Comparing out ‘art scene’ with Santa Fe

By John Owen | Apr 20, 2012

Residents of Santa Fe are proud of their opera house, but note that it is located in a bleak landscape about 12 miles out of town, next to a flea market.

In other words the community has class... high class and low class.

New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the union, ranking 45th in per capita income.

A local chef and cookbook writer I met  there recently bragged about the fact that he had a new haircut, paid for by a couple of sacks of freshly ground corn meal.

The barter system is alive and well in Santa Fe.

So how do you explain the claim that Santa Fe galleries sell more fine art than any other American city, except New York and Los Angeles?

There are 200 galleries in the city and 100 of them are located along a thoroughfare  known as Canyon Road.

I toured about a third of them.  My wife visited almost all of them.

Guess what?  Neither of us spotted a single painting, sketch or sculpture of a ferry boat.

Edmonds galleries have lots of them.   Ferry boats, Olympic mountains and one of the best community arts festivals in the Northwest.

Maybe Canyon Road in Santa Fe began with modest goals within the city's arts community.

Our community also has a vision, including the concept of a cultural corridor along Fourth Avenue, from Main Street to the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

You might describe Larry Jeffers as "mayor" of our cultural corridor.  He owns, operates and contributes mightily to Semantics Gallery on Fourth.

Jeffers will soon double his artistic stake in Edmonds when he opens a second art gallery at the Corner of Fourth and Main, where the sports gear store, Running in Motion, previously operated.

Across Main Street, next to The Papery, a gallery-arts supply outlet will open soon.

The Edmonds Conference Center at Fourth and Bell displays paintings by local artists and is a participant in the highly successful  Third Thursday Art Walks.

Also on Fourth is Spin a Yarn owned and operated by Sandra Lee Miner, who emphasizes that she considers herself  "an artist first, a knitter second."

I'm pretty sure the Europe Through the Back Door headquarters on Fourth showcases photographs of the Bavarian Alps.

Jack Murphy's pub, also on Fourth, displays some sporting posters from Ireland.

There might have been some nude sketches of heifers and lambs next to the pub, but  Bill the Butcher is still a no-show.

So there is still room for works of art along Fourth Avenue, but most of the blocks are filled with classic homes.

Architecture is also a legitimate art form.

And I'm quite sure that the galleries in Santa Fe's Canyon Road were originally built as homes for the wealthy,

Our opera house, Edmonds Center for the Arts at the end of Fourth, lacks the capacity of Santa Fe's musical showcase.

But music lovers here don't have to fight for parking spaces with residents headed for a flea market next door.

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