The clear quality of the light in the Southwest, especially in its dramatic desert landscapes, has long drawn artists and photographers here. Among the best known are the Taos Society of Artists and Georgia O’Keeffe, who settled at Abiquiu. Santa Fe is one of the country’s leading art centers.
t The Heard Museum’s impressive collection of kachina dolls
The Heard Museum in Phoenix has the finest collection of Native American arts and crafts in the Southwest, including kachina dolls, pottery, textiles, silver pieces, and fine art. Its shop sells a large range of Native American arts and crafts. In Santa Fe, you can see an impressive selection of works by today’s Native American artists at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.
Traditional Western art, from the lively paintings of William Robinson Leigh to the intricate work of Frederic Remington, is complemented by exciting contemporary artists at the Tucson Museum of Art or the Amerind Foundation’s Fulton-Hayden Memorial Art Gallery. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum hosts some of her best-loved works.
A half-hour drive from the Mexican border, the little town of Tubac is a thriving art colony whose streets are lined with galleries and studios that showcase the vibrantly colored artworks of Southern Arizona and northern Mexico. The Tubac Center of the Arts hosts constantly changing exhibitions and hands-on workshops by local artists.
The Hispanic art created by both Spanish settlers and Mexican immigrants is a potent part of the Southwest’s rich arts scene. Santa Fe’s annual Spanish Market (www.spanishcolonial.org), held over the last weekend of July on the historic Santa Fe Plaza, showcases Hispanic art, with opportunities to buy. Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza also has galleries displaying Hispanic art.
Canyon Road in Santa Fe’s historic district is a half-mile (0.8 km) of art heaven. Contemporary, traditional, and Native American fine art galleries, often set in historic adobe buildings, display paintings, sculptures, rugs, glassworks, folk art, and more. Art lovers will find the colorful contemporary collections particularly inspiring.
Located in Taos this is New Mexico’s second-oldest gallery (after the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. It features works by original members of the Taos Society of Artists and by contemporary local artists.