Indigenous Art of La Fonda

Indigenous Art of La Fonda and Santa Fe 

Panel Discussion with Innovative Indigenous Artists

This August 26th La Fonda on the Plaza’s Centennial Speaker Series highlights the influence of Native American art at the 100-year-old hotel by hosting a conversation with some of the region’s top Native American artists. The event takes place in the Lumpkins Ballroom from 2-4pm MST.

Visual artists, Marla Allison (Laguna Pueblo) and Jordan Craig (Northern Cheyenne), along with jeweler, Cody Sanderson (Navajo) and photographer, Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) will display work in La Fonda’s Lumpkins Ballroom. The artists will join La Fonda’s Chairman of the Board, Jenny Kimball and panel moderator, Brian Vallo (Acoma Pueblo), a multi-talented artist and the former Governor of Acoma Pueblo, in a dynamic conversation about the influence of Native American art on the tourism industry in New Mexico, and in particular, Santa Fe.

La Fonda on the Plaza’s multi-million-dollar, museum quality art collection is dominated by Native American art.  The collection was initiated by the hotel’s first female architect, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter. Among early acquisitions were works by Romando Vigil, Julian Martinez and Tomás Vigil – artists who flourished under the encouragement of Edgar Lee Hewett, a staunch promoter and supporter of Native American Art in Santa Fe in the early 1900s. The panel will discuss how La Fonda’s original Native American art influences the hotel’s current and future collection.

Since the early 2000’s, Kimball has spearheaded the hotel’s art collection, focusing specifically on supporting innovative and up-and-coming Native American artists. Each year the hotel acquires signature works from various Santa Fe Indian Market participants.  The hotel’s vast collection includes contemporary and traditional works in all mediums including glass works, mixed media, pottery and paintings.

Marla Allison is a visual artist producing work inspired by traditions, cultural displacement and the human experience.  Originally from Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico, Allison is committed to travel and cultural exchange to understand humanity. Recipient of the 2020 Native American Art Magazine Award, her work inspires expanding worldviews.  In 2008 she won the inaugural Innovation Award at the Santa Fe Indian Market.

Jordan Craig is a Northern Cheyenne artist born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area.  Her work includes painting, prints, collage, textile prints and art books.  Recipient of various honors, Craig was most recently recognized as an Art Kala Honored Artist by the Kala Art Institute at University of California, Berkeley. In 2019, she was named the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Fellow.

Jeweler, Cody Sanderson utilizes traditional Navajo techniques that are inspired by his surroundings to create works that are both contemporary and authentic. He was awarded “Best of Show” in 2008 by the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona and recognized as the 2005 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Fellow.

Indigenous photographer, Cara Romero, an enrolled citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, embraces photography as a tool to resist Eurocentric narratives and as a means for opening audiences’ perspectives to the fascinating diversity of living Indigenous peoples. Among her numerous accolades, she took 2nd place in the photography division at the 2021 Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market and First Place in the 2019 Santa Fe Indian Market for digital photography. The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently acquired Romero’s, Water Memory Series, on display as part of the Water Memories exhibit through April 2, 2023.

Panel moderator, Brian Vallo is a member of the Pueblo of Acoma tribe in New Mexico. With over 30 years of experience working with tribal communities in areas of historic/cultural preservation, economic development and non-profits, Vallo brings thoughtfulness, compassion and genuine insight to the conversation about Indigenous art.

The event is free and open to the public.