Art in northern New Mexico is a genre unto itself. For literally centuries, the area has been home to artists across multiple cultures, working in multiple mediums. Few have been lucky enough to get an inside look at the creative endeavors practiced there. Now we’ve been given a chance to do just that, when the artist collective working along New Mexico’s famed Turquoise Trail open their studios to the public for two big weekends. The second annual Turquoise Trail Studio Tour takes place along NM Highway 14, historically known as the Scenic Byway, September 17, 18, 24 & 25, 2022.
The Turquoise Trail Studio Tour made its debut in 2021 welcoming guests to the free, self-guided exhibition of artists-at-work. The Studio Tour is an exclusive opportunity for visitors to meet many gifted creators in their natural habitat and purchase artwork directly from them. The tour, featuring a total of 38 studios and 45 artists, extends 65 miles from Santa Fe to Cedar Crest, New Mexico, traveling through the colorful towns of Cerrillos, Madrid, and Sandia Park.
Other tours have been offered in the area over the past 20 years or so, including the Madrid Studio Tour and the Cerillos Studio Tour, but this is the first time that all of the artists, in all of the towns along the historic trail are involved. Jennifer Box, co-owner along with her husband Kevin, of Origami In The Garden, acts as organizer of the event this year. There are no official numbers from last year’s event, but having been involved, she counts it a great success.
“We don’t have a total number from last year, but I do know we ended up getting visitors from over 15 states, along with some international folks,” she says. “Personally, it was our best tour ever. We saw around 200 people a day. One artist, Melinda Hoffman, only saw maybe 13 people a day, but six of them purchased, so she was over the moon. On average, we figure most of our artists saw maybe 30 to 50 a day.”
A Unique Opportunity
Early fall is considered New Mexico’s best: warm days, cool nights, and stunning sunrises and sunsets. This portion of the Turquoise Trail is arguably the most beautiful section of this historic trade route between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The tour winds through several mountain ranges, originally Native pueblo lands, and home to early mining efforts dating back to the 1800s. It presents an opportunity to see why artists such as Georgia O’Keefe, Allan Houser, and Jesus Morales were drawn to the area.
“This tour is all about the drive,” Jennifer says. “From Santa Fe to Cedar Crest is just a beautiful drive, with lots of gorgeous open spaces, and these little towns along the way. The uniqueness of this tour is it’s along the entire trail. Occasionally you really get to go off the beaten path to see some of these studios, which are in some of the most beautiful scenic areas you didn’t even know existed.”
Today’s artists continue to honor the area’s long history of creativity and appreciation for the land. Many will be offering demonstrations and hands-on activities for the guests. Visitors can observe the creation of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, jewelry and more, including very large-scale outdoor art.
Best of all, according to Jennifer, “You also get to see the artists in their natural habitats. Our artists live and breathe art all the time, so their spaces are made from recycled material, or use repurposed articles in different ways, and their living spaces are uniquely decorated. It’s a true experience. When you go to a museum or gallery, you see art hanging on walls, but here, you get to see not only where the art was created, but also, hopefully, have a conversation with the artists about their work. It’s a plus to see them in their natural habitats and learn more about their art while you’re at it.”
Get out and enjoy the one-of-a-kind art and stunning landscapes that our Land of Enchantment has to offer. For more information, including a map, a full list of participating artists, and suggestions for places to eat, shop and visit during your tour, check out the website.This article was posted by David Salcido