Artists Check In

La Fonda Artists in Residence

Jenny's View

Dear Friends,

Tourism Santa Fe came up with this plan to connect Santa Fe art interests to the hospitality industry in a way that will benefit both: the Artist-in-Residence program will put artists in the lobby of hotels like ours between November and February, giving weekend demos, creating art, and (in our case) anchoring getaway art packages.

Nocona Burgess - Artist-in-Residence

Jeff DeMent - Artist-in-Residence

I love the concept, but frankly La Fonda has been hosting artists in residence at least since the 1960’s when, Sam and Ethel Ballen, our former owners, took payment for rooms in paintings—and much longer if you count the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad’s idea of commissioning paintings to advertise the Southwest to potential customers back east and the Harvey hotels continuing the promotion. One of the best-known artists to take part in this promotion was Gerald Cassidy, 11 of whose iconic paintings hang in La Fonda. Prominent artists such as Olive Rush, Arnold Rönnebeck, and Willard Clark were also commissioned to create art that was, and still remains, singularly identified with La Fonda and its history. 

Gerald Cassidy - Buffalo Dancer

Arnold Rönnebeck - Portal Fireplace

The Ballens were especially well known for indulging artists like eccentric Horace Akin, who lived at La Fonda in the 1970s and would fall asleep in the dining room, and hoard newspapers in his room. Johnathan Kendall, an itinerant woodcarver who finally settled in Santa Fe, traded many of his colorfully painted, wooden “Byzantine revival” styled carvings for room and board at La Fonda.

Horace Akin

Johnathan Kendall

Vladan Stiha from then-Yugoslavia ran a gallery at La Fonda and paid for it (and his room) with paintings, many now found in The Stiha Room. But probably our strongest claim to being in front of this idea is the work of Ernesto Martinez, best known for his whimsical paintings on the windowpanes in La Plazuela. As La Fonda’s in house artist for more than 50 years, Ernesto would wander around the hotel until inspiration struck, leaving his mark on every switch plate, windowpane, and headboard in the hotel, all the way down to the posts in the parking garage. That certainly gives new meaning to the term “artist in residence”!

Ernesto Martinez Windowpane

Ernesto Martinez Wall Painting

From one art-lover to another,

Jennifer Lea Kimball

Detours at La Fonda 

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a Santa Fe local, take a “Detour” to La Fonda’s gift shop to find eclectic and magical offerings from near and far: spa items, books, ceramics, table linens, home accessories, spa items, a unique selection of jewelry, and other diverse products.

Downstairs in Detours lower gallery, is our Christmas Shop, filled with contemporary and traditional treasures for the tree, under and around it, from gifts and stocking-stuffers to tree skirts, decorations, votives, and ornaments from New Mexico and artisans around the world. Navajo artist Pearl Joe and her daughters have crafted traditional dolls, horses and teddy bears, and assorted ornaments for the holiday season.

Handcrafted Ornaments

Handcrafted Dolls

Pendleton Woolen Mills has woven the legends and symbols of Native American tribes into beautiful blankets for more than a century. We also carry a wide selection of their blankets, shawls, scarves, hats, luggage, apparel, and accessories, which make wonderful gifts.

Pendleton Blankets

As part of the Artist in Residence Program, painter Sandy Vaillancourt will be featured over Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 23-25, from 11AM to 7PM in the lobby Cantinita. Please stop by to see her latest creations in watercolor and oils, small works, holiday cards, and more.

Sandy Vaillancourt

Sandy Vaillancourt


Recipe For Adventure

Grilled Quail Breast & Smoked Cheddar-Green Chile Polenta & Orange Blossom Honey Demi-Glace

Serves 8 as an appetizer

We had so many compliments on the dish Chef Lane prepared for the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta Grand Tasting, that we thought you might enjoy it yourself. It’s more complicated than the usual recipes that we post here, but the holidays are approaching, and so why not plan to go all out!     



