Take a walk with me down Canyon Road – Santa Fe

Canyon Road’s gradual shift from a residential and farm road to a commercial district began in the late 1940s as a variety of businesses opened along its lower half-mile.  However, in the post-war era, none of those businesses was an art gallery.

Perhaps aligning with the existing art community, many other new entrepreneurs were craftspeople who probably sold their products directly from their home studios as well as to other retailers.  Weavers, furniture makers, wood carvers, leatherworkers, potters, silversmiths, and jewelers crafted their wares in the old houses, barns and sheds along Canyon Road.

I love wandering the narrow streets, the sun shone, the sky was blue and the spring flowers were in bloom.

But one wonders how can an out-of-the-way town of fewer than 70,000 residents support so many galleries?  The answer, of course, is that people from all over the country—and the world—come to Santa Fe for its phenomenal selection of fine art.    Canyon Road is not just a cluster of shops at the center of Santa Fe’s artistic community.  It is an ancient neighborhood of historic adobe houses, manicured courtyard gardens, and hidden alleys, all interspersed with some of the country’s finest art galleries.  It is one of the country’s most celebrated art districts; an art experience like no other.

I visited about 20 0f the 110  Galleries, until finally I was in sensory overload and I felt I was missing point, so I will come back in July so that I appreciate the beauty.



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Every Gallery has a gradient wander through. Its so peaceful.

This is the art of Patti Warashina.

Patti Warashina (born 1940) is an American artist known for her imaginative ceramic sculptures. Her works are in the collection of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Warashina’s work is often humorous, and includes “clay figures placed in imagined environments that show her subversive thinking.” She uses sculpture to explore such themes as the human condition, feminism, car-culture, and political and social topics.

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Sculptures in the street.

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The art of Charla Khanna.

The dolls of Charla Khanna hang on the wall as works of textile art: “These are not dolls or little people,” Khanna says, explaining that the dolls are “manifestations of the human spirit, of the varied aspects of the human psyche.”  They are “expressions of states of being,” she adds. Thus Khanna clearly dismisses any notion that her dolls are merely decorative or trivial, as beautiful as they are.

Viewing Khanna’s dolls, one wonders what culture and gender they represent. They seem to reference the Michigan/Taos artist’s proximity with both Native American and Hispanic or Mexican cultures, but they have an Asian sensibility as well. Nor are the dolls gender specific. Their androgynous aspect reinforces the metaphoric aspect of each doll, asking the viewer to tell their stories for them.

The most striking aspect of the dolls is the dazzling textile work created by Khanna.

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Lesley Richmond Textile Artist.

Lesley photographs trees, focusing on the intricacy of their branching structures and then prints these images on cloth, using a medium that creates a dimensional surface. She then eliminates selected background areas, leaving the structural images of trees as the dominant feature. The images are then painted with metal patinas and pigments.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Dolores says:

    Sensory overload indeed. Wonderful and thank you for sharing these pieces of art.

  2. On my first visit to Santa Fe mid April 2015 included a morning stroll on Canyon Road after a spring snowstorm. I enjoyed photographing a variety of sculptures located outside galleries. I live in northwest Colorado, and have been trying to locate the name of the sculpture who did the human head in the photo at the beginning of your article. Would you be able to share the sculpture’s name and contact information with me? I would very much appreciate it.

    1. Pam Holland says:

      I’m so sorry, I don’t know. it was on Canyon Road.

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