Santa Fe gallery owner looks to create south side arts district

New Mexico

A gallery owner and local art students have created a unique sculpture garden in an effort to draw more people to the south side of the city.

“Most people don’t even know I’m there, which is a hard thing,” Sara Miller Contemporary Art Gallery Owner Sara Miller said.

She said the art scene on her street on Santa Fe’s south side and at nearby Santa Fe Community College is often forgotten because some people don’t look beyond the tourist-filled downtown. “I want people to know that there’s more art and probably a little bit more affordable art down in the south side of town and there’s a lot to see besides what’s available in the plaza and on Canyon Road,” said Miller.

Her idea to help turn that around sparked when she found two abandoned sculptures by her gallery in the Oshara Plaza two years ago.

“The original developer of Oshara Village had a sculpture show back in 2008 before the development went into bankruptcy and those two sculptures never got reclaimed by the artist who created them,” Miller said in a press release.

“I had this vision that if we have this beautiful sculpture garden here, it will attract people down here,” said Miller.

She refurbished them and they are now proudly on display.

With the home owner’s association’s approval, community college art students are now showing off their work there, too. “It means a lot for any of the students to be able to come down and see their work realized and also inspire other people to realize it,” SFCC Art Student Tom Osgood said.

Eight new artworks were installed at the garden on Monday, including religious and political pieces. “[It’s] a tribute to a lot of what’s happening as far as people being sent back and being called illegal,” said SFCC student John Cordova about his sculpture.

He also said the sculpture garden gives the college students a public platform for their art that they otherwise wouldn’t have. “You’ve got all these artists that are down here and they need places to show their work,” Miller added.

Miller said more sculptures will be added to the garden. The ones there now will soon have informational plaques and will be put up for sale.

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