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25 Best Things to Do in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Whether you are looking for a last minute weekend getaway or planning to attend one of the famous annual events in the area, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an exciting vacation destination, filled with beautiful architecture, a diverse selection of art galleries, fantastic restaurants and fun activities. Take a cooking class, watch an opera performance and explore colorful art galleries while learning about the town’s rich cultural heritage. Here are the best things to do in Santa Fe, NM.


Local Flavor Magazine May 2019 – Art Buzz


Paul Pletka: Converging Faiths In The New World On Display At Museum of Spanish Colonial Art

“I want visitors to understand that, in the case of these paintings, when two cultures meet, like they did with Spanish Catholics and the indigenous population of Mexico, that there is room for accommodation and that, over time, each culture will evolve itself and take on aspects of the other culture,” Pletka says. “These paintings, in my mind, are positive. They show that things can work out—even if it’s slow.”


Riffing on tradition: Virtuoso santero Arthur López

He recasts Catholic saints as relatable, contemporary figures. He mines the narratives of saints and other religious figures and adapts them to the modern day. “Each one of them has their own story,” he said. “For me, it’s just a way of retelling it. I’m still drawing on their iconography, and I try to tell it in a way that makes it more relatable to the younger or newer generation.”


Museum of Spanish Colonial Art premieres ‘Paul Pletka: Converging Faiths in the New World’

“The exhibition represents the first solo museum show of Pletka’s work in New Mexico since 1990. It includes more than a dozen of his highly detailed paintings—some of which stretch wider than 10 feet—sculpture, and Mexican masks from his collection, and artifacts from the museum’s collection, including a historic death cart. The exhibit focuses exclusively on his art about Mexico and the Southwest, including a little-known treasure. While he’s best known for his large acrylic paintings, Pletka has quietly rendered a small body of intimate watercolors depicting New Mexico churches. Borrowed from private collectors for this occasion, his paintings demonstrate how people of different cultures found their way to accepting one another while holding fast to their roots.”


Paul Pletka: Converging Faiths in the New World Press Release

Josef Díaz, acting director of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and co-curator of the exhibition with Jana Gottshalk, said the subject matter and exquisite quality of Pletka’s work inspired the show. “Paul gives this great, intentional look into life in New Mexico—the lives of the penitents, the churches,” he said. “It opens a dialogue about the cultures and their blending. People will come in and ask questions and talk—and that’s what art is supposed to do.”


12 New Mexico Artists to Know Now: Vincent Campos

“Vincent Campos injects a sense of whimsy and strangeness into a form that is often serious and pious.”


Check them out: “GenNext: Future So Bright Reboot”

“What emerges is a body of work that both speaks to today’s audiences and opens the door to the reinventions of future generations of artists, while also honoring New Mexico’s artistic past.”


NMPBS ¡COLORES!: Thomas Vigil

Española’s Thomas Vigil is pursuing a harmony between culture, religious beliefs and his love for controversial, lowbrow art.

2018 Press

‘I let the wood speak to me’ Winter Spanish Market artist says

“With each piece, I let the wood speak to me, he says. “I work slow because of that. It’s important for the piece to reveal itself to me.”

“It’s about what you’re creating, and it has to come from the heart,” he says. “I work almost every day for at least four hours a day. I can dive deep into my work, but I have to find a balance in what I do.”


Winter Spanish Market brings unique gifts to NHCC

“The Spanish Colonial Art Society invites you to Winter Spanish Market this weekend at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Fine art, cuisine, live music and activities fill the campus of NHCC Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2. Find the perfect gift this holiday season -as well as a little something for yourself- at the celebrated two-day event. Tickets are available at the door. For more information, visit SpanishColonial.org.”


Authentic 400 Year Old Artwork at Winter Spanish Market

“The public has the opportunity to see authentic 400-year-old traditions and innovative Spanish colonial style artwork, made by New Mexico artists at the 2018 Winter Spanish Market.Join this Hispanic festival including art, local music, food, demonstrations and more.Interact personally with extraordinary artists and learn about their traditions, even take home a special purchase to add to a collection or give as a gift.”


2018 Winter Spanish Market Press Release: Winter Spanish Market features the best in Spanish Colonial Art

“The Spanish Colonial Arts Society’s Winter Spanish Market returns to Albuquerque for the sixth year on Saturday and Sunday, December 1st–2nd, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Up to 70 artists will welcome the public with the opportunity to purchase a piece of New Mexico tradition, learn how it was made, and be immersed in art, culture, and folklore.”


GenNext Reboot Press Release: Popularity of GenNext Exhibit Earns It a Longer Run-And More Artists

“Santa Fe—On May 4, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art opened the first exhibition showcasing artists who stretch the boundaries of traditional New Mexican art. GenNext: Future So Bright has succeeded beyond our expectations, bringing in new audiences and sparking important dialogues.”


David Rasch is new Spanish Market Director

“The Spanish Colonial Arts Society has announced a new director for the Santa Fe Spanish Market, a local art scholar with longstanding connections to the organization.