6-24 single lobe quail breasts, skin-on

3 Tablespoons olive oil

To Taste, salt and black pepper


Yields 1 quart

3 Tablespoons chopped shallots

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

¼ Cup whole butter

2 Cups vegetable stock

3 Cups half and half

½ pound yellow cornmeal

8 ounces smoked cheddar, shredded

4 ounces green chile, medium heat, chopped

To Taste, salt and pepper

Method For Polenta

  1. Sauté garlic and shallots in butter until translucent.
  2. Add the stock and the half and half and bring to boil, slowly add the cornmeal in a steady stream, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn down to simmer and stir constantly until the cornmeal pulls from the side of pot or for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cheese and green chile, stir in vigorously. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Yield 2 Cups

2 Cups Chicken Demi-glace*

1 Tablespoon shallots (chopped)

1/8 Cup Orange blossom Honey*

1 Cup Orange Juice

2 Tablespoons whole butter

To Taste, salt and white pepper

METHOD for Demi-Glace

  1. Bring all ingredients to boil and turn to simmer for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened, remove from heat and strain through chinoise. Add whole butter  and melt in while stirring.

*May be purchased at Kaune’s in Santa Fe, Whole Foods in other locations, or online.


  1. Turn on oven to 350° to preheat;
  2. Rub the quail breasts with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper;
  3. Heat large cast iron pan and add the rest of the olive oil;
  4. Add quail breast over medium heat, brown on one side, flip over and place pan in oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and plate up.
  6. On a small appetizer plate of your choice put a 1 ounce scoop of the polenta, top with quail breast or two or three! Then drizzle the orange blossom honey demi-glace over and around.



Live at La Fonda

Flamenco is coming to La Fiesta Lounge! This winter we are hosting EmiArte Flamenco, a professional company that also brings young dancers from its Flamenco Youth de Santa Fe, so audiences can get a taste of this multigenerational New Mexican legacy that is also embedded in La Fonda’s history.

Principal dancer “La Emi” says it has been her aspiration to dance at La Fonda since she was a child, studying under the legendary Maria Benitez, who famously mesmerized audiences at La Plazuela in the 1980s. An alumna of the company Entreflamenco and Juan Siddi Flamenco, while still in her early 20s, the director of EmiArteFlamenco received the Santa Fe Mayor’s Melissa Engestrom Youth Artist Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2012. Two years later she launched her own company with Vicente Griego, and this year the Academy and its Flamenco Youth troupe.

La Emi

Flamenco Youth de Santa Fe

Each performance at La Fiesta Lounge will open with dances by the children, before bringing in the professional dancers—which in some cases will be La Emi herself (for the Nov. 6-7 shows), or “I’ll send top-quality dancers,” she promises. “I guarantee a good show.” As part of New Mexico’s legacy as the home of flamenco in the U.S., she aspires to bring bigger shows to La Fonda eventually, “because it’s such a beautiful hotel that captures the feeling of Santa Fe.”

"For now, we’re able to provide just the flamenco,” she says. “It’s part of our culture and part of what we are in Santa Fe, and now at La Fonda you have that element, too.” EmiArte Flamenco performs at La Fiesta Lounge from 7:30 to 11 p.m. on Nov. 6-7, 15-16, Dec. 6-7 and Christmas Eve.

It's a Good Time To...

Plan your winter holiday in Santa Fe! It’s not only the slopes at Ski Santa Fe that beckon, but a hundred more reasons why this is the second most popular time of year to visit—the main ones being our unique holiday traditions (most of them free) and loads of inspired shopping, eating, and drinking.

The season officially starts with the lighting of the holiday tree in the Plaza (Nov. 24), together with the requisite caroling, hot chocolate, and visit from Santa. The lights are on every night in the Plaza through the holidays. Of course there’s the Canyon Road farolito walk (Dec. 24), when art galleries open their doors as street musicians play and people gather at traditional bonfires—the event attracts some 30,000 strollers each year. Christmas at the Palace of the Governors (Dec. 8) is another chance to share hot cider, biscochitos, carols, and crafts with Santa and Señora Claus. Return to the Plaza two nights later for the candlelit procession known as Las Posadas, a Hispanic reenactment of the Holy Family’s search for shelter (Dec. 10).

