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Sculpting Santa Fe

I have a new favorite U.S. city.

Our plan this year was to visit northern New Mexico, skiing at Taos and Angel Fire. Not enough snow. Seems it all went to the Northeast. So we explored for a week. And Santa Fe won our hearts.

The town is prosperous from all the state government pay checks and art tourism, so it’s clean and upscale – especially the old, Spanish downtown area and Canyon Road’s art hub.

My bride is an artist so we spent two full, crisp, sunny days seeing every possible gallery – with me and my camera happily riding the slipstream. On the first day, we learned that, after New York City, Santa Fe is the biggest art market in the country. But, the two places are polar opposites. In one, it’s “Here, have a little over-priced art with your generous helping of conceit and snarky pretension,” and “Here, let me hover over you, selling like the ShamWow guy on Oxycontin,” while in the other, it’s “How are you today? If I can help, just let me know.” To paraphrase the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof: “May God bless and keep New York – far from me.”

It also helps that in Santa Fe the art is uniformly better. A potential buyer there doesn’t have to wade through layers of deceptive packaging and ahm-bay-aaaahnce surrounding stuff that is truly mediocre but has delusions of grandeur. Or, as they rightly say in the southwest: big hat, no cattle.

So, Santa Fe is the place. We’ll be back there often. Probably not in the summer, but often.

One thing that struck me as a Slipstream Photographer was the range and quality of sculpture outside so many galleries. The climate in Santa Fe is a real boon to folks like me who enjoy seeing larger pieces out doors. And, with Santa Fe as a backdrop, the works are even more photogenic.

From now on, our two main destinations in the desert southwest are Sedona and Santa Fe. If you don’t go anywhere else in the area, I think you will be happy to have visited either.

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