates a portrait of a news-worthy political figure and accompanies it with text that elucidates its relevance. Laid out in a timeline, the drawings challenge us to remember what happened yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, and in so doing, remind us how quickly we consume the happenings of the day and move on. The drawings are proficient, and threads of content re-emerge as events wax or wane. A great concept, well-executed and well worth visiting, as the artist has committed to adding images throughout the run of the show!
A Familiar Face in the News
Byron Kim’s Sunday Paintings, have a similar intent, although his skyscapes have a weekly format, with a painting of the sky every Sunday in whatever locale he finds himself. The work was begun 25 weeks before the opening, and each week during the exhibition, he will send a new painting after it is completed. The skyscapes include a textual diary of his musings, and it will be interesting to see how the sky changes and to wonder where he has been.
Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is represented by two works from a body of tech-savvy pieces he calls Recorders, which invite viewer participation. While these artworks originated in the artist’s mind, the completed pieces depend on interaction from the viewers for their final content. An apt reflection of the digital world, his work asks for a commitment to engage and leave a ghost of oneself behind. Probably not for those already discomfited by the encroachment of social media!
Eve Sussman is repsented by whiteoinwhite: algorithmicnoir, the most recent of her films in collaboration with the Rufus Corporation. Highly experimental, the work runs continuously with a changing narrative that never presents the same juxtaposition of image and words. Edited in real time by a computer algorithm drawing on over 3000 film clips and assorted voice-overs and music, the film revolves around a protagonist named Mr. Holz, placed in an evocation of Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal film of 1956, Alphaville. Having seen a tantalizing tidbit from this work in NYC, I welcomed the opportunity to actually sit down and contemplate it more thoroughly. Advice: Sit in the front row of seats, in case someone tall plops down in front of you!
Look Into the Time Capsule!
The Time Capsule Lounge, comfortably outfitted with floor and stool seating and futuristic lighting, will be welcoming other public events: Musician Brian Mayhall will present a performance on March 30 at 5pm; Brendan Carn and Colin Woodford will perform a live/Skyped internet piece on May 4 at 5pm; and on May 12 at 11am, Axle Comtemporary Art celebrates a book launch for E Pluribus Unum, a composite portrait of Santa Fe. The Lounge also features a four “timely” films from the past, A Trip to the Moon (1902), La Jetee (1962), Powers of Ten (1977), and Primer (2004), organized by Jason Silverman of the CCA Cinematheque and screened continuously on a loop (thank you, Mr. Silverman, most enjoyable!).
Movies from Times Past
A final touch is added by our beloved Collected Works Books, which supplied a selection of science fiction books, curated by Cynthia Melchert, in the Time Capsule for visitors to read and ruminate on. If you don’t finish before you leave, some titles will be on sale at the SITE bookstore, so you can continue your time travel at home.
SITE Santa Fe consistently presents work that invites contemplation of modern issues that confront not just artists but all of us. I welcome these opportunities for consideration and am grateful for the free Fridays that let me return repeatedly to see such interesting work!
Free Fridays: a Great Time to Bring the Kids to SITE