Hispanic Arts and Crafts Tour
of Northern New Mexico USA

Everywhere you travel here you will find art of this place.

Ramon Lopez and Cross

© Ramón José López
"Saint Francis Cathedral Processional Cross"
created in 1992



Albuquerque scrolldown
Corrales scrolldown
Between Albuquerque and Santa Fe scrolldown
Santa Fe scrolldown
The High Road to Taos scrolldown
Taos scrolldown

New Mexico is a center for Hispanic art just as it is a world center for Native American art. Throughout the state there is evidence of the pride we have in New Mexico's Hispanic cultural and artistic heritage. Some recent examples include:

The 1993 Governor's Awards for Excellence and Achievement in the Arts to Julia Jaramillo, Luis Jimenez and Bonifacio F. Sandoval.

The 1993 Santa Fe Mayor's Recognition Awards for Excellence in the Arts to El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Ramón José López and Pedro Romero Ortega.

The success and growth of the Spanish Colonial Art Society and their Traditional Spanish Market and Winter Market.

Murals and frescoes by traditional and contemporary Hispanic artists on the public walls of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos and surrounding villages.

Here we highlight major stops and outposts that are rich in Hispanic art and culture in New Mexico. There is so much more along the way than we're able to list . . . the joy is in the search:


Established in 1706 by acting governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdés, Albuquerque was named for the Duke of Alburquerque; later the first "r" was dropped from the spelling. Albuquerque's Old Town, with its historic buildings such as San Felipe de Neri Church, and neighborhoods like Martineztown reflect the city's strong Hispanic flavor. As you drive through the old neighborhoods, barrios, notice the Catholic influence--shrines with Our Lady of Grace or Guadalupe are constructed in family gardens. Often an antique bath tub is dug into the ground to create a nicho for la Virgin.

Near Downtown look for The Southwest Pietá, a sculpture located at Edith Blvd and Roma Ave NE. This monumental sculptural work in fiberglass was created by Luis Jimenez. Jimenez relies on Hispanic themes--religious, historic and frequently controversial.

The Albuquerque International Sunport remote site Throughout the Terminal Building is a wonderful collection of art, including many pieces by notable Hispanic artists.

The Albuquerque Museum remote in Old Town. On permanent exhibition is Four Centuries: A History of Albuquerque a helpful historical foundation to the Spanish Conquest.

Throughout Albuquerque, large, colorful murals speak of the past and the present, of life and of history. Whether created by one artist or the collaborative effort of an entire proud community, murals tell the stories of our multi-cultural population.

Downtown Albuquerque
The Very Special Arts Garage, 5th at Copper NW: Jeanette Boydstun "Presto." Gilberto Guzman "The Harvest." Artists collaborated with student and community center groups.

Northwest Albuquerque
Wells Park Community Center, 500 Rosemont Ave NW: "Lifesavers/Life Dangers" by Francis Rivera and students.

The Albuquerque Museum, 2000 Mountain Rd NW: "Santa Madre Tierra y su Alma" buon fresco mural by Frederico Vigil article .

Southeast Albuquerque
Family Health Center, 1316 Broadway SE: "Health Care is a Right, Not a Privilege" Painted wall.

South Broadway Cultural Center article , 1025 Broadway SE: "Shared Traditions: Mind, Body and Spirit: Hispanic Perspective" Portable mural by Norman Pacheco, Arnold Puentes, Francis Rivera, Margarete Bagshaw-Tindel.

Saint Francis Xavier Church, 817 Arno SE: "Somos Vecinos/We're Neighbors" Painted wall by Ken Wolverton and Chrissie Orr.

Southwest Albuquerque
Barelas Community Center, 801 Barelas Rd SW: "Nuestra Vida" Painted wall by Francisco Lefebre.

Rio Grande Zoo, 903 10th SW: "Circle of Life" Painted wall by Sheldon Gibson, Francis Rivera and Joe Stephenson.

School on Wheels, 129 Hartline SW: "Sueño entre Sueño" Fresco by Bernadette Vigil and students from School on Wheels.

Northeast Albuquerque
Santa Barbara/Martineztown Community Center, 1420 Edith NE: "The Future is in Your Hands" Painted wall by Susan Sirl, Bernadette K. Rodriguez, Jane Fritz Ruge and students from Highland High School.


This historic village lies just NW of Albuquerque. Unlike most early New Mexico settlements, Corrales has no central plaza, rather the town is strung along its main street. Old San Ysidro Church, once the center of the village, is located off the beaten path on Old Church Road. A drive through Corrales gives proof of San Ysidro's care: the farmers' markets are abundant with the vegetables and fruits grown in this valley.

Casa San Ysidro article This restored Spanish Colonial historic home dating from the 1870's was acquired by The Albuquerque Museum in 1997. It is filled with a collection of original New Mexico furnishings: textiles, furniture, domestic items, and agricultural implements. Tours Wed-Fri at 9:30am and 3pm; Sun at 3pm. Admission: Adults $4, Seniors (65+) $3, Children $2. Reservations required. Closed Jan-Feb.

