Why looking at art is an awesome team building activity

As a museum educator, I’ve long observed people build connections and community by discussing art together. It’s one the reasons I love doing what I do! But to many, the benefits of spending time with art are less obvious. I get it: art can be oblique, inaccessible, and even intimidating. And if you’ve never learned how to actively look at art, it might even seem boring. Believe it or not, enjoying art can actually be a lot more dynamic and memorable than you might think – and it's a fun way to learn, share, and encourage critical thinking.

Here are five reasons looking at art is a great team-building activity.

1. It gets the conversation flowing

Put a group of people in front of a compelling work of art – ideally with an encouraging guide – and it won’t be long before they start to get chatty. 

Most of us like to look at things. We like to be visually stimulated. And we enjoy talking about our personal connections with the world around us. 

I love teaching with art because something really cool happens when people discuss an object that they’re looking at together. First, abstract concepts become more accessible when they’re connected to something concrete and visible. And second, the shared process of making sense of something – or “meaning making” – is powerful and creates bonds between people.

People love talking about – and taking selfies with – a digital artwork by Daniel Rozin

2. It helps us to learn about each other  

Art is open to interpretation – so talking about it is a great way to learn about your friends and colleagues.

Every person who looks at a work of art brings their own experiences, personal histories, and prior knowledge to it. Naturally, this influences their understanding of a work of art. By sharing these interpretations, we discover new perspectives and hidden meanings.

What you say about a work of art, or what you see in it, says so much about you. It’s a great way to learn more about others and how they understand the world.

3. It helps us to develop important skills

A work of art often communicates a narrative, message, or feeling that is encoded in its visual details, from shapes and figures to textures and colors. The process of deciphering information in the form of an image is described as “visual literacy.” 

By identifying and interpreting visual clues, you draw upon prior knowledge, personal experience, and critical thinking skills such as observation, analysis, and interpretation. These skills are transferable to other professional fields, and practicing them can improve performance. 

In fact, studies have shown that medical students who participated in an art education program showed improved clinical observation skills.

"The skills I learned studying fine arts in college are invaluable to me now as a physician,” said Jaclyn Gurwin, MD, the lead author of the most recent of these studies.

“I saw the impact art education had on my approach to medicine, and I wanted to recreate that experience for others in the field," said Gurwin. "The results of this study are incredibly encouraging, showing that art observation training can improve medical and ophthalmological observational skills. We hope that the improved observational abilities from this training will translate to improved clinical effectiveness, empathy and, ultimately, will make better physicians."

Our guide Claire sharing a method for looking closely at work by Emmi Whitehorse

4. It makes people happy

I love the feeling of enjoying something visually compelling, and I always thought that this was just part of being an art nerd. It turns out, though, that there's something else going on.

Neurobiologist Semir Zeki found that looking at art triggers the production of the feel-good chemical dopamine in the orbital-frontal cortex of the brain. That’s the same part of the brain that lights up when you fall in love.

"There have been very significant new advances in our understanding of what happens in our brains when we look at works of art," said Zeki. "We have recently found that when we look at things we consider to be beautiful, there is increased activity in the pleasure reward centers of the brain. Essentially, the feel-good centers are stimulated, similar to the states of love and desire.”

How cool is that? If spending a few moments looking at a work of art can boost your mood, imagine what can happen when you really delve into a work of art with friends and colleagues.

5. It’s not your typical team building activity

Over 30 percent of employees dislike team building activities. Why? Some activities may be alienating, while others feel more competitive than collaborative. To boot, the takeaway of team building activity may not obvious, so it feels like a waste of time.

But visiting a unique museum or gallery and looking at art in a new way? It’s intellectually stimulating, it encourages skill building, and it promotes teamwork without forcing ropes courses (not all of us are athletically gifted) or trust falls. Pretty much everyone can enjoy a work of art – even those who are visually impaired. (We can incorporate sculpture that can be touched on our tours, for example.)

