Santa Fe Hub of New Mexico's Art Mecca

State of the Art: New Mexico (excerpt)

Santa Fe is the hub of New Mexico's art mecca.

Published online courtesy Western Art Collector, May, 2013

Among the early artists who were lured to New Mexico by its luminous light, isolation and natural beauty were Gustave Baumann, Fritz Scholder, Maria Martinez, Bruce Nauman, Luis Jimenez, and, perhaps most notably, Georgia O'Keeffe, who, upon her first visit to the "Land of Enchantment" in 1934, said she knew at once she would live there; she made it her permanent home in 1949. Of her fondness for Ghost Ranch and Northern New Mexico, she once said: "Such a beautiful, untouched lonely feeling place, such a fine part of what I call the 'Faraway.' It is a place I have painted before...even now I must do it again."

At the hub of this art mecca is Santa Fe, which, in 2012, Hotwire.com included in a list of the top 10 places to admire famous art around the world. With more than 250 galleries, "The City Different" is touted as the third largest art market in the U.S. Each year annual festivals draw thousands of collectors and enthusiasts to the city, generating more than $200 million annually in estimated art-related business. SWAIA's Indian Market alone, which is held each August, brings more than 100,000 visitors to Santa Fe.

Tucked away in charming adobes and historic buildings along West Palace Avenue and Canyon Road and vicinity are world-class restaurants and fine art spaces including Adobe Gallery, Altermann Galleries & Auctioneers, Blue Rain Gallery, Casweck Galleries, Gerald Peters Gallery, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, and Manitou Galleries.

"The Santa Fe art market feels healthy," says Leroy Garcia, owner of Blue Rain Gallery. "Collectors continue to follow their passions for collecting, just as artists continue to follow their passions for creating; however, quality, innovation and collectability are of the utmost importance."

Santa Fe kicks off its summer season May 10 and 11 with Passport to the Arts 2013. More than 100 artists are expected to participate in this public art event held on Canyon Road. Activities include gallery openings, a quick draw and live auction, a silent auction, artist demonstrations, live music and more. The evening prior—May 9—Western Art Collector will host its 7th annual Santa Fe Celebration at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa with several staff present.

"What draws people to Canyon Road is incredible art without the attitude and the exceptional diversity of art found in one short mile," states Connie Axton, president of the Canyon Road Merchants Association, which organizes Passport to the Arts. About 70 miles north of Santa Fe is Taos, home to more than 80 art galleries, including Act I Gallery, and six museums, several of which are National Historic Landmarks. A must-see treasure is the Couse-Sharp Historic Site, containing the intact Taos home and studio of E.I. Couse (1866-1936), the first president of the Taos Society of Artists, and two studios of Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953). The Couse Foundation, a publicly supported nonprofit corporation, recently acquired the property.

Ruidoso, located in southern New Mexico, is the third fastest growing city in the state. The mountain resort town has become a haven for artists and galleries alike with nearly 20 unique art spaces lining the streets, including The Adobe Fine Art, which occupies a former 1950s trading post.

Nationally recognized painter Robert Highsmith makes his home in Las Cruces, another growing arts and cultural community in southern New Mexico with nearly 30 organizations focused on the arts.

Efforts to promote and preserve the exceptional art and history of New Mexico have received a boost in recent years through the partnership of several state agencies. Thanks to organizations like the Pastel Society of New Mexico (PSNM), the future of the state's vibrant arts scene continues to flourish and attract worldwide attention.

Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery

602A Canyon Road Santa Fe, NM 87501 (866) 894-7451 www.medicinemangallery.com

Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery is known for its eclectic mix of Native American art and Western paintings and sculpture. It carries a large selection of Navajo rugs and blankets, Pueblo pottery, Southwest and California baskets, kachinas, old pawn jewelry and beadwork. Along with its location on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery is located in Tucson, Arizona.

Upcoming shows at the Santa Fe location include Francis Livingston - Canyon Road Past and Present, a solo exhibit held July 5 to 19. July 26 to August 9 will be an exhibit of new works by Howard Post along with a book signing on opening night from 5 to 7 p.m. August 9 to 23 will bring the 15th annual Maria Martinez and Family Show and Sale. Shonto Begay will present his latest pieces August 16 to 30.