“I appreciate the importance of fine hand-made art and am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the Spanish Market artists — both in maintaining their long-standing traditions, but also by encouraging individual creativity through appropriate innovation within the living traditions,” Rasch said.”


New Spanish Market leader has deep Santa Fe ties

“On the job for just a week as the new director of the Traditional Spanish Market, longtime art conservator and former city of Santa Fe historic preservation officer David Rasch is already connecting with artists who help make it happen.

His first task as market director, Rasch said, is to help the artists refine — and, perhaps, redefine — the guidelines on the quality and style of works accepted into the nearly 70-year-old juried show.

‘I want to help them solidify their guidelines,” he said, which determine the subject matter, materials and techniques that are allowed. While tradition is paramount at Spanish Market, there must be room for innovation, Rasch said: “Living traditions evolve.'”


Spanish Market gets new director

“David Rasch, former historic preservation officer for the city of Santa Fe, is the new director of Spanish Market, the Spanish Colonial Arts Society announced Monday.

Rasch was involved with the early development of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts and worked as a conservator and collections manager from 1999-2003, according to a news release. He also served on the Spanish Market Standards Committee for seven years.”


New Spanish Market Director Rejoins MoSCA Team

The Spanish Colonial Arts Society welcomes David Rasch as its new Director of Spanish Market. A Santa Fe resident since 1992, he was involved with the early development of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts, worked as a conservator and collections manager from 1999 to 2003, and has served on the Spanish Market Standards Committee from 2011 to the present day.


GenNext: Future So Bright – The Magazine Review

“GenNext proves that New Mexico’s artmakers understand their unique place in history.”


KSFR Talks With The New Santa Fe Based Band- Nohe Y Sus Santos

“KSFR’s John Shannon caught up with Nohelia Sosa who’s new band Nohe y Sus Santos was shooting a music video here in Santa Fe – We’ll meet the band and hear one of their new songs – Mal Amor.”


Honor among thieves: Brandon Maldonado’s “Neo- Picassoism”

“Maldonado has two other works currently on view at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts in the exhibit GenNext: Future So Bright. Each one a narrative, together they show the contrasts between the American citizen’s and the migrant’s experiences of crossing the U.S. border. “The American goes to party and have a good time, while the other one dies in the desert,” he said. “Mexico is an inspiring place, but the people are having a hard time and I wanted to do something to honor them and put the Picasso style into a different cultural context.””


Feature | Studio Visit with Brandon Maldonado

“It’s not hard to understand why Brandon Maldonado’s paintings are in high demand. Pop Gallery, which represents him in Santa Fe, sells everything he sends them. From a modest studio in the living room of his rented house in Albuquerque, Maldonado paints images of fictional saints, portraits of family members, and contemporary scenes such as quinceañeras, figures crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and images of Hurricane Katrina.

His style borrows freely from Catholic retablos and ex-votos, early Flemish painting, Cubism, and popular culture, all of which Maldonado combines to create colorful and intricate oil-on-panel paintings. Largely self-taught as a painter, Maldonado’s early Día de los Muertos images, which he also sold as prints and on other commercial products to subsidize his painting practice, met with nearly instant success.”


Santero focuses on earthy palette

“Carlos José Otero’s New Mexican reach extends as deeply as the green pigment he gathers from the Placitas hillsides. Winner of the 2018 Masters Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Los Lunas-born santero carves bultos and retablos with the ease of a born sculptor.”


Old meets new at Spanish Market

Marketgoer Margie Maestas of Corrales, who purchased several pieces throughout the day Saturday and has “a house full of art,” said she always makes an effort to buy from the youngsters, as they are the ones who will continue the traditions.

“I love the opportunity to showcase (Hispanics), their talent, their devotion and their commitment to carry on traditional art,” she said. “It makes me feel very proud.”


Culture is all on Spanish Market weekend

“On Traditional Spanish Market weekend, visitors have the opportunity to appreciate an art that grew out of both faith and hardship. Art became a way of adding beauty to a harsh existence, with works fashioned from rougher materials than the gold and silver of Europe and Mexico.”


‘It found me:’ Tinsmith moves the craft forward

“Something he does in just about all of his work is make his designs three-dimensional. Taking inspiration from woodcarvers and painters, and veering away from the classic, flat tinwork style – which utilizes “a lot of stamping,” Gallegos Mayrant noted, something that he said can often distort the tin – he first draws his designs onto his material.”


Of wood and spirit

“There’s a lot of planning involved for both of us before we physically start working on a project,” Lorrie said. “Choosing the materials is a big part of what we both do. Andrew is careful to choose the best quality ponderosa pine lumber he has been harvesting, milling,and drying for years. Andrew’s work requires a lot of premeasurements, and then a lot of measuring in laying out the designs for carving. My work is a little bit more free flowing, which is good because I don’t like to measure. I never start until I have a visual image in my mind before I start carving. I like my bultos to develop their personality as I go along. I sketch small retablos right on my gessoed boards, but I do detailed sketches for large retablos in order to get a good composition.”