Having a deeper experience with a work of art is unexpected – many people don’t think they’ll get much from it, and they’re pleasantly surprised when they do. They also feel elated to have gained new perspective and deeper insight into art, themselves, and their colleagues. 

It’s that shared sense of discovering something new together that really makes something unforgettable. 

Visiting local artist David Rothermel with an awesome corporate group. Photo by Robert Wolcott.

Ready to experience it yourself?

The art experience I’ve described above doesn’t just magically happen. The quality of the conversation often depends on a skilled facilitator who is comfortable encouraging ideas and nurturing the group dynamic.

Thanks to years of experience in museum education, we’ve developed methods and activities that help people feel more comfortable engaging with art. Once people get going, they love it! 

If you’re coming to Santa Fe for a retreat, conference, or workshop, we’d love to schedule a team-building tour for your group.

Gift guide for art lovers

Ah, gift giving: it’s one of those things that’s wonderfully fun when you have a great gift in mind, but a bit anxiety inducing when you’re stumped. 

Well, if you have an art enthusiast in your life, you're in luck, because this guide rounds up several gifts that he or she will love. 

Of course, an original work of art is always a wonderful gift, but because choosing art is so personal, I’ve decided to compiled a list of gifts that support (or proclaim!) your art lover’s appreciation for the visual world but that don't rely so heavily on personal taste.

Whether you’re shopping for an artist, an art history student, a creative parent, an avid museum lover, or an art enthusiast in general, you’re bound to find something in our gift guide the lucky recipient will love. You can click on the images to purchase most of these items on Amazon. Convenient!

 

Awesome art books

Books always make great gifts – especially if you inscribe the front cover with a personal message. There are so many interesting and beautiful books about art out there that it’s almost impossible to provide a short list of suggestions, but here are just a few to get you started. The art enthusiast you're shopping for might already have a library full of gorgeous books on their favorite artist or movement, so the titles here are a bit more general – and a bit unique.

Art as Therapy

Complete with gorgeous color images, Art as Therapy explores the various ways that we might understand a work of art. The authors, philosopher Alain de Botton and art historian John Armstrong, propose new ways of looking at familiar masterpieces and suggest that they might be personally relevant – and even therapeutic – for their viewers.

 
$27.88
 

How to Talk to Children About Art

How to Talk to Children About Art is a great resource for parents and teachers who want to encourage an appreciation of art in their children or students. Each chapter covers a different age group and provides examples of discussions that you might have with kids while looking at particular paintings. 

 
 

The Rape of Europa

For the art nerd who is also a history buff. The subject of this book is a little heavy, but it’s fascinating stuff. In The Rape of Europa, Lynn Nicholas details the Third Reich's war on European culture and the Allies' efforts to preserve it. I appreciate this book (and the eponymous documentary) because it skillfully demonstrates the power and importance of visual culture. If you've seen the movie The Monuments Men, this is the real story.

 
$16.29
 

 

Nerdy art shirts

Not everyone is on board with graphic tees, but I learned to love them while living in Europe. It seems like everyone has several good ones over there. There are tons out there, but I love these three. A couple are pretty clever and the references are maybe a bit obscure – something that only other art nerds will "get."

$19.99
$15.99
$19.95

 

Museum membership

If the art lover in your life is also an enthusiastic museum goer, you might look into purchasing him or her a museum membership. This is such a great option because it not only provides unlimited museum access to the recipient – it also helps to support the museum of your choosing. This is also a wonderful gift for parents, as museums can provide endless entertainment for children. (Seriously, museums don’t have to be boring! But more on that another time.) Some of my earliest and most vivid memories are from museum visits with my mom.

 

Art History Paper Dolls

I adore these beautifully illustrated art history paper dolls. This book by illustrator Kyle Hilton features sixteen famous artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, Salvador Dali, and Leonardo da Vinci. Each comes with props that highlight his or her quirks and characteristics, along with some witty commentary. Just note that this is more of a conceptual project rather than a proper paper doll book: the figures aren't perforated, so they would need to be cut out by hand. 

