The Sawmill District…A New Urbanism

Sawmill Market rendering

Sawmill Market rendering

Today, the former home of Frank Paxton Lumber Company is a scruffy blue-and-white warehouse down Bellamah Avenue in Albuquerque’s Sawmill District. In the early 20th century, it was part of a bustling lumber district whose neighborhood-wide operations earned the quarter its moniker. In the ensuing century, Albuquerque has grown up around Paxton Lumber—most recently in the form of the residential Sawmill Lofts and the luxurious Hotel Chaco—and the neighborhood has become an A-plus location, nestled between Downtown, Old Town and the Rio Grande River. By early 2019, that vintage lumber building will be the home of the state’s first food market in the style of San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace and New York’s Gotham West Market, to name two. Continue reading

Backstage at the Runway: Native Fashion Now

GMarks-SWAIA2015-Fashion-BTS-09If the cultural mainstream is the domain of the popular, the proven and familiar, then the edges, where tributaries of distinct cultural streams meet and swirl, is the place where combined forces of friction and fusion create forms altogether new and innovative. The edges are where things really happen.

Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the world of fashion. In other traditional art forms––painting, pottery, basketry, among others––the primary audience is a self-selecting group of collectors, educated art historians, artists themselves. But we all wear clothes, and we are all influenced by fashion–– whether intentionally, through personal “style,” or peripherally, by simply buying what is available at any given time from major outlets. (Those who remember the epic “cerulean” speech by Meryl Streep’s character Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada already appreciate the sweeping implications of such a statement. )

The 2016 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ Haute Couture and Prêt-à-Porter Fashion Show provides a portal for those of us who don’t frequent the runways of fashion week to see first-hand the emergence of exquisite and exotic newly imagined designs, the energy and dynamic new forms of which promise to ripple across and disrupt the flow of the mainstream. These are designs marked by what journalist Laura Jacobs of the Wall Street Journal calls the “constants” of Native American design: “an affinity with the elemental; a sophisticated relationship with pattern and pictorial stylization; an emphasis on hand crafting; and, in the space between seeing and making, a sense of soaring.”

In 2014, then-newly appointed head of SWAIA Dallin Maybee JD (Northern Arapaho/Seneca) invited Amber-Dawn Bear Robe to produce the first-ever haute couture runway fashion show for Indian Market. The fashion show, like the new EDGE program that debuted last year, marks efforts to integrate new innovative concepts, media and subject matter with the iconic traditional crafts and motifs for which the market is best known. “I have worked with Amber on a number of fashion events in the past and immediately thought of her when I knew we wanted to explore a fashion event at Indian Market,” Dallin says. Continue reading

Winter on Canvas

Anyone who has spent Christmas in the Land of Enchantment knows how beautiful winter in New Mexico truly is. Farolitos line our streets and buildings, offering a warm glow to the midnight blue of our night skies, while the snow makes itself at home on mountaintops and adobe walls. There are other perspectives from which to view the season, however, and this year we encourage you to do so. Experience winter in the Land of Enchantment through the eyes of artists who translate to canvas those magical elements that only they see. This year, support your local artists and galleries—give the gift of art.

Cynthia Rowland, “Sur la Pointe,” 20 x 16 in., oil on canvas, $2,250
New Mexico Art League

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The Art Buzz December 2014

Chris Meyer, "The Horse in America"

Chris Meyer, “The Horse in America”


If you missed this year’s Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache, you’ve got a second chance. This year’s featured artist, Sandra Corless, will be selling signed copies of her sandhill crane poster photograph, “Looking for a Mate,” at the annual New Mexico Photographic Arts Show (ANMPAS), at Expo New Mexico. The exhibition runs December 7 through 29 and all proceeds from the sale of the poster benefit the Bosque del Apache. Corless is an avid wild bird photographer and “Looking for a Mate” is part of her current project called In the Company of Cranes, which reveals the birds’ intimate behaviors and human-like characteristics. Head to for details, times and info about the full exhibition highlighting the best of New Mexico’s amateur and professional photographers.

