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Posts Tagged ‘Canyon Road’

Beyond the Measure: Artist Alexandra Eldridge

You Must Go By the Way You Know Not, 24×24

I own a piece of Alexandra Eldridge.  A piece of her art, yes, but a piece of the artist as well. It doesn’t entitle me to anything; I can’t hawk it on eBay or take it to dinner. It’s not a byproduct of purchase; it’s available to anyone: to every art tourist who ever tipped her head back to drink in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and was called back to the world by an aching neck. It comes through giving oneself over to the full-court appreciation of a work of art and its creator. And it elevates the value of an artwork from a dollar figure to priceless.

I met Alexandra through my position at a Canyon Road Gallery.  I came to know her through interviewing her in the course of writing publicity for an upcoming show. As we talked in her studio, surrounded by her paintings, drawings, books, quotes and other objects of inspiration, I began to shift from an analytical appreciation of her skills or the surface beauty of her paintings to a relationship with them.  To be honest, when I stepped into her studio that afternoon, I thought her work was too comely for my taste. But then I saw MY painting, with a quote by Carl Jung feathered across its width: Passion that goes beyond the measure of love aims at the mystery of becoming whole.”

That, in a nutshell, is Alexandra.

In work and life, Alexandra goes beyond the measure to find her whole. Although this deeply trained daughter of two artist/writers is perfectly capable of pulling a fast trick on canvas or paper, that’s not her way.  Earlier life experiences, including her years in a community based on the principles of William Blake, have driven her to embrace art as a spiritual discipline, requiring attention, “devotion, a connection to silence and the unknown and the possibilities of visionary experience.”

Alexandra’s work is feminine, lovely, delicate–but it is not pretty.  Every painted piece holds underlayers of process in its depths. Every plump rabbit, voluptuous egg, house, tree, cup or swing is part of a complex iconic vocabulary whose sum offers a wordless challenge to respect what D.H. Lawrence termed “the struggling, battered thing which any human soul is.”

Passion That Goes Beyond, 24" x 24"

Passion That Goes Beyond, 24″ x 24″

I bought that piece, although it was a mighty financial stretch, because it was an intersection of understandings.  It explained Alexandra; it explained me.  It explained that moment in my life.  It was beautiful, with its luminous blues and demanding blacks, and contained that quote which, like every line of Jung’s I’ve ever read, I wasn’t quite sure I grasped, but which stretched me in the grasping.

To learn more about Alexandra’s life and views, read the complete interview by artist Predrag Pajdic. Or, watch the video footage taken by Joshua Maes during our recent studio visit. Alexandra’s work can be viewed locally at Nuart Gallery, on Canyon Road, and Victoria Price Art & Design in Pacheco Park.

The Care & Feeding of Santa Fe’s Creative Class

the Reciprocal Value of Supporting the Local Alt/Indie Creative Scene

Places that succeed in attracting and retaining creative class people prosper; those that fail don’t. –Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class

A thriving music and nightlife scene is critical to attracting and retaining the young, brilliant, awesome people that Santa Fe needs. –After Hours Alliance

Musical Expression, Josh Gallegos

Last Wednesday, Joshua and I sat in on a meeting of the After Hours Alliance (AHA), a volunteer consortium of local music and art promoters dedicated to supporting and sustaining a vibrant, dimensional night scene for the younger set in Santa Fe. Even if you’re neither young, nor interested in the city’s nightlife, here are a few things you should know about the group. AHA supports all-ages access to night time events.  It is dedicated to promoting responsible alcohol consumption at the events it sponsors and has concrete ideas as to how to make this happen (read more on this topic at Activate or Deteriorate).

Its backbone support players are hardworking, resourceful actioneers: people like Shannon Murphy, Dan Werwath, and the folks behind High Mayhem, Meow Wolf, Little Wing, Team Everything and The Process, among others.  All are people who consistently make art and music events happen with or without time, money or a dedicated home.

This weekend, help make Santa Fe a friendly incubator of creative young talent by going where you’ve never gone before: get off the Canyon Road/Santa Fe Plaza art circuit and check out a new venue.  See the list below for alt/indie art and music options worth investigating. Good for you; good for them; good for the city.


This Friday evening, from 4-7 PM, head over to the Railyard Arts District for a double axle delight from Axle Contemporary. If you haven’t seen this marvelously creative mobile gallery, make the detour. Axle Contemporary (the shiny, tricked-out van) will showcase ongoing exhibit, Transmissions.  Axle Annex will be featuring  Sun, Flower, Seed a vehicular installation by Matthew Chase-Daniel.  Transmissions will continue to roll its way around Santa Fe through October 14th, but you have just three days to see Sun, Flower Seed.