 
 

 

Art supplies

If you’re shopping for an artist, he or she might already have a wishlist of art supplies that you can choose from. Otherwise, I personally feel like a creative person can never have too many sketchbooks and pencils. This is also a great option because it works for almost anyone, from advanced artists to beginners – and even for those art lovers who don’t consider themselves artists. Many of us art historians and museum professionals love to get creative, too – we might just need a little bit of encouragement! 

Alternatively, adult coloring books make a fun gift for art lovers who might feel more comfortable getting creative within a framework. 

 
$6.23
 

 

An art tour

Even if your art enthusiast is an expert in the field, a private tour of an art museum or art galleries can provide an unexpectedly rich and unforgettable experience. There's something special about looking at works of art with someone else – the conversation that unfolds enriches the experience and introduces new ways of looking at art.

Perhaps someone in your family or a close friend is coming to Santa Fe, and you’d like to gift them a memorable experience while they are here. Or, you might be a Santa Fe local looking for a unique gift idea for a friend, colleague, or partner. Our tours are popular among couples seeking a fun activity for a date as well as groups of friends getting together to experience something new. 

To make giving this experience easy, we offer gift cards available in any amount. Just click the button below for details!

 

Creative Pep Talk Podcast calendar

This is more specifically for the artist or creative entrepreneur in your life. I am a huge fan of CPT – and while it’s geared toward commercial artists, I find a lot of Andy’s advice pertinent, relatable, and accessible. 

The CPT calendar provides a visual dose of encouragement, and if you could even take it a step further and help support the podcast in your art enthusiast's name through Patreon. They’ll get extra perks, like access to short talks and 10% off anything in the Creative Pep Talk shop.

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Have fun shopping, and check back periodically! I'll be updating this guide as I come across more gift ideas for art lovers. 

A guide to Santa Fe’s art districts 

A huge draw to Santa Fe is its incredible art scene. Santa Fe hosts art fairs and festivals throughout the year, and it’s home to over 12 museums and numerous galleries. Santa Fe is the third largest art market in the US after New York and LA, and it has the highest concentration of galleries of any city its size. And most of those galleries are packed within a two-mile radius, making it an incredible destination for art enthusiasts to explore on foot.

Here’s a brief overview of Santa Fe’s arts districts, but each one is worth exploring in depth while you’re here. 

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Canyon Road
Canyon Road is perhaps Santa Fe’s most famous art district, and understandably so. It’s been a hub for creative types since the early twentieth century, and as home to over 80 galleries, it makes for fun outing that appeals to almost everyone. We love Canyon Road, and it’s the focus of our most popular tour, the Canyon Road Quickie

Last week, we shared five reasons to love Canyon Road, as well as some Canyon Road history, so head over there for more information about this beautiful neighborhood. We’ve also put together a short Canyon Road Cheat Sheet of tips for visiting Canyon Road – covering everything from parking and restrooms to restaurant recommendations – that you can snag for free by signing up for our newsletter at the end of this post.

The Plaza
The area around Santa Fe’s historic Plaza is perhaps more well known for its retail shops and restaurants than its galleries, but it’s actually home to quite a few fabulous art spaces. You just have to poke around a bit and maybe even venture up a staircase or two to find some tucked-away venues. 

In the Plaza area, you’ll find lots of figurative artwork that's a bit more traditional in style, but in a good variety of media. There are some excellent galleries for painting and sculpture in the area. Other spaces specialize in art jewelry, pottery, and photography.

Our Discover Downtown tour highlights the Plaza area, showcasing some of its unique and off-the-beaten-path art spaces. We also know a couple of artists who have studios in the area, so if you’re interested in arranging a studio visit, give us a shout.

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As you explore the Plaza, don’t forget to wander up Lincoln to Marcy, a pretty little street that’s filled with more galleries (a few of which specialize in New Mexican modernism), specialty shops like Design Warehouse and Cheesemongers, and cute eateries such as La Boca. It’s just a tiny bit off the beaten path, though, so visitors often miss it. 

