Town Square

Gallery City

Original post made by John Barry, Danville, on Mar 29, 2010

To say that Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an art destination would be an understatement on the order of “a few landscapes featuring Mount Diablo have been painted over the years.”

I recently returned from a gallery-hopping weekend in Santa Fe, and the quantity, quality, and variety of the works are vast. So are some of the prices.

The official gallery guide lists 92 locations, but there are probably more; I ventured into one venue that wasn’t even on the list.

To visit all the galleries and museums in this high-desert city would take days, but here’s a sampling of what I saw at both ends of the spectrum.

On East Palace Avenue, not far from the Plaza, is the Peyton Wright gallery, an elegant setting specializing in Spanish Colonial–era art and artifacts. Much of the work is of a hybrid nature, incorporating elements of European culture along with indigenous symbols and motifs.

A few blocks down is the Chuck Jones gallery. Jones was a legendary cartoonist/director at the Warner Brothers studio in the Looney Tunes glory days. This gallery features cells of Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner, and other famous Warner Brothers characters. Over on Water Street sits the Pop Gallery, a temple of modernist kitsch.

Santa Fe is home to numerous museums, including the world-renowned Georgia O’Keefe and the New Mexico Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.

Approximately half of Santa Fe’s galleries are clustered on and near Canyon Road, not far from the Plaza.

To the north is Taos, an artist colony that has hosted the likes of D. H. Lawrence and Nicolai Fechin. Fechin, a Russian émigré artist, designed and built the house that now serves as the Taos Art Museum, housing works of the Taos Society of Artists in addition to those of Fechin.

To understate the case, if you enjoy art, a visit to Santa Fe is a must.

John A. Barry is a writer and avocational artist. To share anything art-related, call him at 314-9528 or email