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.
Did you know that Santa Fe has a ballet company? Yes, we share, but what a great dance partner we have in Aspen, CO! For seventeen years, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has made Santa Fe its second home, and local and visiting dance aficionados are grateful.
The company returns to the City Different for two performances on March 29 and March 30, both at 7:30pm at the Lensic. The innovative troupe brings a program of three works, Jiri Kylián’s poignant 1974 piece, Return to a Strange Land, Alejandro Cerrudo’s striking new ballet, Last, and Trey McIntyre’s seductive Like a Samba, all showcasing the talent and skill of ASFB dancers.
The son of a child-dancer, Jiri Kylián‘s first love was circus, which led to a training regimen in acrobatics. After his acrobatic academy folded, ballet took him to the Prague Conservatory. His studies with the free-spirited choreographer John Cranko at the prestigious Stuttgart Ballet and subsequent work with Carel Birnie of NDT, along with a panoply of world-wide awards, helped form the unique vision that Santa Fe dance-lovers will enjoy.
Return to a Strange Land, photo courtesy ASFB, copyright Rosalie O’Connor
A native of Madrid, Alejandro Cerrudo was educated at the Real Conservatorio Professional de Danza de Madrid. Named a Choreographic Fellow of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, he became the company’s first Resident Choreographer in 2009. Mr. Cerrudo danced in December 2012 at Jacob’s Pillow, partnering the sublime Wendy Whelan. The piece being performed in Santa Fe, Last, with music by Henryk Gorecki, was premiered at the Joyce Theater in October 2012.
Last by Alejandro Cerrudo, photo courtesy of ASFB, copyright Rosalie O’Connor
Trained at North Carolina School of the Arts and Houston Ballet Academy, American dancer/choreographer Trey McIntyre, founded his dance company, the Trey McIntyre Project, in 2005. McIntyre is known for “brainy” ballet melded with visceral physicality, and anything that is characterized as being “like a samba” is sure to be a hit in rhythmic Santa Fe!
Like a Samba by Trey McIntyre, photo courtesy of ASFB, copyright Rosalie O’Connor
Not content with just performing, ASFB offers a curriculum of ballet, jazz and modern dance in both Aspen and Santa Fe. The ASFB School provides quality training for pre-professional students, as well as recreational dancers, all in a supportive environment designed to enhance confidence and accomplishment while nurturing artistic expression and technical skill. Students perform in an annual spring recital, and alongside ASFB’s professional dancers in The Nutcracker. ASFB deserves great credit for awarding over $30,000 in needs-based scholarships every year, helping to ensure a vibrant future for dance arts in America.
Santa Fe loves to see music and movement together, and if you do too, then head for the Lensic!
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.