Axle Art's Gallery on Wheels

Also on Friday the 24th, from 6-9 PM, for ONE night only, view Conglomerate Perception, at popup gallery, Symphonic Soul, located at 1012 Marquez Place, Unit #108B in Santa Fe (next to Valdez Glass.)  Show features the work of emerging and independent artists Josh Gallegos, Cotton Miller, Mike Rohner, David Hyams, Anne Kelly, Carolyn Wright and Michael Webb. Swing by for food, music and a chance to meet and mingle with artists.

Wish Santa Fe had a better music scene? Then show your support for still young performance and educational space, Little Wing, with a weekend lineup that spans a variety of tastes.

Tomorrow night, check out THE NEXT REVOLUTION Hip Hop Art/Music show presented by TNR Crew with Casuno, DJ Meshak, Galley Cat, DJ Shakedown, Perish and more TBA :::6:30-9pm :::cost TBA

And on Sunday the 26th, don’t miss Pillars & Tongues, Aaron Martin, Secret Spells presented by Red Cell’s, The Process :::8pm $5

Little Wing is located next to the CandyMan, at 851 St. Michael’s Drive. 505.983.5906.


If your musical taste runs avant garde, don’t miss Saturday’s full banquet concert at High Mayhem, 2811 Siler Lane, 505.501.3333  Get an advance-rundown on the show at The Santa Fe Reporter

** Congratulations to Axle Contemporary for today’s write up in the culture section of the New York Times.  “We’re blending the high and the low, the exclusive and the democratic, and taking those boundaries and crossing them,” says Axle’s co-founder Matthew Chase-Daniel of the old Hostess delivery truck — refashioned with track lighting, plastered walls and skylights — that serves as his gallery. Read the full article at Let It Roll: Santa Fe’s Art A Go-Go

I loved hearing the NYT refer to Santa Fe’s art scene as “robust,” referencing last year’s piece, The Art of Being Santa Fe.  There are certainly many working to make the Santa Fe art world ever more broad and vigorous.

Santa Fe Neighborhood Quick Sketch: Acequia Madre

The very phrase Acequia Madre–Mother Ditch–suggests something rough and elemental: a primordial slash in the earth from which life springs.  Yet Acequia Madre is one of the priciest streets in Santa Fe.  But then that’s Santa Fe, where mud homes on dirt roads are prime real estate. A few minutes’ stroll will convince you of the neighborhood’s charm. Softly curved walls, aged Mexican doors with weathered paint, cascades of wisteria and drowsy willows: this road that run along the eponymous  waterway—and parallels famed Canyon Road– is iconic Eastside Santa Fe.  Romantic and time bound.

Acequias have an extensive and proud history in New Mexico. Check out the website for the New Mexico Acequia Association to learn more about this cooperative tradition of water use. Area residents, and other lovers of the nationally registered historic Mother Ditch, gather each year to dredge out natural and civilization-generated debris.  The New Mexican’s article, Annual Acequia Madre cleaning celebrates four centuries tells the story of the 2010 Spring clean.

The neighborhood school, Acequia Madre Elementary,  has a reputation for solid academics, good teachers and strong parent involvement. Read up on Acequia Madre at Due to Santa Fe Public School budget cuts, however, Acequia Madre is slated to be closed and its students relocated to nearby Atalaya Elementary. Read the Santa Fe New Mexican story at Board Approves Consolidation Plan; Acequia Madre Gets One Year Reprieve

While I depend on the websites for quality, statistic-based info on city neighborhoods, their classification of the Acequia Madre neighborhood is a head scratcher. According to City-Data, Gonzales marks the western boundary of the Acequie [sic] Madre neighborhood, Cerro Gordo, the northern, and Alameda, the southern.  The eastern boundary might be Camino Pequeno, but is unclearly defined. Acequia Madre itself falls partly in the so-called Historic neighborhood , partly in Los Vecinos de Calle San Antonio

To my mind, the neighborhood runs the length of Acequia Madre from Paseo de Peralta to Camino del Monte Sol.  Streets that spur off Acequia Madre are, in some cases, their own communities.  More on those in another post.

The largest cluster of amenities near the neighborhood are found in the small complex of businesses at the intersection of Garcia, Acequia Madre and Arroyo Tenorio.  Downtown Subscription the local coffee hangout, sits between the excellent Photo-Eye Bookstore and Gallery and the intelligently stocked independent bookstore, Garcia Street Books.  We have found incredible treasures browsing their shelves and tables of these two bastions of local culture.  Read the Garcia Street Books Newsletter for word on booksignings and benefit events. Visit the Photo-Eye website for info on new arrivals, auctions, gallery shows and more.

