Art is everywhere in Santa Fe and artists and artisans the world over have come to the area inspired by the terrain, skies, climate and culture. Indeed, Santa Fe’s is North America’s third-largest art market in terms of sales volume, right after New York and Los Angeles.
Home to famous 20th-century painters such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Santa Fe is also known for amazing Native American, Colonial Spanish and American Western art, as well as contemporary art.
Galleries and museums feature the very best in paintings, sculpture and pottery. The city is home to more than a dozen great museums as well including the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the International Museum of Folk Art and The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. Kids and their parents can also enjoy the Santa Fe Children’s Museum.
Some highlights of Santa Fe’s gallery and museum scene follow here.
Prescott Gallery & Sculpture Garden
Located in the new Siler Arts district, the Prescott Gallery & Sculpture Garden extends over 5000-square feet and has a separate acre and a half, especially for the unique garden. When walking in, one of the first things you will notice are the enticing and colorful kinetic sculptures built by the owner, Frederick Prescott.
Despite being made of steel, these figures move with the wind to resemble the natural movements of animals. However, you won’t find any neutral-colored or straightforward sculptures here. Instead, you will find neon color palettes that depict vibrant scenes of the locals and sports figures that catch the eye.
The outdoor garden depicts various scenes, including animal life in Africa, with animals of all different sizes meeting at the local waterhole as their heads bob in the wind.
Keshi, the Zuni Collection
The Zuni Pueblo (village) lies in a scenic location surrounded by breath-taking valleys and mesas. It is inhabited by the Zuni tribe, who are well-known for making high-quality beadwork, and jewelry from silver and turquoise. Keshi or Kayshe is the traditional greeting of the tribe people, and the Keshi Gallery was established in 1981 to support and act as a co-op for the people of the tribe.
You will find hand-made jewelry, astonishing pottery work, and offertory pieces that have their memorable backstories in this gallery. You don’t just have to browse; you also have the option of getting your hands on healing stones and little animal-inspired pieces that will look perfect on your center table!
Santa Fe Children’s Museum
The Santa Fe Children’s Museum was established in 1985 and is the ideal spot to bring your children where they can learn, play, and socialize down at the Old Pecos Trail. The museum offers a hands-on experience for children up to the age of 8, where they can learn how to build a rocket and much more from scratch.
The Earthworks Garden contains over an acre of fruit and nut trees and unique exhibits where your child can plant and nurture trees and even be a part of surprise pop-up programs, such as dancing competitions or cooking lessons.
Apart from the many regular programs, there are also fun events that are scheduled at certain times of the month, such as storytelling day and field day trips.
Museum of Indian Arts & Cultures
Located on Camino Lejo at Museum Hill, the Museum of Indian Arts & Cultures is home to an amazing collection of Native American art. It has various exhibitions displaying classic pottery pieces, jewelry, and decorative pieces with tribe symbols and vibrant colors.
There are plenty of tours and guided programs, for adults, children, and youth, along with museum tours that occur daily. If you’re looking to relax after browsing, head to the Museum Hill Cafe with delicious food, jazz nights, and music events overlooking the bustling street.
You can also shop at the Colleen Cloney Duncan Museum Shop, selling contemporary native art pieces, such as jewelry, ceramics, sculptures, baskets, clothing, and books.
The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art
Opened in 2002, this little museum can be found on Museum Hill and exhibits Spanish Colonial-style furniture, art, and textiles. The museum camp exhibits date back to 500 years ago and include beautifully decorated rooms with colonial furniture, decorative pieces, and murals sprawled on the walls.
Part of the Museum Hill complex, in addition to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art you can also tour the Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts & Cultures.
The Museum of International Folk Art
Located on Museum Hill , the Museum of International Folk Art Has the largest collector of folk art in the entire world.
More than 130,000 objects from 100 different countries are found here in exhibits reflecting thoughts on social injustice and other significant issues worldwide. Some of the many things you will come across include African metalwork, Turkish ceramics, Chinese new year prints, Palestinian dress and jewelry, and beadwork from across the world.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
This elegant museum is dedicated entirely to Georgia O’Keeffe, an American artist well-known for her portraits of vibrant large flowers, scenic New Mexico landscapes, and illuminated New York skyscrapers. Apart from exhibiting pieces of her life, the works here also reflect American modernism.
The museum opened on July 17, 1997, eleven years after her death. It now encompasses almost all of her work sprawled across walls of grey and white. The museum doesn’t just provide school tours but also offers guided group tours with audio describing the pieces and Georgia’s life. You can also head to the museum store to treat yourself to books, gifts and jewelry.
The New Mexico Museum of Art
Just off the Plaza, the New Mexico Museum of Art is the oldest museum in the state, House in a beautiful Pueblo Revival building with a lovely courtyard, the museum houses more than 200,000 European and American art pieces, which include drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and much more, including pieces from the legendary Taos Art Society.
Apart from traditional work, you will also find contemporary work along with changing exhibitions. And of course, don’t forget to check out the museum’s great gift shop!
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