Local tip: On the Plaza, like in the rest of downtown Santa Fe, public restrooms are hard to find. (It’s really kind of a problem.) Your best bet is the Convention Center, on the corner of Marcy Street and Grant Avenue. You have to kind of mosey through the Center to find the restrooms, but they’re nice and clean. The Convention Center is not right on the Plaza, but it’s just a short walk away, and you’ll also find ample garage parking and a Tourism Santa Fe Visitors’ Center there. 

The Railyard
The Railyard Arts District, part of the historic Railyard, is home to several galleries. Most of these are housed in sleek, warehouse style spaces evocative of the Railyard’s industrial past. And as you might guess, the work is largely contemporary and often a bit sleeker and edgier than what you might find on the Plaza and Canyon Road. 

The Santa Fe Railyard is also home to SITE Santa Fe, a cutting-edge space dedicated to contemporary artwork, Warehouse 21Santa Fe Clay, the Museum of Encaustic Art, as well as the Jean Cocteau Cinema, owned by George R R Martin, and the Violet Crown Cinema, which provides a posh movie-going experience (think smaller theaters, comfier seating, a full menu, and beer and wine on tap).

Courtesy of Santa Fe CVB

Courtesy of Santa Fe CVB

Finally, the Railyard is also where you’ll find the famed Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. When creating a tour of this area, we wanted to highlight both the Farmers' Market and the galleries – a seemingly tricky task, but our guide Liz designed a unique tour that seamlessly weaves together these different aspects of the Railyard experience.

If you’re here on a Saturday, definitely try to catch her Farm to Canvas tour for an immersive, hands-on exploration of this arts district.

Local tip: Again, restrooms are important! Look for them at the Farmers’ Market pavilion during market hours. Don’t miss the Railyard Park, and be sure to check out the events calendar to see what’s happening while you’re in town.

Baca Street
Technically an extension of the Santa Fe Railyard, the Baca street area was once a coal and fuel storage yard for the Denver & Rio Grande and New Mexico Central railways. Today part of the neighborhood retains much of that industrial feel, with airy warehouse-style structures that now house shops, restaurants, studios, and other retail spaces. Further north, Baca Street is mostly residential and lined with historic adobe homes. 

There aren’t as many art spaces here as there are on Canyon Road, near the Santa Fe Plaza, or even in the Railyard, but you will find a bit of everything: glass blowing at Liquid Light Glass (try to catch a demo if you go – it’s pretty mesmerizing!), hands-on classes and workshops at Baca Street Pottery, unique vintage clothing and local artwork at Art.i.fact, and tasty eats at Counter Culture Cafe.

Siler Rufina Nexus
Yet another area that was once largely industrial, the neighborhood near the intersection of Siler Road and Rufina Street has recently seen an influx of arts spaces and creative projects. Meow Wolf has everyone talking about The House of Eternal Return, an interactive art installation that feels a bit like a psychedelic funhouse. The project was backed by George R R Martin and combines arts and entertainment in a super creative way: the installation doubles as a venue for world-class musicians. 

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Guests on tours often ask me if Meow Wolf is worth a visit. The short answer: yes. It’s definitely unique, and you could at least squeeze in a short visit. While many people spend hours exploring the installation, I always find an hour to be plenty. Talk about sensory overload! If you’re visiting with kids, they’ll definitely love it, although the experience may be a bit much for younger children. If you’re visiting with a group of adults, they’ll enjoy it, too.

The Siler-Rufina district is also home to 5. Gallery, the Adobe Rose Theater, and Teatro Paraguas, along with several eateries including Duel Brewing and the Rufina Taproom.

Have fun exploring!

Five reasons to love Canyon Road

When I suggest to Santa Fe locals that they check out our Canyon Road Quickie tour, it never fails: they sigh and say that they’ve seen it all already, or they chuckle and declare that they avoid Canyon Road at all costs. 

