Spring is in the Air

- April 30, 2012

"Hope springs eternal for artists of all kinds..."

Spring always conjures up the anticipation of summer and all that the earth has to offer: new growth, the return of flora and fauna that have been hibernating or dormant for the winter. Here in Santa Fe, it is the emergence of the summer season of arts that show the beginnings of their growth in April and May. Our summer schedule is still the biggest time to sample our unique smorgasbord of artistic treats, but the spring is when we begin to get a sense of what is to come. Not only do we receive mounds of press and promotional mulch about summer seasons that we must absorb, but we begin to see hopeful signs that artists, always busy with their own lives and work, are finally emerging also. This past weekend the new growth and perennials in the art scene began to poke their heads out of the winter month’s dormancy.

There was music on the Plaza, visual arts projections on the buildings at Santa Fe University of Art and Design (I’ll write separately about this) and those perennial harbingers of spring, the folks from Wise Fool.

Wise Fool is well known for its “Circus Luminous” performances each Thanksgiving weekend and for Earth Day appearances, but this spring the group worked on "Ignite!," a four-week series of workshops that culminated in the pageantry and street performances that are standard Wise Fool fare. This celebration was a little different, as it was meant to honor the Occupy movement of social protest that has made its way around the world. Though the number of Occupy Santa Fe participants in Railyard Park diminished as brisk fall weather descended into winter’s severe overnight cold temperatures, the spirit of these intrepid individuals morphed into the energies of the group from Wise Fool, who did, indeed, pay them high tribute with their festive procession from Sanbusco to the Park’s Green – our new place in Santa Fe to celebrate and enjoy this special sense of community that seems to be part of Santa Fe’s soul.

This summer, as Wise Fool settles into its summer season at the theater in Peñasco, I will secure a campsite at nearby Santa Barbara Campground to continue enjoying this Santa Fe treasure.

In a pre-cursor to the summer Santa Fe Bandstand, there was music on the Plaza Saturday – lots of it. First there was a lineup by the Santa Fe Youth Symphony, of all of its various ensembles: classical musicians, mariachi, jazz, all part of the Youth Orchestra’s “Playathon,” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As another harbinger of spring and summer, I bumped into David Lescht, the intrepid producer of the Summer Bandstand series. We were both schlepping grant proposals over to the New Mexico Tourism Department seeking support for organizations that we feel are worthy of the state’s support: me the Santa Fe Film Festival and David, of course, the Bandstand. Nobody quite understands how much goes into producing a season in the summer, or any other time of year, for that matter. If it were not for the hard work David does throughout the fall, winter and spring and the support he receives from the community, there would not be a Bandstand to delight us each summer.

Saturday on the Plaza there was another treat, and an unexpected one at that – Polyphony Marimba, an ensemble of young people who were playing their Zimbabwe version of this wonderful instrumental music. The ensemble is a busker organization, the street performer tradition that takes its name from the performers in England. If you have noticed the infusion of music and other performance on our streets in recent years, you should be aware that a lot of hard work went into this, also. Before there was an ordinance to cover buskers in Santa Fe, we were without the lively street entertainers prevalent in so many cities – think London and New York.

Word has it, that the City is looking at the busker situation again. I hope the hard work of many individuals is not rolled back, as these performers add so much to our community. More on this later. It was just wonderful to see and hear Polyphony Marimba in this impromptu concert.