Years ago, I traded my plant knowledge and landscaping labor for voice lessons from a woman who coached opera singers and hopefuls and whose husband had been Dean and a tutor at St. John’s College.  That experiential cluster of garden, song and education remains for me a fair poetic representation of the spirit of the Acequia Madre neighborhood.

Liquid Luxury = Solid Satisfaction at Downtown Santa Fe Chocolatier

Step through the doors of  Kakawa Chocolate House and the smell of chocolate is thick, voluptuous, almost musky.  The downtown shop is tiny–just one room with an alcove–but with a charm both potent and engaging.  A tiny kiva, Tibetan prayer flags and exhibits by local artists add color and warmth to the cosy rooms. The register is flanked by two cases of handmade chocolate creations, mostly hand-rolled truffles–all made in house.  But what has us returning time and again is the elixirs. These liquid creations are complex, intoxicating, more like wine than desert.  Staff will cheerfully dispense small samples to try. Find a favorite, but use these tasting opportunities to expand your knowledge.  Kakawa offers a changing repetoire of historic brews drawn from traditional Pre-Colombian, Mesoamerican Mayan Aztec, Colonial American, 1600’s European and Colonial Mexican sources–all ancient, authentic recipes from 1000 BC to the mid-1900’s AD.

Theobroma cacao, the botanical source of the chocolate bean, is indigenous to Mexico and Central America, where it has been consumed for millennia.  The name Theobroma, ‘food of the gods’ reflects the Aztecs’ view that chocolate was a hallowed substance, although there is no evidence that Linneaus, who named Theobroma, had any knowledge of the Aztecs’ perspective. To Linneaus, chocolate was simply a heavenly treat.  For the Mesoamericans, it was a sacred drink: a portal to health and wisdom, an extraordinary restorative, an aphrodisiac.

Kakawa offers two categories of drinking chocolates. Those from Mesoamerican are water based and sweetened lightly with honey and agave syrup.  Their rich flavors derive from herbs, flowers, nuts, and spices. The European brews are a bit sweeter and often creamier, making light use of ingredients such as evaporated cane sugar, and almond milk.  Recipes may be mildly spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, almonds and orange water, or exotically perfumed with jasmine, lavender, citrus and rose. They have none of the candy-sweetness of  Swiss Miss, but play over your tongue with the nuance-cluster of fine wine.

Elixirs are available to go, in round wafers or packaged with the shop’s signature blue pottery: an affordable, sense-satisfying gift.  Wafers are also sold, sans cup and saucer, in packages of three, each of which makes a 6 oz. demitasse drink. Kakawa also offers a brilliantly imaginative selection of truffles, with flavors like Ginger Limoncello, Mescal, Chile and Wine, and the unforgettably-named “Aphrodite’s Nipples” as well as flour-free and gluten free brownies and chocolate cake.

Kakawa’s atmosphere and savory products have the intimacy and integrity of hand-honed crafts, and owner Peter Woods is committed to keeping it that way. Yet, with its proximity to Canyon Road, the Plaza, and the South Capitol Roundhouse and a new website in the works, Kakawa is poised for prime time. Go now. Kakawa is unique, welcoming, laid-back, rich in tradition, and sensually alluring–just like Santa Fe itself.

Kakawa Chocolate House • 1050 E. Paseo de Peralta • Santa Fe, NM 87501
Tel: 505-982-0388 • Email: • Hours: Mon-Thu 10-6, Fri-Sat 10-8, Sun 12-6.


CONGRATULATIONS! Kakawa got a shoutout in the December, 2010 issue of Delta Sky Magazine. In the spread entitled “Extreme Winter,” the editors and celebrity snowboarder Shaun White choose 32 Things to Do when the temps hit 32˚.  Pick #28 —Best Hot Chocolate— lands Kakawa on the short list with respected chocolatiers Jacques Torres, L.A. Burdick and the Angelina Tea Room in Paris. While I wouldn’t describe Kakawa’s dense, nuanced elixirs as “pudding in a cup,” I’ll let it pass if it lures newcomers to try our favorite local purveyor of liquid delight.


Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent talents. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale. For up-to-date market info and full access to the MLS, visit: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

Christmas Eve on Santa Fe’s Canyon Road

The cold was frightful.  Snow and ice covered much of the ground.  But those who braved Nature’s buffets for the annual Christmas Eve walk on Canyon Road in Santa Fe reaped the rewards of a sweet, community ritual that defines the winter holiday for many in the City Different. Tradition reports that luminarias, the little bonfires that dot the walking paths, were originally set out to guide people to Mass; farolitos, the small bags of sand and votive candles, lined the way for Christ’s arrival. Today, these symbols define a spectacle of light and fire that draws thousands of locals and tourists alike to the Santa Fe’s historic eastside.

Some galleries offer cider, hot chocolate and biscochitos.  In recent years, stands have sprung up selling hot drinks. Or for the price of a song, sidle up to the carolers clustered around a luminaria.  No matter the cold, I’ve never found a group to exclude a frosty newcomer.

If you missed this year’s ritual, mark your calendars for 2010.  The farolito walk is one of the many reasons why Santa Fe made’s Top Ten Destinations for Christmas Vacation

Santa Fe Art Scene: Substance over Style

"Suppertime"-Mark Frossard

"Suppertime"-Mark Frossard

Sure, Santa Fe was crowned a UNESCO Creative City in 2005 (for folk art and design) and has apparent squatter’s right in the Small Cities category of American Style’s annual poll on the top 25 arts destinations.  We’re known for the Canyon Road art galleries, the opera, Indian Market, Spanish Market and most recently, the International Folk Art Market. We’ve got SOFA, SITE Santa Fe, The Santa Fe Film Festival, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, not to mention the smorgasbord of dance, music, performance and film laid out at The Lensic.  Photographers flock here for the light, the galleries and the excellent workshops.  “In no other state of this union is the trend of life so clearly shaped by art as in New Mexico.” Edgar Lee Hewett, first director of the Museum of New Mexico, said this 100 years ago, and it may still be true.  But to my mind, the real measure of our civic creativity lies not in our institutions, but in our individual creative drive, the ingenuity and I’m-an-artist-if-I-say-so moxie of the denizens of the City Different.

You’ll find plenty to do just by checking out the Santa Fe Arts and Culture Calendar, the website for the Santa Fe Gallery Association, the Pasatiempo calendar , or the SFR Picks page in the Arts and Culture section of the Santa Fe Reporter. But to tap the depths of Santa Fe’s creative soul,  take a chance on something new. There’s a goldsteam of cultural riches that ride under the radar of many visitors and residents.

Tonight, October 30th, from 5-9 PM,  Meow Wolf, a collective of multimedia artists who pool their talents to create dynamic, “must see”, installation events, has an opening for “GEODEcedant” at their home on Second Street.  Also on Second Street, from 6-9 PM, is the opening for “Inner Demons” at Ahalenia Studios.  On Saturday night, starting at 5 PM, Baca Street Studios is having a Halloween Party, featuring the music of Sean Helean, the grand opening of Erika Wanenmacher‘s Ditch Witch Store, “fire dancers, and other spectacular wonders.”

"Chicano on Alto St"-Carlo Armendariz

"Chicano on Alto St"-Carlo Armendariz

People sometimes lament Santa Fe’s limits.  The music scene has seen its ebbs and swells and more than one fine musical venue has washed out on a mysterious tide.  But while one kid complains of a lack of toys, another kid builds castles in the sand. Like Meow Wolf, local alt curator Red Cell, is working “to bring audience and artists together in a unique way” through his non-profit group, The Process, which pulls together a distinct mix of music, art, film, spoken word and performance art.

I’ll close with a shameless plug for a few of our favorite indie and up-and-coming arts: Mark Frossard (artist and blogger) showing in downtown Santa Fe at 111 East Santa Fe Ave., sculptor Laird Hovland, photographer and musician Carlo Armendariz, photographer Jonathan Tercero, whose work currently hangs at Java Joe’s DeVargas location, and Michael Tait Tafoya (playing tonight, and most Fridays, at Vino del Corazon at the corner of Alameda and Don Gaspar).  This weekend, step out of the mainstream and treat yourself to something different in the City Different.


Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent talents. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale. For up-to-date market info and full access to the MLS, visit: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

See and Be Scene

Untitled Mural--Todd Scalise

‘The Armageddon Super Meal’ or ‘Google Boogle’,
9ft. x 12ft., enamel on canvas, 2009–Todd Scalise

A little over a year ago, my business partner and I held our first art opening at our listing at 123 West Santa Fe Avenue.  We knew a few artists without gallery representation in Santa Fe; I’d been the co-director of a contemporary art gallery in Santa Fe; we had open walls and a killer location–made sense.  We decided to give 100% of the proceeds of any sale to the artists themselves: a gift through which we have gained immeasurably.

