A Native American extravaganza comes to Albuquerque each year as nearly 3,000 dancers and singers from more than 700 North American tribes come together for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow (April 24-26) at the University of New Mexico. Native art collectors have their own annual pilgrimage at Native Treasures, Santa Fe’s sale of museum-quality Indian art (May 24-25) from more than 200 Native artists invited by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.
Drive 20 minutes north to catch the Eldorado Studio Tour (May 17-18), featuring more than 90 artists showing stained glass, digital art, fiber arts, photography, and other media in their studios. Plein art painters have their moment in the sun at the annual juried exhibition at the Gary Jim Gallery (May 2-3).
Spring is an ideal time to visit the historic village of Tesuque, just north of Santa Fe, where the Shidoni Foundry offers Saturday tours of bronze pouring, along with pretty galleries and sculpture gardens open to the public. Bring a lunch and learn about metal casting. The Santa Fe Artists Market opens the first of its summer shows at Cathedral Park, just steps from La Fonda (May 17-18), with art and gifts in multiple media. Catch them also every Saturday morning at the Railyard from 8 to 1.
Another good weekend to soak up art will be Mother’s Day on Canyon Road, when the annual Passport to the Arts (May 9-11) features exhibits, demonstrations, live music, trunk shows, and children’s activities at galleries up and down the historic road.
Spend a day learning all about the coffee bean with the Santa Fe Culinary Academy, with ideas for food pairing and barista training (May 9). Or hone your knife skills in an evening class with chef Rocky Durham.
Book now for the popular Santa Fe Century Ride (May 18), a hundred miles of history under your wheels (or 20- and 50-mile alternatives) along the Turquoise Trail mining towns of Madrid and Golden.
Relive the Civil War New Mexico style (May 3-4), at El Rancho de las Golondrinas living history museum. The ranch also hosts the Santa Fe Fiber Arts Festival (May 24-25), where you can follow native wool from sheep to loom.
At the museums
Spring is a time for new exhibits, such as Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning (April 13) at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, highlighting Southwestern turquoise jewelry and all its aspects from geology, mining, and history to questions of authenticity and value.
The New Mexico History Museum is exploring photography in the Land of Enchantment with an exhibit of work by Donald Woodman and a look at the magic of pinhole photography. Guest curators Nancy Spencer and Eric Renner from the Mimbres Valley will speak on contemporary pinhole photography at a Brown Bag Lecture (April 23) before the exhibit opening and book signing (April 27).
In May the museum opens an exhibit of toys and games, the theme of its fifth birthday party (May 25). Spring also opens the museum’s daily downtown walking tours highlighting Santa Fe history, every morning except Sunday and festival Saturdays, departing from the Palace Courtyard’s blue gate just south of the entrance at 10:15.
SITE Santa Fe is celebrating the depiction of food and drink under the theme “Radical Hospitality” with events including Lee Mingwei discussing his upcoming three-night performance The Dining Project (April 22), Tom Marioni’s “The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art” (April 25), and David Robbins’ Ice Cream Social (May 10).
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum offers education programs for all ages, including tips for undertaking an art commission (April 21), hands-on iPad photo manipulation (May 8), and a demonstration class with the Santa Fe School of Cooking drawing from A Painter’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe. Also, authors Ken Robinson of The Element (April 15) and Robert K. Wittman of Priceless (May 20) discuss their books in free programs at the museum.
Programs in history and art history at the museum include an exploration of the Mohawk videographer Alan Michelson (April 23), the visual history of the Ho-Chunk tribe of Wisconsin (May 14), Los Angeles’ Ferus Gallery and the art world of the 1960s (May 28), and a tour of Northern New Mexico acequias (May 16).
The classical season winds down with the Santa Fe Symphony’s Steven Smith conducting Mahler’s Symphony No 7 (April 13), and Tom Hall conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus and renowned soloists Robert Breault and Lester Lynch (May 17-18).
Hot contemporary bands coming to Sol Santa Fe this spring include globetrotting DJ Sandra Collins of the LA rave scene, performing with go-go and break dancers of the Santa Fe House Collective & Sexy Elements of Bass (April 12). Then comes Tania Asili y la Banda Rebelde, an energetic fusion of Afro-Latin, reggae and rock (April13), followed by the psychedelic pop of the Dandy Warhols (April 29). Indie roots folk takes the stage with The Cave Singers (May 13) and alt-country favorites the Old 97s (May 17)
Film and stage
The Santa Fe Film Festival (May 1-4), now in its fourth year, will screen entries at the newly restored Jean Cocteau Cinema at the Railyard, at the Center for Creative Arts, and at The Screen. Check the website for updates on films, workshops, and other events.
Broadcasting from the Met Opera Live in HD is Così Fan Tutte (April 26), Mozart’s beloved opera about testing the ties of love.
Albuquerque’s highly praised Fusion Theatre Company brings to Santa Fe its production of Tribes (May 2-3), a Drama Desk Award winner by Nina Raine about the budding romance of a deaf man within the politically incorrect cocoon of his parents’ house.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet closes its winter season with an encore of the world premiere commission by choreographer Nicolo Fonte (April 19) along with works by Cayetano Soto and Norbert de la Cruz. Ballet Next, an elite troupe made up of stars from the American Ballet Theatre and other companies, performs both classical and contemporary choreography (April 26).
Stories from the border are the likely topic when New Mexico-born writer Benjamin Alire Sáenz speaks with his biographer and fellow borderlands writer Cecilia Ballí (April16) as part of the Lannan Foundation literary speaker series.
Environmentalist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, heralded as “the new Rachel Carson,” talks about the link between environment and cancer and her own activism (May 7), together with journalist Laura Flanders of the group FAIR and its radio program CounterSpin.