Indeed, Canyon Road doesn’t have the best reputation among Santa Feans. We tend not to go gaga for borderline gaudy landscapes and giant bear sculptures. That all can feel a bit cliche and redundant after a while. 

But after spending hours touring Canyon Road over the past two years, I’ve developed a huge soft spot for it. Not only is it quintessentially Santa Fe; it also offers a more varied and nuanced experience than one might think. And almost always, the locals who do hop on one of our tours are surprised to find an art venue or two that they’ve never visited. 

Emmi Whitehorse's work can be viewed on Canyon Road. Courtesy of Chiaroscuro Contemporary.

Emmi Whitehorse's work can be viewed on Canyon Road. Courtesy of Chiaroscuro Contemporary.

This historic arts district may be rooted in tradition, but it is steadily evolving and offers an unforgettably rich visual experience to anyone visiting Santa Fe. Here are just five reasons to love Canyon Road.

The atmosphere
Canyon Road is undeniably charming. The galleries are housed in low, rambling, historic adobe homes; the sidewalks are lined with vibrant hollyhocks and coyote fences; the painted doors and windows are some of the most photogenic you’ve ever seen. There are hidden sculpture gardens to explore and patios to enjoy while sipping a glass of wine – or a margarita. And of course, there’s art everywhere! For those of us who seek out memorable sensory experiences, Canyon Road won’t disappoint.

Step back in time on Canyon Road

Step back in time on Canyon Road

The neighborhood feel
Canyon Road was largely residential at one time, and it has somehow managed to maintain that friendly neighborhood feel. As you saunter from gallery to gallery, you’ll see locals who live nearby out jogging, walking their pups, and riding bikes.

Wander inside any gallery space, and you’ll almost always be greeted with a smile. The aloof art associate is a rare breed here. Most everyone is warm, chatty, and as long as they’re not occupied with pressing business, they’re happy to geek out with you over the work on view. At this point, I’ve walked Canyon Road so many times I do feel like I’m visiting old friends. Often, before tours, I’ll pop in just to say hello and catch up with whoever’s on gallery duty.

The food
A couple of my favorite restaurants in Santa Fe are nestled at the end of Canyon Road – the perfect spot for a restorative snack or a happy hour indulgence after gallery going. The Teahouse, a local favorite, boasts over 150 different types of tea, along with tasty scones (gluten-free scones, even!) and other sweet treats. They also offer a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Newer to the scene is Milad Persian Bistro, a cozy eatery that serves up delicious small plates and boasts a healthy wine list. Make your way over before it gets too cold to sit on the patio and grab some happy hour eats. 

Finally, for classic Canyon Road ambiance, hit the recently renovated El Farol. The oldest restaurant in Santa Fe now features a new menu and a freshly updated interior that highlights historic murals painted by the artists who lived, worked, and reveled on Canyon Road during the early 20th century. 

The cozy dining room at Milad. Courtesy of Milad Persian Bistro.

The cozy dining room at Milad. Courtesy of Milad Persian Bistro.

The artwork
Now, I’m going to be honest here: not every artwork is created equal, and that’s true on Canyon Road too. A local once told me that at least it’s “good bad art,” meaning that while the subject may be cliche, the technique is alright. But I’ve seen my share of technically questionable work on Canyon Road, too.

That said, Canyon Road is home to some amazing stuff. Where else can you see an exquisite Thomas Moran watercolor or a buttery Edward S. Curtis goldtone photograph, lithographs by Marc Chagall, classic black-on-black pottery by Maria Martinez, contemporary sculpture by Rose B. Simpson, and cutting-edge computer and digital art all within a couple of blocks?

Playing with digital art at Art House on Canyon Road

Playing with digital art at Art House on Canyon Road

The variety of work on Canyon Road is inspiring – and perfect for family and group outings. Canyon Road is home to over 80 galleries, so there’s truly something for everyone.

The challenge is finding the good stuff! But that’s why we created our signature Canyon Road Quickie tour.

