An Arizona fire last week prevented us from visiting in-laws, who evacuated their mountain cabin and retreated to Phoenix under record-breaking temperatures. My faithful companion and I decided to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico. Olé!
Here is an armchair glimpse of a delightful southwestern city and more art galleries than you could ever count!
First on the tour is a snapshot of the forest leading into Santa Fe, followed by photos of desert plants, lovingly tended by gardeners at Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill. I don’t know the plants’ official names– they’re just beautiful pokies. Using a camera lens, one can appreciate why so many artists love the lighting and colors of Santa Fe and the Southwest.
Visiting the New Mexico History Museum offered us a good account of the state’s past 500 years. It’s a mix of several people groups: Spanish
settlers, who founded Santa Fe in 1607; various Indian tribes; countless adventurers; farmers; tourists and artists. Many pushed westward with donkeys and horses, and later with trains and motorcars.
Regrettably, we didn’t learn as much about the more ancient citizens. Nor did we visit the Taos Pueblo, an ancient community belonging to the Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people and considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the U.S.
I was intrigued by one story of nine-year-old
Josefa Antonia de Pas Bustillos Ontiveros. The museum plaque states Ontiveros arrived in Santa Fe in 1694 after a 1500-mile trip from Mexico City.
She belonged to one of hundreds of Spanish families that recolonized New Mexico after an earlier Indian war drove out the Spanish to Mexico. Though Josefa never married she bore at least six children and cared for many more. She owned property, fought land disputes in court, and made her own way in colonial New Mexico. Her descendants still reside in Santa Fe. Do you think Josefa Antonia had true grit?
Another Sante Fe person who blew me away was Sculptor Allan Houser (1914-1994 ). Allan’s parents, Sam and Blossom Haozous were members of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, who were held as prisoners of war for 27 years. Allan’s father was with the small band of Warm Springs Chiricahuas when their leader Geronimo left the reservation and later surrendered to the U.S. Army in 1886 in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.
After release from the U.S. government, Houser’s parents raised the family on farmland in Oklahoma. Houser eventually settled in Santa Fe after extensive art training. Below are several of his pieces that we discovered as we wandered Canyon Road and “the museums on the hill.”
Canyon Road and the International Museum of Folk Art are two Santa Fe sites bursting with art. Canyon Road is populated with a half mile of galleries. We were quite content to view the sculptures on the patios, although in one gallery we longingly admired a $5500 bronze of a shepherd, dog and sheep.
A centerpiece at Museum Hill is this fellow below, who reminded me of Goliath:
The Museum of International Folk Art is the largest collection of miniature folk art in the world. I couldn’t photograph all the museum’s 130,000 objects from 100 nations! We particularly liked the dioramas that showed figures of different sizes, which created a lengthy 3-D perspective. Below are a few of the art pieces we saw.
Santa Fe is definitely a visual feast. I hope you will get to travel there and experience it for yourself. But try to go when the temperature isn’t 95 degrees!