By S. Derrickson Moore
SANTA FE — When I lived in Santa Fe, it seemed like a daunting distance from Las Cruces. And even now, it sometimes seems that a long morning’s drive can take you to a very different world, when you end up in the City Different.
But this spring, not so much. It was old home week in Santa Fe. Give or take a few feet of snow, of course.
After a few weeks in the 70s and 80s here, I was prepared to ignore the forecast of snow and cold in the north, but sure enough, the flakes started coming down around Soccoro and got thicker until Belen and tapered off in Albuquerque. I discovered old man winter had already made his last stand in the City Different and there were a couple of feet of snow blowing in blustery drifts when I met old Santa Fe amigos at the Pink Adobe and the exotically-appointed Inn of the Five Graces. I might have been in Morocco.
It was clear I was not in Las Cruces anymore.
But within a few hours, I began to wonder. At a Museum of New Mexico (MNM) reception at La Fonda, one of the first Las Crucens I spotted was J. Paul Taylor, now a member of the MNM Board of Regents, with his daughter Mary Helen Ratje He was among visitors from throughout New Mexico on hand for an informational weekend focusing on the museum system, including a tour of the brand new, New Mexico History Museum, slated to open on Memorial Day. Other Las Crucens there for the special invitational “museum ambassadors” weekend included Dr. Tom Gerend, Linda and David Kinkaid and Thais and Jim Noble.
New Mexico History Museum director Frances Levine stressed that this will be a museum for all of New Mexico, and issued a special invitation for groups from our area to participate in the opening ceremonies that will include a procession from the St. Francis Cathedral to the new museum at 10 a.m. on May 25.
There’s a burgeoning multicultural lineup for the celebration.
“We’ll have low riders from Northern New Mexico and a group of Chinese Lion dancers from Albuquerque. Everyone is welcome: school groups, historical societies ... I think there are almost 100 historical groups in New Mexico. Come and carry your banner or send it to us and we’ll get someone to carry it,” Levine said.
If you’d like information about participating, contact Dorothy Bracey at (505) 473 9646 or e-mail email@example.com
I headed out for dinner with old friends (Santa Feans-turned Las Crucens who have recently moved to Santa Fe again) and while we ordered a pizza, I ran into long-time Las Cruces artist Dave Rothermel.
He told me he’s opening a gallery in Santa Fe, DR Fine Art at 123 Galisteo St., a block off the Santa Fe Plaza.
“We’ll be opening May 1. I really like Las Cruces and plan to continue to spend time there, but the time seemed right for Santa Fe,” said Rothermel, whose latest gallery was in the Mercado de la Mesilla.
His “official opening” will be a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. June 5.
“The gallery will not only feature my own work but will include emerging and established artists. Special events and exhibits will include a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, famous celebrity artists, and selected works by noted contemporary artists,” David said, and promised to keep us posted on the details. To keep in touch, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next morning, I hiked over to Santa Fe’s trendy Railyard District and on the way to the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market, passed by the Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, at 435 S. Guadalupe St., the new gallery of Ned Bennett and his wife Sandy Zane, the Southern New Mexico artist who exhibited here and owned White Raven Gallery in Las Cruces. Their current exhibits include the innovative “Waning and Waxing: The Resurgence of Encaustic” by the New Mexico Wax Group, and their Web site, www.zanebenettgallery.com, reports they will also be part of Art Chicago 2009 in May. If you’re in Santa Fe, check out their unique gallery space, which includes a sky-lighted, two-story central atrium, glass staircase and catwalk.
There’s a lot going on, with Santa Fe preparing to celebrate its 400th anniversary and our impressive state museum system commemorating some milestones of its own. Soon, I’ll be telling you about some intriguing fiestas and developments, and places to stay and things to do, if you’re making vacation plans. Or maybe just planning a little road trip getaway.
The north and south parts of the state seem to be getting closer all the time.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at email@example.com