High Art: Santa Fe Ranked As Top Museum City

- February 20, 2012

“Santa Fe No. 3 just behind New York and Boston…”

In its latest top-ten rankings, the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) has listed Santa Fe as No. 3 on a list of cities with great museums, just behind New York and Boston and just ahead of Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

In the introduction to this list, USTA states: “The U.S. is home to some fabulous big-city art museums, but – surprise – there’s also great art viewing in several smaller cities. Here’s where to go for the ultimate art tour.”

Of course the list for New York includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world’s largest art museums, housing an astonishing two million pieces, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Just behind the Big Apple is Boston, with the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

In its touting of Santa Fe as No. 3 on the list, USTA mentions all the usual suspects, including The O’Keeffe, the Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, New Mexico Museum of Art, SITE Santa Fe, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art.

But, for me, the strength of our listing was not just these recognized treasures, but also our many other offerings – from annual shows to unique, one-of-a-kind institutions, to smaller venues. Santa Fe’s menu of offerings included Art Santa Fe, the Folk Art Market, Spanish Market, Indian Market, SOFA West, Las Golondrinas, IAIA Museum and even the Loretto Chapel, with its famous staircase.

All in all, the article gave a sense of a well-rounded community for viewing art and culture at these institutions and the 200 plus commercial galleries scattered around several walk able arts districts. But, then again, none of this provides any surprises to those of us who are fortunate enough to spend all or part of our lives here. We hope that USTA’s list brings an awareness of our treasures to many more throughout the world.