Santa Fe Lighting of the Holiday Tree

Canyon Road Farolito Walk

Throughout the season the Santa Fe Botanical Garden does a holiday light-up known as the Glow, sponsored by La Fonda on the Plaza, with music, food and drink, gift shopping, and a laser light show, nightly Dec.16 through Jan. 1. Join the Santa Fe Jewish Center for Chanukah on the Plaza, with menorah lighting, hot latkes, acrobats and dancing (Dec. 25), or do it all indoors at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center (Dec. 27). Enjoy the new tradition of New Year’s Eve on the Plaza, with free music, chocolate and cookies, bonfires, and a countdown with the mayor followed by festive fireworks. (Dec. 31).

Santa Fe Botanical Gardens "Glow"

Chanukah on the Plaza

Shops at La Fonda

Things Finer

With two locations inside the La Fonda, Things Finer has been Santa Fe's premier source for Fine Antique and Contemporary Jewelry for 25 years. This month and in December, for La Fonda‘s loyal guests, Things Finer is offering 10% off to hotel guests on every item on both stores. You must request this in-store and mention this newsletter.

Headphones for Men & Women, Assorted Colors

Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor’s world, renowned collection of distinctive belts, buckles, bags, and accessories are handcrafted in the USA and features prominent local New Mexico silversmiths and leather artists. Visit Tom Taylor online or stop into their La Fonda store to subscribe to their newsletter and participate in their annual “12 Days of Tom Taylor” holiday shopping extravaganza. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to find the perfect one-of-a-kind gift for everyone on your list.

Crocodile Belt

Machila Briefcase

Tres Skull Buckle

Rocki Gorman

Rocki makes a bold statement with handcrafted Southwestern inspired accessories and jewelry that seamlessly blend classic and contemporary styles. On Thanksgiving Day, for the past 4 years, Rocki has been open from 10am-5pm and donates 10% of the sales that day to the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico. This nonprofit organization provides travel, food, and rooms for cancer patients who cannot otherwise arrange travel for chemo treatments. Rocki will be serving coffee, cookies, and apple cider.

Mama's Minerals & Gaea

New from Mama’s Minerals and Gaea: exclusively for recipients of the La Fonda newsletter, enter to win a beautiful Amethyst cluster worth $80! Simply click the link below and provide your contact information. Stay tuned for a new prize monthly, and visit both stores in La Fonda Hotel as well as Mama’s Minerals in Albuquerque for Mother Earth’s finest fossils, minerals, turquoise, and home décor. CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Amethyst in Mama's Minerals & Gaea


Stop in Photogenesis and view these beautiful winter photographs, available in multiple sizes. "Winter in Santa Fe" was taken at Christmas in 2014. So many visitors do not realize that Santa Fe has snow in the winter months and come here expecting warm weather. Our elevation is 7,100 feet and our ski resort, Ski Santa Fe, at the base elevation, is at 10,350 feet above sea level.  Mention La Fonda's newsletter and receive a 20% discount.

Winter in Santa Fe by Nicholas Trofimuk

Archival Pigment Print

Central Park, NYC by Nicholas Trofimuk

Limited Silver Gelatin Print

Out & About

The days may be sunny and a little chilly, so stay close to your ride as you tour art studios in Dixon (Nov. 4-5), or head indoors to the convention center for the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival (Nov. 17-19), billed as the nation’s oldest and largest trash-to-treasure art market. For fiber fanatics on your gift list, the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center holds its Fall Fiber Fiesta at the Scottish Rite Temple (Nov. 16-19), including handmade textiles for sale. You can also hunt for gift supplies and handmade treasures at the Santa Fe Book Arts Group and Palace Press’s Art Flea Market in the Meem Room at the Palace of the Governors (Nov. 4).

