La Fonda is incredibly fortunate to have so many people who love our hotel, our history and our art as much as we do. We now have a wonderful group of docents who give free tours of our art collection on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:30am. Sandra Smith is one of our docents and we thought it would be fun to have her answer our ten questions as part of our Interview from the Plaza Series with the Who’s Who of Santa Fe.
Q: Why did you decide to become a docent at La Fonda?
A: I seriously considered a major in ancient history, my favorite college course was art history and I was the first to document my family genealogy. A passion for art + history + culture came early in my life, and I can incorporate all three elements in our La Fonda tours.
Q: What’s your favorite piece of art in La Fonda’s collection?
A: Too many to count! Ernesto Martinez’ tempera-painted window panes, Gerald Cassidy’s “Navajo” and “Shalako,” every work by Shonto Begay that illustrates his magic with light and the master tinsmiths who crafted the chandeliers in the Lumpkins Ballroom.
Q: What’s the most common question/questions you hear from participants on the tour?
A: May I take photos? (The answer is, yes.)
Q: Besides La Plazuela, of course, what is the one restaurant not to miss on a visit to Santa Fe?
A: Like thousands of other locals and visitors, I have to say The Shed, but The Cowgirl and Andiamo’s are close behind.
Q: Besides our own tour, what’s the one art-related site not to be missed in Santa Fe?
A: The NM History Museum/Palace of the Governors captures our history so well, in both the Palace itself and the permanent exhibit in the History Museum. Either is a wonderful complement to our La Fonda tours. Other museums, including the NM Art Museum, International Folk Art Museum, Wheelwright Museum and Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, among others, also offer thought-provoking tours on different aspects of our rich heritage. And, don’t forget a self-guided stroll along the Canyon Road art galleries.
Q: Favorite living artist in Santa Fe?
A: Randy Chitto (Choctaw) is a fabulous clay artist whose smiling koshares and prancing bears are delightful. I also like Sallyann Paschall’s (Cherokee) works in encaustic. Both artists exhibit regularly at Indian Market and have studios here.
Q: If you chose to live somewhere other than Santa Fe, where would it be and why?
A: Durstein, Austria, maybe. It is a gorgeous, baroque-festooned small town that is perched above the Danube River near Vienna, with numerous family-owned vineyards nearby.
Q: What’s one thing you would change about Santa Fe and what’s one thing you wouldn’t change?
A: There are many things I would not change. I WOULD change two things: Provide every child with a nurturing home environment, adequate nutrition and a good education; and, make sure every pet and animal has a caring forever home. Oops, three: A decent amount of precipitation year-round.
Q: What most defines Santa Fe as The City Different?
A: Attending any festival or celebration at a Pueblo, watching people dance on the Plaza in the summer during the Bandstand Series and indulging in red or green chile. Sitting on the Plaza any day and simply watching passers-by works, too.
Q: What one fashion trend do you wish would never go out of style?
A: Cowboy boots and lots of authentic Southwest jewelry. Worn at the same time, of course.