José A. Lucero: Santería Cubista A La Nuevomexicana

[podcast interview]

“In the hands of the maestro José A. Lucero, a knife transforms itself into a paintbrush that captures angels and saints in a New Mexican cubism. This artist captures the dialogue of the traditional Spanish Colonial Art style so loved by those who venerate this tradition, but also creatively expresses another spirituality.”

Masterful Patience

“Books about the saints scatter across the coffee table beneath sweeping window views of the city and bosque in his Albuquerque living room. The histories of the saints and of the Spanish people spill from his lips like tumbling rosary beads.

‘These are real people who contributed to the betterment of society throughout the ages,” he says of the saints. “We draw from that to do our work.'”


Traditional and New Art at GenNext and Spanish Market


The Biggest Markets of the Year are Almost Here

“A true sense of the classic Renaissance fair comes through all week during ¡Viva la Cultura!, a series of events by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society that includes traditional costumes, live performances, lectures, book signings, and food vendors. Our best tip: Splurge on tickets for the Friday evening preview, where you can chat up the creators of all the award-winning pieces.”


2018 Traditional Spanish Market Press Release

“Join more than 200 artists from New Mexico and Southern Colorado, July 28–29, as they share the beauty of their 400-year-old art forms during Traditional Spanish Market. These best-of-the-best works of art include woodcarvings, tinwork, colchas, hide paintings, bultos, retablos, straw appliqué, furniture and furnishings, weavings, jewelry, filigree, pottery, and ironwork. Skilled artists and craftspeople create these breathtaking expressions of a living tradition and provide a one-stop shop for collectors of all levels.”


2018 Masters Award for Lifetime Achievement Press Release

“SANTA FE—The Spanish Colonial Arts Society announced today that Carlos J. Otero will receive the Master’s Award for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s Spanish Market. The Los Lunas native is an accomplished santero who has won four (4) Best of Show awards, along with numerous Oirst-place honors and other awards in Spanish Market. He has been a member of the prestigious Spanish Colonial Arts Society since 1996 and participated in every summer and winter show since then.”


Commercial Success: World-class art markets draw thousands to Santa Fe

“The City Different is known as the nation’s third-largest art market in terms of sales, after New York and Los Angeles, but the “difference” here has to do with the emphasis on the market half of the equation.

Not only do most of Santa Fe’s 250-plus galleries operate as art showrooms year round, the city is home to three art markets that pile on the superlatives, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors during the summer months to shop, eat, mingle and ogle.”


Top 3 Reasons to Visit the Santa Fe Spanish Market

“Every year, about 250 artists from across New Mexico and Southern Colorado come together for the Santa Fe Spanish Market. If you’re looking to meet these amazing creators, all you have to do is walk through the market. Feel free to ask them any questions you have and get to know them! Another great opportunity is to go to the artist demonstrations. They are always more than happy to talk about their work.”


GenNext: Future So Bright at MoSCA

“The exhibition GenNext: Future So Bright, opening Saturday, May 5, is the museum’s first extensive show of contemporary art. Fifty works are featured by 20 artists who take historic art forms as the inspiration for street art, tattoo art, contemporary furniture design, and more. The works are a dialogue between past and present that express social and political commentary and indigenous imagery. “


Where tradition meets innovation: Two shows at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art

“So, while visitors to the museum can take in many historic pieces — such as an 18th-century Mexican bulto of St. Michael the Archangel or a 17th-century Mexican missal stand made of hardwood inlaid with tortoiseshell and bone — they are also treated to regional arts that express a certain fluidity while remaining rooted in tradition.”


Something Old, Something New

“The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, one of four on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill, contains hammered tin artwork, fancy portraits of Spanish mucky-mucks, lots of Catholic saints and, obviously, plenty of European influences. So how does this jive with contemporary Hispanic artists like Thomas Vigil, for example, who uses materials like road signs and license plates as backdrops for his portraits?

A big part of what makes this show so enchanting is in how newer artists look to the past with respect, but also with a strong impulse to shake up the old guard.”


Museum focuses on next generation of artists for exhibit

“The idea for a contemporary exhibition germinated when curator Jana Gottshalk began talking to young artists at Santa Fe’s annual Spanish Market.

“I started asking what they did outside of Spanish Market,” she said. “They are all inspired by colonial art and they often work using the same composition as traditional retablos and bultos, but they’re using a lot of social and political commentary in their work.””


GenNext: Future So Bright Exhibition Press Release

Rooted in tradition, Reaching for the Stars: 20 artists who are stretching the boundaries of New Mexican art as we know it with new materials and twists on classic imagery. Spray paint, street signs, tattoos, skateboards and superheroes make up a show like you have never seen before.


Fine-wire act

“I think he’s an expert craftsman,” said Robin Farwell Gavin, former curator at Santa Fe’s Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. “He’s really perfected the art of filigree, and he’s not afraid to experiment with it. Filigree workers are a rare thing. You don’t find many filigree works in the country because it is such precise, intricate work. And you need a really steady hand.”