By Courtney – The Insider
Canyon Road: Art is an integral part of Santa Fe. Public and private art is everywhere, embedded in the very fiber and soul of the place. To appreciate this and learn more, while Jimmy hiked nearby mesas, I toured the Canyon Road art galleries with tour leader, Elaine, owner of Santa Fe Art Tours. An excellent guide, she provided insight and access to gallery owners and artists that revealed more about the art than I ever would have known. Best known as the home of southwestern and native American arts, Santa Fe also hosts challenging contemporary abstract arts akin to bohemian Brooklyn. Elaine also included a visit to a local chocolatier for a sampling of drinking chocolate elixir that was divine.
Museums: Although born in the green meadows of Wisconsin, Georgia O’ Keefe found her true inner self in New Mexico and called it home for much of her life. Her namesake museum celebrates her life and is dedicated to sharing her visions with the world. This fairly small museum displays just a fraction of her work at a time, on a rotating basis; most are on various global tours. Don’t be disappointed if you are unable to see some of your well-known favorites. Instead, use the visit as a chance to learn more about this revolutionary American artist. I was surprised to learn she was a sculptress, and thrilled to learn that at the nearby O’Keefe Research Center, a 10-foot-tall sculpture was on display amidst gardens hosting her favored plants and celebrating her lifelong love of gardening.
Museum Hill It’s so handy that a collection of museums and their collections are gathered together on Museum Hill. The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Museum of International Folk Art, and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. Enjoy great views and a dramatic plaza that is home to special events including the International Folk Art Market in August.
Walking tours: Railyard District: Once just the place where trains passed through, The Railyard District is now a major transportation hub as well as home to a fabulous indoor/outdoor farmers market. Plentiful vendor tables, both inside and outside feature food, home goods, clothing and more. It’s also a good place to meet local artisans and small business owners, some of whom have brick and mortar shops around the city.
I arranged a tour for Jimmy and I with a local guide from Wander New Mexico (which combines food and culture) and ventured further out to discover this emerging new side of Santa Fe. In addition to the Railyard District itself, galleries, eateries and open spaces make this an inviting area to wander. Be sure to visit the community “waffle” garden irrigated by an original acequia to appreciate the ingenuity of the original farmers in this arid region.
A unique art space SITE Santa Fe, part of the Center for the Contemporary Arts (CCA), was under construction, and worth a look on a future visit as it promises to host an ever-changing array of artists and their installations. As the Plaza promises a solid link to Santa Fe’s past, this space will focus on what’s next.