Dixon Studio Tour

Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival

Winter Indian Market is happening again right in La Fonda (Dec. 16-17), and you may still be able to book a package to nail down complimentary passes and parking so you’re sure to be at the center of the action. Down the street, the Young Native Artists Winter Show features work for sale by the children and grandchildren of the Palace of Governors Portal artists, in the New Mexico History Museum’s Meem Community Room (Dec. 2). (Formerly held in Santa Fe, the Winter Spanish Market is now held in Albuquerque, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Dec. 2-3.)

Winter Indian Market Santa

Winter Spanish Market

Our neighbors at the Institute for American Indian Arts hold their annual open house on Nov. 6, featuring dedication of the new Performing Arts and Fitness Center, campus tours and a bronze pour at the sculpture building.

And, don’t forget to follow La Fonda’s Artist in Residence every weekend November through February. If you are in need of a Staycation, come stay one of the Artist-in-Residence weekends and take advantage of the special rates at La Fonda. Or just stop in from 4pm to 7pm, Thursday through Saturday, through February 28th.

David McElroy - Artist in Residence


It’s not Christmas until the Santa Fe Symphony orchestra and chorus perform Handel’s Messiah (Nov. 18-19), followed by the annual Christmas Treasures concert of holiday favorites (Dec. 10). Performance Santa Fe holds two holiday concerts, Christmas Eve with pianist Joyce Yang playing Rachmaninoff and Dvorak (two shows Dec. 24), and New Year’s Eve with Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich playing Mendelssohn and Beethoven (two shows Dec. 31). Also, conductor Joe Illick will offer one of his performance talks, this time on Beethoven (Dec. 17) at the United Church of Santa Fe. The New Mexico Performing Arts Society has its Winter Solstice Concert on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 25-26) at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel. And a Mariachi Christmas will be performed at the Lensic in two benefit concerts from Jerry and Lenny Lopez (two shows, Dec. 1).

Joyce Yang

Augustin Hadelich

It’s not all holiday music, however! The Santa Fe Pro Musica orchestra will accompany Ann-Marie McDermott playing Beethoven Piano Concertos at the Lensic (Nov. 4-5), and violinist Benjamin Beilman plays the music of love from De Falla, Copland, Stern, and Bernstein (Dec. 29).

Also taking the stage at the Lensic are the Texas Troubadours—Ruthie Foster, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Carrie Rodriguez (Nov. 11); award-winning jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant (Nov. 15), and early American jazz band The Hot Sardines (Dec. 6). If you know a child who needs to be indoctrinated into rock ‘n’ roll, Ralph Covert educates the grade-school set with a beat (Dec. 3).

Ann-Marie McDermott

Benjamin Beilman

Hot Sardines

At the clubs, Gig Performance Space presents Dar Williams (Nov. 3), Alejandro Escovedo (Nov. 4), and Gabrielle Louise (Nov. 12). Making Movies is at Rufina Taproom (Nov. 11), and The White Buffalo plays The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing (Nov. 19). Meow Wolf is celebrating Dia de los Muertos with local bands, DJs, costumes, and dancing (Nov. 4), and hosts Ariel Pink (Nov. 13), Girlpool (Nov. 14), Grieves (Nov. 17), a Melt Shake reunion with Desert Dwellers (Nov. 24), Desert Hearts Records bands for a Thanksgiving party (Nov. 25), and Kishi Bashi (Nov. 27). In December it’s Giraffage (Dec. 1) and The Drums (Dec. 11).

Alejandro Escovedo

Making Movies

Film & Performance

Dance performances coming to town include Osvaldo Requena’s Tango Buenos Aires (Nov. 9) and the renowned L.A. Dance Project (Nov. 14) at the Lensic, and the innovative, acrobatic, New Mexico–born, Berlin-based Ricochet Project at SITE Santa Fe (Nov. 3-4). Teatro Paraguas presents the Flamenco Fiesta, with dancer Mina Fajardo, guitarist Jose Chuscales, and singer Roberto Zamora (Nov. 3-5).

