New York and Los Angeles are expectedly the largest art markets in the United States, as together they boast more than 1,200 galleries and 100 arts institutions. But still surprising to many is the fact that Santa Fe now sits as high as number three on lists that rank market power. A key marker of the success of the city’s burgeoning arts culture is the annual curated show, Art Santa Fe, which draws international galleries and collectors. The 18th installment of the show just wrapped on July 15.

The theme of the four-day fair was Allure, referencing the power of contemporary and modern art to inspire those who experience it.

Old Garage by Shushana Rucker at Art Santa Fe

“Old Garage” by Shushana Rucker. Courtesy

“Our specialty is bringing artists from around the world to Santa Fe, a destination that has its own artistic voice and residents, creating an unforgettable experience for our guests,” said Eric Smith, CEO of Redwood Media Group, which produces the show. 

Solo Project — a special section featuring a selection of independent leading-edge artists debuted this year. Separate from the Gallery floor, the Solo Project was comprised of only 18 exhibitors, including local artists and some from as far away as Algeria.

Osaka, Japan-based Gallery Edel featured Kusama Yayoi, whose large-scale installations brought her domestic recognition in the 1950s, and have since been displayed all over the world. The 89-year old artist’s glass sculptures, prints and other small-scale works were featured at Art Santa Fe, reflecting Yayoi’s desire for all who love and appreciate her artwork to have the chance to own it.

Un Oef is Enough, by Heidi Loewen at Art Santa Fe

“Un Oef is Enough”, by Heidi Loewen. Courtesy

The gallery also showcase works by pop art icon Andy Warhol and the provocative British contemporary artist Damien Hirst, among others.

Contemporary Art Projects USA returned with a collection showcasing artists from around the world. After a successful exhibition at Red Dot Miami, CAP brought Ricardo Cárdenas to Art Santa Fe, returning after three years away from the show.

Cárdenas, a Mexico-based artist who is gaining popularity, was a construction engineer and successfully blends his knowledge of building and love of raw materials, along with his own sentiments. His works often consist primarily of building materials, including concrete from the debris of Mexico’s recent earthquakes which he has repurposed. The result is art that reflects himself entirely in materials and techniques.

Also featured at the show was Quebec-based artist Samir Sammoun, known for his Post-Impressionist renditions of lavender and wheat fields, cedar trees, olive groves and mountain ranges of his childhood home in Lebanon.

Next year’s Art Santa Fe runs July 18-21, and will again be held at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

The historic northern New Mexico city of less than 100,000 residents contains nearly 300 art galleries, as well as the New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of International Folk Art, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. Photo by Buford Davis, CLASS

Bust of Georgia O’Keefe at New Mexico Museum of Art. Photo by Buford Davis, CLASS


Just east of Old Town, winding and picturesque Canyon Road is lined with more than 50 galleries offering a range of art, jewelry and crafts. Many of the galleries are housed in adobe buildings and feature high-end works increasingly sought by international collectors.

The vibrant Railyard district mixes contemporary galleries with work-and-live lofts and restaurants. The re-imagined area opened in 2008, having been abandoned for decades. It is now one of the city’s liveliest locations, along with neighboring Guadalupe District, drawing crowds with frequent exhibition openings, farmers markets and special events.

A recent and truly innovative addition to the local arts scene is Meow Wolf, an interactive experience that incorporates about 200 artists in a range of disciplines. It began in 2008 as an arts collective and unveiled its first permanent installation, The House of Eternal Returns in 2016 to popular and critical acclaim. Meow Wolf plans to open locations in Denver and Las Vegas by 2020.

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