Of course, art festivals are the mainstage event in July and August, including the year’s splashiest. The tony Art Santa Fe is celebrating its 14th year of showcasing fine contemporary art from around the world (July 10-13). While there, check out the quirky new Art-o-Mart vending machine, one in a series of old cigarette machines converted to dispense miniature works of art. Objects of Art Santa Fe celebrates its fifth anniversary (Aug. 15-17) exhibiting an array of art objects from around the world , with an opening night gala Aug. 14.
Santa Fe’s International Folk Art Market (July 11-13) is the world’s largest, with 150 artists from 60 countries turning Museum Hill into a colorful international bazaar, complete with food, music, performances, demonstrations, and general festivity for all ages. The opening-night party is sold out, but you can still beat the crowds by showing up for the Early Bird Market on Saturday.
The unique Hispanic folk art tradition of New Mexico has its biggest show of the year at the 63rd annual Spanish Market (July 25-27), alongside the newer contemporary market taking over the downtown Plaza area.
The grandmama of them all is the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, which opens its 93rd year with a preview show Aug. 22 and a live-auction dinner and gala on Saturday, right here at La Fonda! If you’re a collector, the auction will offer an opportunity to grab one-of-a-kind pieces from market artists. And if you’re a newbie, be prepared to witness more than 175,000 people celebrating the City Different as a crossroads of Native culture. Collectors who get to town early come for the Whitehawk Antique Indian & Ethnographic At Show (Aug 16-18), with more than 150 dealers and a gala preview on Aug. 15. Right on its heels comes the new Antique American Indian Art Show (Aug. 20-21), with an opening Aug. 19.
Maybe it’s not festivals you’re after, but a quiet encounter with the visually sublime. Art-lovers often make the pilgrimage to Santa Fe, only to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of art galleries within its square-mile downtown. The weekly Pasatiempo supplement to the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper and free weekly Santa Fe Reporter list exhibition openings and closings, which provides an entry point into the vast world of Santa Fe’s private galleries. In general, if it’s traditional representational art you’re after, the best introduction is to wander the galleries on Canyon Road. For contemporary art, The Railyard District may be a better bet, though contemporary galleries are sprinkled around town. Start by visiting David Richard Gallery, Charlotte Jackson, Evoke Contemporary, LewAllen Galleries, Turner-Carroll, and Zane Bennett Contemporary Art for a sample—as well as SITE Santa Fe, of course. Lovers of fine craft might want to check out Blue Rain, Patina Gallery, and Tansey Contemporary. Friday nights are a good time to wander both Canyon Road and The Railyard in search of opening receptions, especially the last Friday of the month, when many galleries stay open into the evening.
The best thing about summer music in Santa Fe is how much of it is free! The Santa Fe Bandstand has a program of concerts in the Plaza most nights through the end of August, for a total of 100 shows including New Mexico Music Award winners Faith Amour (Aug 11), Zenobia (Aug 16), Andrew MacLauchlan (Aug 27), and Tiho Dimitrov (July 17)—a talented architect as well who worked on the Jenny and Robert Kimball residence. Free jazz concerts take place under the stars at St. John College as part of the Music on the Hill series (July 9, 16, 23), with picnicking encouraged and food vendors on site. At the Railyard, free movies screen every other Friday night, just after sunset, along with free concerts. Follow them on Facebook for updates on what’s showing.
The NM Jazz Festival splits shows between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the former including Bumble Bee’s Jazz All Stars (July 20), Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project (July 25), and NEA Jazz Master Jack De Johnette with Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garison (July 26).
In classical music, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (Aug. 16-25) has a program of Schubert and Brahms; the Santa Fe Desert Chorale opens its summer 2014 season with The New World: Music of the Americas (July 10, 19, 25) followed by Spanish Mystics (July 17, 20, 24,29) and a Romantic Evening with Brahms (July 22, 26, 31). And the Santa Fe Opera has five programs in rotation through the end of August: the classic Carmen, Italian romantic comedy Don Pasquale, Beethoven’s sole opera Fidelio, a double billing of Mozart’s The Impresario and Stravinsky’s one-act Le Rossignol, and the historical Dr. Sun Yat-Sen.
Contemporary national acts coming to town include Ray La Montagne (Aug 5), The Hold Steady (Aug 6), and Lake Street Dive (Aug 10), presented by Heath Concerts.
In dance, the revamped Performance Santa Fe (formerly Santa Fe Concert Association) presents the Stars of American Ballet, featuring principals from the NYC Ballet and American Ballet Theatre (Aug. 13-14). And Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents the authentic world of Flamenco with Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe at Lensic Performing Arts (July 18, 27, Aug. 3, 9).
Out & about
Relive Territorial Days in the Wild West (Aug. 2-3) at El Rancho de las Golondrinas living history museum, which celebrates summer with demonstrations of the unique Peruvian Paso horses. Then practice your frontier survival skills as you learn to start fires, build shelters, and hunt with bow and arrow (Aug 16-17).
Lovers of all things Greek may be surprised to shout “Opa!” in Santa Fe at the annual Greek Festival (July 12-13), with food, music, and dancing.