Elaine Ritchel | Founder & Lead Guide
Elaine fell in love with art at the age of five. She still remembers learning about Monet and van Gogh and being struck by the rich and vibrant colors they used. It's this same fascination and love for art that she brings to her tours.
Elaine has a master's degree in art history and has worked as a gallery teacher and art museum educator in the US and abroad. She specializes in discussion-based teaching and creates meaningful, art-centered experiences that promote visual literacy, inspire personal awareness, and deepen connections with the world around us. After a three-year stint in Croatia, where she worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb and the Croatian Association of Artists, Elaine returned to New Mexico to launch Santa Fe Art Tours.
Elaine is also an arts, culture, and travel writer. (Here’s her online portfolio, if you’re curious.)
When she's not gathering people together around great works of art, Elaine enjoys exploring the desert landscapes of northern New Mexico and relaxing at her adobe casita with a good book.
Claire LaRose is an interdisciplinary artist and educator dedicated to facilitating authentic and meaningful interaction through visual art. Claire has always been fascinated by the people, places and stories that accompany works of art. This fascination led to a masters degree in art history and a life long love affair with historical fiction.
In addition to researching and teaching art, Claire is continuously creating, as well. Her small-batch ceramics and letterpress projects are meant to be held, touched and cherished. In a digital world where it is easy to forget how things feel, Claire makes her work to remind herself and others to take the time to notice and love the physical world around them.
As an educator, Claire has been lucky enough to work with many incredible institutions including the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, ArtWorks, Southern Exposure and the deYoung Museum.
The arts have been an important part of Willamarie’s life since early childhood. Whether through playing music, attending dance performances, or spending out-of- school time in the various Smithsonian museums of her native Washington, DC, Willamarie has made the arts a non-negotiable part of daily life.
After five years living in Asia (Japan and Cambodia), Willamarie earned an M.A. in Anthropology, and promptly embarked on what turned into a 20-year career in the museum world. She is an award-winning arts educator, curator, children’s book author, and has led K-12 teachers and museum docents on study tours through Japan. She has had the privilege to work at the Boston Children’s Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Wesleyan University’s East Asian Gallery, and the Museum of International Folk Art.
Willamarie is also a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and the founder of WAYiN, LLC, where she coaches individuals and groups through mindfulness practices in Writing, Art, Yoga, and Nature.
She leads our art + yoga tours, providing a unique integrative
experience of aesthetics with kinesthetics.