The pace
Some visitors to Santa Fe set aside an afternoon to "do" Canyon Road. I feel like that's not the best approach, even if you only have a limited amount of time to explore the area. Part of what makes Canyon Road so special is that, if you let it, it encourages you to slow down and enjoy yourself.

I know, I know – when you see all of those galleries, the panic sets in and you feel like you have to see everything. I can almost guarantee that you'll have an even better time if you saunter. Listen to what your surroundings are telling you. That historic sidewalk? You'll trip at least once if you hustle. Those oh-so-picturesque doors and windows? Go ahead – stop and snap a photo. That almost-secret garden? Wander in and sit for a moment. Investigate open gallery doors; wander down alleyways. Take a moment to sit and savor a drink on a patio, or to stop and watch an artist at work. 

For some of us, it can be a real challenge to slow down, but Canyon Road is the perfect place to practice a little mindfulness and stop and smell the roses – figuratively and, sometimes, literally. And, if you need a little more encouragement, check out our Canyon Road Cheat Sheet and get inspired. (Get the Cheat Sheet by signing up for our newsletter at the end of this post!)

A quintessential Canyon Road vignette

A quintessential Canyon Road vignette

A final note on Canyon Road's history
Here’s the thing – while scenic and picturesque, Canyon Road also carries a long history of cultural and economic displacement, and we always try to acknowledge this on our tours of the area. 

The brief, CliffsNotes version of Canyon Road’s history goes a little something like this:

Originally, it was a trail dating to the 13th century that lead from Ogha Po'oge, a pueblo located in the area of present-day Santa Fe, into the mountains.

After 1610, when Santa Fe was founded by Pedro de Peralta, Spanish colonists began building an irrigation ditch (Acequia Madre, which still flows today), small homes, and agricultural gardens along the trail.

Fast foward to the mid 19th century: New Mexico became a United States territory in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War. More people came to town, including merchants who made use of the Santa Fe Trail. One of them, James L. Johnson, bought and expanded an old adobe home that’s still on Canyon Road today.

Toward the end of the century, the railroad arrived in Santa Fe, ushering in curious travelers. Many were artists and writers suffering from tuberculosis – the area’s dry, clean air was thought to be curative. Others came to visit friends. Enchanted by the light and landscape, some chose to stay, and several trickled onto Canyon Road. Some bought old adobe homes and restored them; others built their own, transforming the area into a rumble-tumble bohemian artist colony.

The next big change happened in the 1960s, when the area was rezoned and commercial art galleries began to move in at an increasingly rapid rate. Today, it’s pretty much all galleries, restaurants, and upscale vacation homes.

While you enjoy it for what it is today, also keep in mind that the galleries weren’t always there. Canyon Road – like Santa Fe, and like New Mexico – has a nuanced and complex history.

You can read more about Canyon Road's development as an arts district here.

For some insider tips on how to get the most out of your Canyon Road experience, sign up for our newsletter to get our free Canyon Road Cheat Sheet.

Give an Unforgettable Experience

We are pleased to announce that we are now offering gift cards, so you can share the Santa Fe Art Tours experience with someone significant in your life. Perhaps someone in your family or a close friend is coming to Santa Fe, and you’d like to gift them a memorable experience while they are here. Or, you might be a Santa Fe local looking for a unique gift idea for a friend, colleague, or partner. Our tours are popular among couples seeking a fun and engaging activity for a date as well as groups of friends getting together to experience something new. 

Gift cards may be applied to any of our standard group tours, including Canyon Road Quickie, A Matter of Taste, Discover Downtown, and our Kid-Friendly Canyon Road tour. They may also be applied to a private or custom tour that we tailor to the recipient. 

Our booking partner, FareHarbor, makes the process easy, but below we’ll walk you through the steps for purchasing and redeeming a gift card so you know exactly how it works.

First, you'll need to select the number of gift cards you want to purchase. Then, you can select the gift card amount. You may select "other" to type in any amount you wish.

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Please note that after choosing the amount, you'll enter the name and email address of the recipient – not yourself! 