L.A.Dance Project

Tango Buenos Aires

The Ricochet Project

SITE is also is screening films by Lynn Hershman Leeson, one of the ten international artists in the show Future Shock, including Tania Libre, on the Cuban artist and activist (Nov. 16); Women Art Revolution, about the feminist art movement (Nov. 30); and Teknolust, with Tilda Swinton playing four parts (Dec. 28).

Lynn Hershman Leeson

Tilda Swinton

National Theatre Live in HD brings to the Lensic the American premiere of The Exterminating Angel (Nov. 19) and a new comedy, The Young Marx, broadcast live from the Bridge Theatre in London (Dec. 20). A Thanksgiving tradition, Santa Fe’s own circus company Wise Fool New Mexico brings us Circus Luminous, with aerialists, acrobats, and other entertainment for the whole family, at the Lensic (four shows, Nov. 24-26).

The Exterminating Angel

The Young Marx

At the Museums

The New Mexico Museum of Art will unveil its restoration as it celebrates its 100th birthday, with free events all day around the museum and Plaza—costumed characters, art making, live music, performances, and conversations with curators (Nov. 25). The museum will also screen Painting Santa Fe, a history of the city’s transformation into an art mecca (Nov. 30). The museum’s annual holiday open house promises puppet plays, art-making projects, photos with Santa, and more (Dec. 17).

The Museum of International Folk Art is opening Crafting Memory, new directions in Peruvian folk art (Dec. 3), with live music and a reception. Its benefit evening, Noche de Muertos (Nov. 4), will be hosted by local celebs Ali McGraw and Luis Tapia. The Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts holds its own annual gala on Nov. 18.

Crafting Memory - MIFA

Noche de Muertos

The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture is opening Lifeways of the Southern Athabaskans (Dec. 10), a collection of objects dating from the late 1880s that represent different Apachean groups in the Southwest. The associated New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies holds its holiday party on Nov. 5. 

Together with other local institutions, the New Mexico History Museum is expanding the reach of its Voices of Counter Culture in the Southwest exhibit to a four-day symposium (Nov. 13-16),  "The 1960s: Great Dreams of Grim Nightmares?” exploring local and national themes that examine the turbulent era far beyond the clichés. Talks coming up include "Discovering Annie Thomas Lilibridge: Her Journey from Acoma Pueblo to the South Dakota Prairie” (Nov. 1), “The French Connection (to the Segesser II Hide Painting)” (Nov. 5), “Frère Arsène Brouard: New Mexico’s Forgotten Botanist” (Dec. 6), and “Counterculture: The Rise of Permaculture,” with Roxanne Swentzell (Dec. 9). Monthly family workshops explore cornhusk dolls (Nov. 19) and string theory (Dec. 17).

Voices of Counter Culture

Roxanne Swentzell

Hands-on art activities coming up at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum include creating abstract watercolors (Nov. 18), modern drawing (Dec. 14), and a drop-in day to make holiday crafts (Dec. 18). The lecture series includes “Preserving O’Keeffe’s Artwork” (Nov. 7) and “Guerrilla Tactics in the USA: Art, Militancy, and the Politics of Resourcefulness” (Nov. 28)

                                        Georgia O'Keeffe Museum 



Latin American journalists Oscar Martinez and Alfredo Corchado (Nov. 1) join forces For the Lannan Foundation’s speaker series, followed by Mexican novelist Valeria Luiselli with journalist Sonia Nazario (Nov. 29), all at the Lensic. The venue will also host philanthropist, architect, and photojournalist Reza Deghati speaking on “The Power of Photography for Humanity” (Nov. 8).

Oscar Martinez

Alfred Corchado

Reza Deghati

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