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Canyon Road Merchants Association Honors the Past and Embraces the Future
— Santa Fe & Taos


May 26, 2015


Intro

Santa Fe has a Miracle Half-Mile, and its name is Canyon Road. It is one of the only art epicenters where people can walk along a beautiful half-mile arc lined with more than 100 fine art galleries, custom jewelers, fashion boutiques, home furnishing shops and gourmet restaurants, all offering top-tier creations to a truly global clientele.



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  • Writer
    Wolfgang Mabry

  • Photography
    Narrative Media

Santa Fe has a Miracle Half-Mile, and its name is Canyon Road. It is one of the only art epicenters where people can walk along a beautiful half-mile arc lined with more than 100 fine art galleries, custom jewelers, fashion boutiques, home furnishing shops and gourmet restaurants, all offering top-tier creations to a truly global clientele. The Canyon Road Merchants Association, with 1,500 years of collective experience and expertise among its member businesses, was formed three years ago to foster a collaborative sense of community and promote awareness of the many great attributes that make Canyon Road so inviting and rewarding to discerning lovers of art in all its forms.

From its beginnings as a prehistoric footpath between indigenous settlements along the Santa Fe River and the Pecos Pueblo across the mountains to the east, Canyon Road has gradually and organically become a premiere art-buying destination known around the world. This has taken place over many centuries, gathering momentum in the 20th century and welcoming the 21st with an incomparable range of offerings in every category and for every taste and sensibility. Visitors are frequently heard expressing surprise and delight at the exceptional variety and uniformly high standards of artistry and craftsmanship that characterize the paintings, sculpture, jewelry, textiles, glass, clothing, furnishings, crafts and culinary offerings available on Canyon Road.

If there was an early period dominated by Western themes and subjects, that time has given way to an era of unlimited choice. Canyon Road is still a premiere source for works by the Taos Founders, Los Cinco Pintores, and other early twentieth-century painters who helped establish Santa Fe as one of the top three art markets in the United States. Visitors can also find new artistic explorations of traditional subjects and regional styles by living, working artists. By the middle of the 20th century, Canyon Road had begun what has become a full embrace of contemporary ideation, technique and style, making it easy to find art compatible with the widest range of decorative concepts, collector exigencies and budgets.

Housed in historic adobe buildings and other period architectural gems that began as homes, Canyon Road galleries facilitate the ability of buyers to envision works in their own spaces, whatever the decor. Impressionist, expressionist, photorealist, classical realist, pointillist, minimalist, Western, Native American, fantasy—it is all on view at Canyon Road galleries, and in astonishing abundance. The introduction of young artists alongside the presentation of works by established masters demonstrates a shared vision that honors the past while embracing the future.

Santa Fe’s moderate four-season-climate makes a stroll enjoyable on most days, with a distinct Santa Fe-feel from its narrow walkways, high desert plants and lovingly restored buildings. Everything contributes mightily to the unique experience. Canyon Road’s art season begins in February with ArtFeast, a weekend of events that includes a gourmet dinner, an auction of artworks by Santa Fe school children, a fashion show and a homes tour. Proceeds go directly to funding for art programs in Santa Fe schools.

Passport to the Arts inaugurates the warm season on May 8th and 9th with more than 50 galleries offering paintings, sculpture, glass, jewelry, weavings, photography and pottery in Silent Auctions. Many galleries will have opening receptions from 5 pm to 7 pm on Friday. Saturday’s events include the Artist Quick Draw from 11 am to 12:30 pm, the Artist Reception at 4 pm, and the Live Auction at 5:15 pm. Artist demonstrations, lectures, trunk shows and live music are other highlights of a gorgeous weekend of art immersion.

Warm nights means gallery openings, and they are the highlight on Canyon Road every Friday night from May through October.

ARTsmart’s Edible Art Tour is a very popular element of ArtFeast. This year it’s been moved to warmer weather (June 12-13, 2015). The event pairs exceptional restaurants with great art for an evening of gustatory delights in participating galleries. The Canyon Road event takes place on June 13th.

The Seventh Annual Historic Canyon Road Paint Out features more than 100 artists working in a variety of media—en plein air painters at their easels in the gardens, courtyards, and portales of the galleries that represent them with events on Friday and Saturday, October 16th and 17th. The term “paint-out” stretches for this event to include weavers, sculptors, carvers and artists working in media other than paint. The festival atmosphere of this event is enhanced by a parade of marching bands at noon, and performances by students from the Santa Fe Public Schools Music Education Program in the afternoon. Businesses along the entire half-mile offer music, food, art and refreshments for the event, and many venues have activities for children.

Safe Haven for Halloween is another Canyon Road Merchant Association contribution to the special community spirit of Santa Fe. It allows parents and children a convenient, safe, cheerful place to dress up and go trick-or-treating. The date, time and place are easy to remember—October 31st, 4 to 6 pm on Canyon Road.

The year comes to a celebratory close with the Christmas Eve Canyon Road Farolito and Luminaria Walk. This is easily the oldest and most well-known tradition. Small fires or candles called luminarias are placed in brown paper bags that are weighted with sand and line the street. These farolitos (another name for the luminarias) light the dark night of winter and bring the community together for hot cider, biscochitos and the spirit of Christmas. Fifteen-hundred years of experience and expertise in presenting the best in art, cuisine, atmosphere and cultural fun make it likely you’ll leave Canyon Road with a smile.



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