Between Albuquerque and Santa Fe

As you travel between Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos, observant eyes will notice roadside crosses. These descansos mark places where people have died. They are put in place by mourning friends or families: some are carved crosses or assemblages and may include photographs or mementos of the loved ones. The custom dates to early times; when settlers lost their lives, the location was noted by crosses carved on a rock.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas remote site Take a journey to the past at "The Ranch of the Swallows" founded in the early 1700s. Las Golondrinas was an historic paraje or stopping place on El Camino Real. This 200-acre living history museum opened on the site in 1972, after existing buildings were restored, authentic structures erected on old foundations and related buildings brought in from other sites. Costumed villagers portray life in early New Mexico. Open seasonally from April-October. 15 miles south of Santa Fe and 45 miles north of Albuquerque, off I-25 in La Cienega. Call for 505-471-2261 for more information.

Santa Fe

Meaning "Holy Faith", Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the US as it was founded in 1609 by Don Pedro de Peralta. In this colorful city the past is always present. Santa Fe's Plaza is the center of all local fiestas. St Francis Cathedral stands near the site where the first church was built by the Spanish in 1628, followed by an adobe parish church in 1712. Finally, construction on the Romanesque-style sandstone Cathedral was begun in 1869 by Archbishop Lamy.

The Palace of the Governors is on the north side of the Plaza. An excellent example of early Spanish Colonial architecture and furnishings, the Palace houses a collection of Territorial memorabilia and historic exhibits.

The Museum of International Folk Art remote site Located on the SE edge of Santa Fe, the Museum's Hispanic Heritage Wing houses the largest collection of Spanish Colonial and Hispanic art and hand crafts in the US. A permanent installation, Familia y Fe/Family and Faith, honors 400 years of Hispanic artistic traditions in the Southwest and a gallery of changing exhibits continually features the work of outstanding contemporary regional folk artists.

Spanish Market, sponsored by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society remote site, features traditional Hispanic arts, crafts, seminars, music, storytelling. The event occurs annually the last full weekend of July on the Santa Fe Plaza and the first weekend in December at Sweeney Center on Marcy Street in Santa Fe. 505-983-4038

The Santuario de Guadalupe was begun in 1795 and recently restored. On December 12 Las Mañanitas, Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day, celebrates the appearance of the Virgin in Guadalupe, Mexico. 100 Guada lupe at Agua Fria Street, 505-988-2027

During December, Christmas celebrations abound in New Mexican villages and cities. Mid-December Christmas pageants include Los Tres Reyes Magus (The Three Kings of Christ), Los Pastores (the story of Bethlehem's shepherds) and Las Posadas(Mary and Joseph's search for shelter). These stories are reenacted in town plazas and in neighborhood chapels. New Mexicans decorate their homes and walkways with farolitos (paper bags glowing with candlelight) and luminaria (little bonfires).

The High Road to Taos

Chimayó is home of the "healing dirt" of the Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas and numerous Hispanic weaving families whose studios are open to the public; including Galería Ortega and Ortega's Weaving Shop.

Cordova, noted village of woodcarvers; Truchas, a quiet traditional Hispanic village; Las Trampas, famous for its beautiful churches; and Peñasco, a small farming village, are among the many enchanting Hispanic villages along the "High Road."

Velarde, Alcalde and Embudo are articleturesque villages along the Rio Grande on The River Road to or from Taos . . . see orchards, chile ristras and wreaths of dried flowers.

Ranchos de Taos A village just south of Taos settled in 1716. San Francisco de Asìs article , the mission church built in 1772, is probably the most photographed and painted church in the United States.


A small mountain town with great history, dominated by Taos Indian and Hispanic history,
Taos article sits on a 7,000 foot mesa in the shadow of Taos Mountain and is inspiration for seekers and artists.

Millicent Rogers Museum remote site A selection of secular and religious Hispanic artifacts assembled in the 1940s by Millicent Rogers, patron of the arts. Just north of Taos.

Martinez Hacienda remote One of the few restored examples of New Mexican Spanish Colonial architecture and life. Ranchitos Road, 2 miles west of Taos Plaza 575-758-1000

Visit the Tierra Wools remote studio in historic Los Ojos and watch award-winning weavers, spinners and dyers at work. Tierra Wools is part of an organization that raises sheep for wool and food, employs local women to weave clothing and rugs from the wool, and sells the arts and crafts of the valley's artisans. Enjoy a studio discount on tapestries, blankets, rugs, pillows and apparel. Taos to Los Ojos on US 64, approximately 98 miles. Santa Fe to Los Ojos on US 84 is approximately 90 miles.

Originally appeared in
The Wingspread Collector’s Calendar - Volume 3, Number 1

Related Pages

Hispanic and Native Churches in Albuquerque article
500 Years of Encounters article
Patrociño Barela, Carver article

Marco Oviedo, Carver article
Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe remote site
Traditional New Mexican Hispanic Crafts article

LAST MODIFIED September 22, 2008

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