It is impossible to visit Santa Fe and avoid the art scene. I suppose you could try, but that would be crazy. There's something for everyone here, whether you visit Museum Hill, peruse the dozens of galleries, or attend a performance somewhere. I did all those things, and it was much needed food for my soul.
First up was the Museum of International Folk Art, where I took in several exhibits, including a miniature mechanized circus that was so intricate and detailed that I didn't notice that the creator had only used 3 or 4 different people molds until I read it on one of the descriptions. I visited Sacred Realm: Blessings & Good Fortune Across Asia, where I colored and assembled a tiny box, which I filled with a copper scroll on which I wrote a wish for myself; the box sits on my dashboard where I see it every day. I also saw FLAMENCO: From Spain to New Mexico, which was full of spangled costumes worn by famous dancers, as well as other ephemera from each era. The exhibit was intimate enough that it was possible to see careful hand stitching on the ruffles of the dresses.
I was lucky to be invited by my friends Jesse and Karla to watch their daughter Leina perform tribal/belly dance with a large group of women and girls of all shapes and sizes. The program was beautifully done. There was so much body positivity and support in the room; the costumes were revealing, as you might expect, and I found myself thinking about how brave everyone was, but the focus was on shared joy, technique, and providing a gift to the audience. There were dancers overcoming serious injuries and working through incredible shyness to share their skill with the audience. It was utterly uplifting.
I went to Meow Wolf with Karla and some of her family. It's a completely immersive, overwhelming experience, a house built inside a warehouse. You are meant to touch everything, to climb through holes and into the refrigerator to a transporter to alien worlds, turn the knob, smack on the walls with a stick to make sound, go into the closet and keep going until you end up on a street that's nowhere near the bedroom you just left. I spent a couple of hours wandering, until I was in complete sensory overload and had to leave. My tentative plans for the afternoon turned into a nap; Meow Wolf took everything I had, but I would go back in a hot minute.
Just before I left town, I visited the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. At mid-day it was relatively quiet and peaceful. There were some of her famous flower paintings, but also a gorgeous time lapse video of her home in Abiquiú, New Mexico, early watercolor work from her time at the University of Virginia (1912-1914), and sculpture. Her paint box was also on display, which gave me chills. O'Keeffe has long been one of my favorite artists; seeing her brushstrokes, the paint tubes she touched, and the way her style changed over time was immensely gratifying.