Just a few blocks south of my inn, a short walk down Guadelupe Street, stands the iconic sculpture at Santuario de Guadelupe. Opened in 1795, she is listed on the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties. Our Lady, a lovely dark figure, draped in a light blue cape studded with stars, a patch of sky that has come down to envelop and caress her, is obviously a beloved fixture. At her feet were bouquets of fresh flowers, probably replaced daily.
I was intrigued by the Railyard District, a historic warehouse and railroad yard. Neglected for years after the trains stopped running, the warehouses have been revitalized as home to the Farmers’ Market, galleries, and an art center (isn’t everything in Santa Fe?).
I love an outdoor market and was pleased to see that, in addition to Saturdays, Santa Fe’s market was open on Tuesdays (although the art center was not). The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market proclaims that all products for sale, including crafts and jewelry, are locally grown or made in northern New Mexico by the people selling them. I milled around with the crowd of locals, chatting with the proud vendors and admiring their colorful, fresh produce, regretting that I couldn’t take some home, since I’d be travelling for the rest of the week.
The warehouses in the district were covered with murals.
The train is running again, south to Albuquerque, and it graced me with a performance as I wandered among art stands. When I heard the train’s roar, I rushed up to capture it going by. After taking this series of photos, I spun around to see a woman grinning at me, happy to have shared the excitement of that moment.
At the south end of the district, the rail lines still exist in Railway Gardens, cutting through native plant landscaping. Leaving the city streets behind, it was a refreshing place to stroll.
The next morning, I wandered through the rooms at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum slowly, relishing the paintings of an artist I admire. I learned more about her life through the progression of her work and photographs taken both by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, and her own. I was pleased to see that the exhibit was not dominated by her flower paintings, although they were represented in the collection, a blending of soft colors in flower petals. The Ghost Ranch landscapes were familiar and evocative. (Ghost Ranch post to come.) Some of the paintings made while she lived in that desert world included found animal bones. A museum guard, whose mother knew O’Keeffe, told a story about one painting of a horned skull with a bullet hole. The artist put a flower through the hole, which inspired her to do a series of related pieces.
The Plaza, which I had seen on previous visits, is surrounded by high-end art galleries. I poked into quite a few. The prices were well beyond my reach, but I wasn’t there to buy. The Santa Fe and New Mexico art scene is booming and blossoming, modern and abstract, native and natural themes, scenes of historic locations and desert landscapes.
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Email me at: Ruth@RuthRosenfeld.com