Santa Fe, An Artist’s Destination

May 26, 2012

If you are an artist and haven’t been to Santa Fe, this is definitely a must see.  I have been before but was lucky enough to be able to go back for a few days last week.  There is no other place quite like it.  The whole city looks like it is posing to have its picture taken or painted.  I have heard that’s because local laws require that buildings, even commercial ones, be built to look like the old adobe structures.

I visited the city with husband, who was traveling on business, so we were able to stay near the square.  Shops featuring high quality clothing, jewelry, pottery, paintings, sculpture, etc. cluster in this area along with the most art galleries I have ever seen in any one city, especially along nearby Canyon Road.  The prices original art sells for in these galleries is unbelieveable.  I was especially interested to see really good  representational art  in large quatities at amazingly high prices.

Visiting the museums was fun too and there are a lot of them.  The U.S. Travel Association ranked Santa Fe number 3 for museums after New York and Boston.  Right on the square is the Palace of the Governors, the country’s oldest continuously occupied building, which is 400 years old.   Its collections help modern day folks understand what life was like here during its colorful past.  I have visited this museum on a previous visit.  This time I just looked at the displays of jewely, pottery, etc. for sale by area Native Americans sitting on the sidewalk outside of the building.

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is within easy walking distance from the square.  While she is probably best known for her huge paintings of individual flowers, she spent many years in the country near Santa Fe and you can see in her paintings on display how she experienced that desert and mountain area.  In addition, when you need to sit down, here as in other Santa Fe museums, there are places where you can sit and watch  short movies about what you have been seeing. 

A number of Native Americans reside in the areas around Santa Fe and I enjoyed seeing museum exhibits featuring their art and life.  At the New Mexico Museum of Art just west of the square I enjoyed their current exhibit on Southwest Indian Art through the ages.  On Saturday after his meetings were over husband and I rode a city bus up to Museum Hill.  There are several museums at this location but we chose to visit the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.  There is a permanent exhibition which traces the life of American Indians.  Here there were also places where we could sit and watch short movies of modern Indians describing their experiences in Indian boarding schools, on reservations, etc.

Our stay ended with a dinner with husband’s colleagues at La Cena, a restaurant that not only features very good food but the waiters and waitresses sing selections from Broadway musicals when they are not waiting on tables.  There is so much to see and do in this remarkable city that I hope some day I will be able to return.

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