Today was quite a change of pace for our group, as we traveled to downtown Santa Fe in a leisurely manner as opposed to hustling due to being confined to a tight schedule. Upon arriving in the center of downtown Santa Fe, we were given a few hours of free time to explore the city on our own. This freedom to explore based on our own curiosity allowed every student to formulate a unique connection to Santa Fe and Southwestern culture; hence, the following account reflects my personal experience.
The first thing that struck me about Santa Fe was the seamless architectural style of the city. Every building was designed to appear like an aged pueblo and the buildings on every block were connected to one another, creating an open, communal atmosphere. The colors were also exceptional, as shades of turquoise, red and burnt orange were visible throughout the city from Native American pottery and paintings to handcrafted clothing and jewelry. Taylor, Samantha and I spent the majority of our time strolling through various shops and art galleries, gaining a new appreciation for New Mexican art while purchasing momentous and gifts for our families. Some of the most unique items we came across were being sold by Native Americans who displayed their crafts out on the plaza.
After shopping and soaking in our surroundings, we decided to grab a picnic lunch and ate out on the grassy plaza. Here, we listened to live music and watched tango dancers as we chatted with a few of the locals—some of which were Navajos. Though the purpose of today’s activities was geared toward enhancing our understanding of Southwestern art, we did view a couple of sites with historical significance—among which was the first church and first house of the Americas.
Following our adventure in Santa Fe, we traveled a few miles from downtown to the village of Tesuque to visit the Shidoni Gallery. Shidoni is one of the top fine art foundries in the United States, serving as an excellent resource for sculptors, painters and glass bowlers to showcase their work. I found it intriguing to view the Shidoni galleries and sculpture gardens as I read the titles and tried to connect with the artist’s inspiration to create their work. We also had the privilege of watching artists in the act of blowing glass which I found particularly interesting because I have always admired this art.
Once everyone had toured Shidoni, we loaded into the van and traveled to Bob Cat Bite where we were treated to a delicious, nationally acclaimed burger. After our bellies were full and our brains were buzzing with new insight, we returned to the hotel for the night.