The ‘Summer of Color’ in Santa Fe

New Mexico Magazine - April 22, 2015

The summer looks bright.

The lofty, somewhat removed setting of Museum Hill is no accident. Intersected by Camino Lejo, which in Spanish means roughly “far-away road,” this sunny bluff a couple of miles south of the Santa Fe Plaza contains one of America’s foremost cultural campuses, with museums devoted to Native, Spanish Colonial, and global folk art. The developers of Museum Hill, led by Standard Oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, chose the location in the late 1920s despite protests by Museum of New Mexico director Edgar Lee Hewett, who argued for a downtown location.

“They chose this area out of a strong desire for a dramatic silhouette on a ridge and the sweeping views in all directions,” says Dody Fugate, assistant curator of Archaeological Research Collections at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.

Indeed, from Museum Hill’s Milner Plaza, you’re afforded vistas of the landscapes that have shaped New Mexico’s world-renowned art scene. To the south you see where the legendary Camino Real carried Spanish expeditions from Mexico past the Sandías. To the southeast, the Old Santa Fe Trail, which brought Anglo settlers from the American interior, curves around the southern end of the Sangre de Cristos at Glorieta Pass. Looking west, you can see across the Río Grande Valley—inhabited by Native communities for centuries—clear to the Jémez Mountains, where at dusk you’ll spy the twinkling lights of Los Alamos, a community that didn’t even exist at Museum Hill’s inception.

Read the rest of May's issue of New Mexico Magazine here.

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Everyday there is something NEW for the Summer of Color. See the various calendar events here.