Since our first show, we have held three more events, showcased the work of 17 artists in total, and are proud to report a total of seven sales.  Over 100 people have seen the listings who might not otherwise have known they existed.  And we’ve met scores of terrific, creative talents.

Take Mark Frossard, a painter who stopped by to see  Phillip Vigil’s drawings and will be featured in our upcoming show.  Mark’s soothing southwestern palette and cartoon-like representations  belie their emotional power.

Or Keiko Ohnuma, also in the upcoming show, who described her style as “elevated kitch” and said that  she was finding that she was even less well-understood here than in Honolulu.  I confess I was a bit taken aback when I opened the first jpeg.  But it didn’t take long to decide that was exactly why we should give her a venue.  Not every piece needs to challenge the viewer, but challenge is definitely an important aspect of art.

Then there’s Todd Scalise: painter, designer, textile artist, muralist, and more whom we met, again, through artist and social media’s man-about-town, Phillip Vigil.  Todd has terrific ideas for public art in Santa Fe and is looking for a wall to paint.  Driven by the look of his latest piece, and excited by the possibilities, we are working to find him a wall.

Todd graces every visitor to his studio with the opportunity to select a drawing to take home.  Four of us stood over a pile of drawings like a pack of kids eyeing the Halloween basket. With art, you don’t just acquire a pretty or interesting thing; you connect with the creator.  As artist and gallery owner, Anthony Corso recently shared on his FB Wall,

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Buy a piece of art, and get a side of soul.


As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m not entirely sure what I am doing, but I am absolutely positive it’s the right thing to do.  Santa Fe ranks among the top three art markets in the country with over 300 galleries that enjoy enviable walk-in traffic.  Yet there are holes in the Santa Fe art scene.  With rents so high, gallery owners are often forced to choose art that will sell and sell for the highest price over showcasing a emerging talent or mid-career artist in flux.  Many a fine painter, sculptor or photographer lacks a regular venue. I’ve also heard artists and art brokers alike complaining about the lack of dynamism, risk and interplay on the local scene.  Yet the talent is there as Meow Wolf, the former Bang Gallery, and scads of individual creatives attest.

As a REALTOR involved in the sale and purchase of homes, I feel a duty to support and enrich my community, indeed, to do my part to build the healthiest, happiest most economically and socially vibrant community I can. Showcasing art is one way I choose to do it.  Some may see these realms as unmixable.  But I look for common ground. Artists want an audience for their art. People selling property similarly want people to come see it. Putting art into homes puts a simultaneous spotlight on both.

On June 26th, take the opportunity to see and be seen at one of the hottest, new, whatever-it-is-art events in the city: Changing Gallery’s latest show at the Bella Donna– our listings and ad hoc galleries at 111 East Santa Fe Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Alt gallery  PennBrick will be beaming its brilliance from a garage a block away. Bundobeats will be spinning the tunes.

Are you an artist looking for a place to show?  Introduce yourself.  No promises, but let’s connect.  Are you a homeowner wanting to list and find a novel way to get buyers to see your home in a market chock-a-block with listings?  Let us put our experience to work for you.  Or are you new to town, interested in unearthing the richness Santa Fe has to offer? Stop by the Bella Donna, give us a little time and attention. The return on your investment might surprise you.

Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their real estate listings, where appropriate, to showcase the work of emerging and independent artists.  Their current location is the Bella Donna, nine beautifully restored condominiums located on East Santa Fe Avenue, just one block from the State Capitol. Check out our website at

“Generations”–New Exhibit at SF Community Convention Center

Once, as I purchased a writing book by a fellow named Peter Elbow, the literary savant at the till told me that such a name showed the author hailed from a family of writers (elbow?)  Names have, at times, pointed to the family profession: thus, Coopers were barrel makers; Schiavo, slaves. In the show, Generations, which opened this past Friday at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, names are no indication of professional aptitude or family affiliation, but the theory that creative talent is an abiding and binding family tradition is at the exhibit’s heart.

Participants ranged from well-known (the late Alan Houser) to the emerging, and worked in a vast variety of media, including photography, sculpture, jewelry, oil, straw applique, and more.  Opening the field to such variety gave the show dimension and provided for interesting juxtapositions. Standouts included a contemporary, mixed media piece by Seth Anderson (Lines 08-201), an edgy urban photograph by Sam Haozous (Industrial Landscape, #3); an oil by Hal West with the patina and feel of a 17th Century Dutch Landscape Painting, unique, modern jewelry by David Gaussoin, and an award-winning Trastero by Spanish Market artist Victor Archuleta.

The show runs from January 9th through March 6th.  Check it out.

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