Artists + Makers
Want to reside in a city where arts and culture are at the center of everything? Look no further than Santa Fe. The third-largest art market in the country, it is home to a number of important arts institutions, from SITE Santa Fe, Meow Wolf, Santa Fe Opera, and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to Wise Fool, Dancing Earth, and the Lensic Performing Arts Center. It also boasts national- and state-funded institutes such as the Institute for American Indian Arts and the New Mexico School for the Arts. An hour south in Albuquerque are the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the National Institute of Flamenco, the nation’s most revered institutions of their kind.
Santa Fe’s original makers are the Native peoples of New Mexico, who laid the foundation upon which new artisans and makers stand. In the early 1600s, the Spanish arrived, bringing their own arts and trades. Today’s generation of artists gives life to their ancient forms while also creating new ones, from pottery, weaving, and silversmithing to immersive arts, interior design, and aerial arts.
Discover a small selection of New Mexico makers here, including Paul Baxendale, Alex Chavez, Elise Southwick, Christine Hernandez, Erin Currier, Kimmy Rohrs, Yolanda Rawlings, Felipe Ortega and Johnny Ortiz, Lucy Barna, Heather and Matt French, and St. John’s alum Sean Di Ianni. To learn about one of Santa Fe’s maker spaces, which provides affordable workshops, tools, and workspaces to new and established makers alike, visit Make Santa Fe. To visit one of the city’s maker’s markets, hit the El Rey on the First Friday of the month.
Santa Fe has more than 250 art galleries for its 80,000 residents—which means there is one gallery for every 320 people. But we also have a world-class opera, a national dance company, a renowned circus and aerial arts school, an internationally recognized contemporary arts space, a respected symphony, a summer bandstand series, a contemporary indigenous dance company, a longstanding community theater, and the most innovative multimedia immersive arts company in the nation. In addition, our local arts festivals and museums are national treasures, drawing tens of thousands from across the world annually. In what other state can you find the flamenco dance capital of the country, and the trifecta of arts festivals: the Spanish Market, the Indian Market, and the largest International Folk Art Market in the country? In this little place? Absolutely.
New Mexico’s arts and culture industries bring $6 billion in economic impact to the state. The state’s film industry—one of the nation’s largest and most established—creates $1 billion annually in economic output. These sectors provide tens of thousands of jobs to New Mexicans. From writers and directors to painters and sculptors, sound designers and lighting designers to costume designers and set designers, pyrotechnicians and propmasters to multimedia artists and dancers, to chefs and massage therapists ... Arts and culture are not just central to the lives of Santa Feans, they are central to their livelihoods as well.
In the words of local conjunto band Lone Pinon, “The Norte has long been a crossroads of cultures, and centuries of intersecting histories, trade routes, migrations, and cultural movements have endowed the region with an expansive and rich musical heritage.”
These intersections have been the fertile ground from which some of the most authentic Southwestern bands, and those who travel the Southwestern circuit, have grown. It has also been a place of great freedom and innovation.
From powerful singer-songwriters like The Handsome Family, best known as the creators of HBO’s True Detective theme song, to old-school blues musicians like CW Ayon and Americana trio Hot Honey, to outrageous innovators and explorers like Beirut and CocoRosie, to the regulars who pass through for a gig at Meow Wolf while en route to Los Angeles or Austin, Santa Fe’s music scene—and the talents it has spawned and supported—is rich and diverse.