This January, Weyrich Gallery features artists Chris Meyer (mixed media) and Jenn Noel (ceramics). Chris combines modern photography and printing with traditional collage and assemblage to create objects that appear to be unearthed from another culture or time, each with its own story to tell. Jenn’s functional pottery perfectly compliments Chris’s objects, featuring earthy glazes and traditional symbols such as spirals. She believes handmade objects allow you to slow down and experience the beauty of the world. Both artists’ works gives the impression of being archaeological finds while still being recently made, fitting Weyrich’s overall theme of “diverse works from dreams, folklore, myth and the earth.” The opening reception is Friday, January 2, 5 to 8:30 p.m., and both artists will be present to discuss and explain their work. The show runs through January 30. Weyrich Gallery is at the corner of Louisiana and Candelaria,


Santa Fe

The New Mexico History Museum opens its new exhibition December 7: Setting the Standard: The Fred Harvey Company and its Legacy, telling the story of the Fred Harvey Company and its impact on New Mexico. The company, known for its necklace of eating houses and hotels (like Santa Fe’s La Fonda on the Plaza and Las Vegas’ La Castaneda Hotel), served passengers heading west on the railroad. Opening day events include filmmaker Katrina Parks’ 57-minute documentary The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound, and at 2 p.m., exhibition curator Meredith Davidson joins Parks and Stephen Fried (author of Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West—One Meal at a Time) for a discussion. Admission for New Mexico residents is always free on Sundays, we lucky residents …

The second annual GLOW—A Winter Lights Event in the Garden begins December 4 at Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill.The garden will be lit up like a winter wonderland Thursday through Saturday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. through January 3. Friday nights bring Santa and Saturday nights feature live musical entertainment and a cash bar. Dress warmly and bring the whole family.

When Alfred Morang’s Canyon Road studio caught fire in 1958, the Santa Fe art community was shocked to the core by his death. One of Santa Fe’s best known and most colorful bohemians, Morang’s been called a neglected master. Now, Matthews Gallery is excited to present Morang and Friends, an exhibition of artwork by Alfred Morang and his contemporaries, opening December 12 with a special reception that evening. Running through December 26, the exhibition features a charred violin, sketches and extensive writings, alongside artwork by Morang and other New Mexico modernists of the period. Morang made impressionistic, heavily impastoed landscapes and portraits, treating his pigments like a sculptural medium. As a revered art teacher and prolific painter, he helped shape a generation of Santa Fe artists. Decades after Morang’s death, local art scholar Paul Parker conducted a national search for a box of the artist’s writings and personal effects that had passed down through the Morang family. For more visit

The traditional arts of the Southwest are brought together in one volume for the first time in Southwest Art Defined: An Illustrated Guide by Margaret Moore Booker. “If a person had no other book on the arts of the Southwest, this one could provide a better starting point than any other I have seen,” says Jonathan Batkin,director of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. This comprehensive survey of Native American and Hispano art is accompanied by full color photographs of works from museums, galleries and private collections, featuring terms or definitions for the pottery, textiles, jewelry, basketry, weavings, tinwork, woodwork, retablos, architecture and other traditional decorative arts of the Southwest. Santa Fe resident Booker conducted extensive research on the region’s arts and consulted with leading scholars to bring you the reference book for art enthusiasts, collectors and scholars. She is also the award-winning author of several books and numerous articles on art, decorative arts, architecture and history. Get your copy at Collected Works, Garcia Street Books, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture gift shop, International Folk Art Museum gift shop, Wheelright Museum gift shop and the La Fonda Hotel’s gift store.



If you didn’t get enough Fred Harvey in Santa Fe, head to Taos and the Millicent Rogers Museum through January 31 for its own exhibition, Fred Harvey and the Making of the American West. The Fred Harvey Company in many ways created the images that most Americans have of the American West. Through postcards, books, jewelry and more, the name Fred Harvey became synonymous with all things west of Kansas. This unique exhibit, featuring items borrowed from the family of Fred Harvey, will tell the story of the company that made the west! Special highlights include work by Maria Martinez and Nampeyo, Native American pottery artists whose careers were heavily influenced by their time working for Fred Harvey, and Fred Harvey jewelry from private collections illustrating the range and diversity of the work produced for and sold by their retail shops. See the train layout just as children in the 1950s and 60s would have seen it on Christmas morning. Visit for details.


story by Kelly Koepke

Art Buzz November 2014

Art Buzz


Friday, November 21, is the Citywide Artscrawl and Holiday Kickoff, with five percent of sales of participating galleries going to charity. Of note is New Grounds Print Workshop & Gallery’s Hot Off the Press—Open Studio, Fundraiser and Printing Extravaganza with seven artists pulling prints: etchings, gravure, linoleum cuts and serigraphs, available for sale at a discount during the reception only. Participating artists include Diane Alire, Ray Maseman, local treasure Mary Sundstrom, Kaitlin Reese, Wayne Chinander, Nikolaus Hudak and Ren Adams. Visit for details. Continue reading