That comes in the next step, where you will enter your payment and contact information under "Contact." Make sure to double check your email address and that of the recipient.

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Next, you'll be invited to add a personalized message to the recipient and send.

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Make sure to hit the "Email" button after you enter your message, or your gift card will not be sent. If you somehow miss this step, don't fret. You will be send an order confirmation email, and you can also complete this step via the confirmation email.

Once you send the gift card, the recipient will receive an email informing them of your gift, along with instructions on how to redeem the gift card. It will look like this:

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Then, all the recipient has to do is visit santafearttours.com and select the tour that they would like to book. On the payment page they will click "Add a gift card" and copy and paste the gift card code into the box.

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When they hit "Apply," the gift card amount will be deducted from their total. They can also give us a call if they run into any issues or would prefer to book a private or custom tour. 

Ready to share the Santa Fe Art Tours experience? Just click the button below to purchase your gift card!

2016 Santa Fe Studio Tour – don't miss these artists!

It's already the second week of June – can you believe it? – and the Santa Fe Studio Tour is just around the corner. New Mexico is well known for studio tours that take place in towns and cities all over the state. Santa Fe's tour falls in June, kicking off summer's countless cultural activities.

What is the Santa Fe Studio Tour?
The Santa Fe Studio Tour is an annual event that provides an opportunity for the public to visit the studios of over 80 Santa Fe artists. The tour is free and self-guided, so participants can pick any number of studios and see paintings, photography, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics and other work.

The 2016 Santa Fe Studio Tour takes place the last two weekends in June. On Friday, June 17, from 5 pm-8 pm, there is an artists reception at Santa Fe University of Art & Design. From June 18-19, the studios will be open from 10 am-5 pm, and the Preview Gallery will be open as well. From June 25-26, just the studios will be open from 10 am-5 pm.

Keep in mind that most of the studios are not within walking distance of downtown Santa Fe, so you’ll need transportation in order to visit them. 

Which studios should you visit?
Although many artists participate in the tour, there isn’t necessarily a huge range of styles. If you look through this year's roster, you'll see a lot of saturated landscapes and whimsical subjects on view, and you won’t find much in the way of sleek conceptual work. That said, keep an open mind, do a little bit of exploring, and you may be pleasantly surprised. The beauty of the studio tour is that you can visit as many different studios as you want.

While many of Santa Fe's most sought after artists do not participate, there are still some incredible artists opening up their creative spaces to the public for the 2016 studio tour. Here is a list of highlights – you won't want to miss the work of these artists!

Lauren Mantecon
123A Camino Teresa
Lauren paints meditative and atmospheric abstractions – and she also teaches! We offer a tour and workshop package that you can check out here.

Melinda Tidwell and Jonathan Keeton
20 Vista Calabasas
Melinda makes collages in gorgeous color palettes; Jonathan paints striking landscapes and nocturnes.

Kristine and Colin Poole
1108 Calle Catalina
Kristine's life-size ceramic figures are incredible, and Colin's figurative paintings are just as stunning.

Sommers Randolph
1889 Conejo Dr.
Sommers specializes in stone sculpture – his craftsmanship is worth a look!

Linda Picos Clark
1401 Maclovia
Linda's process-driven, abstract paintings highlight form and color.

Martina de Avila
19 Arroyo Griego
Martina crafts unique pots made from local micaceous clay.

Karen Milstein
13 Blue Jay Drive
Another ceramicist working with micaceous clay, Karen also incorporates other natural materials, like weathered wood.

Robbi Firestone
621 Old Santa Fe Trail, Suite #16
Robbi's vibrant and expressive portraits capture the inner spirit of her subjects.
 

For a complete listing of participating artists, visit santafestudiotour.com or download the 2016 Santa Fe Studio Tour catalog. Santa Fe Art Tours is not scheduling any regular tours of the studios on the Santa Fe Studio Tour, but if you are interested in step-on guide services to select studios or other guided tour options, please contact us!