If you really want to get away from it all, unplug, relax and immerse yourself in something fun and rewarding that taps into your creativity, then Santa Fe Art classes and experiences are a must. Whether you’re going solo, or with family, friends, or coworkers, there is a local art scene that welcomes you into professional artists’ studios to explore your inner creative landscape. Leave your inhibitions behind and get down and dirty. Novices and experts can enjoy a variety of media, including clay, acrylics, pastels, watercolors, oils and found objects.
I recommend three local, award-winning artists and teachers I’ve enjoyed working with who will provide the space, materials and guidance to facilitate your creative process. You just bring your curiosity and willingness to make the kind of colorful mess that could lead to meeting your artistic self.
When I tried this, I was hesitant to make a sorry mess that would look horrible. But I soon found it liberating to feel there are no restrictions or expectations. Actually, “messes” are encouraged and can blossom into thought-provoking works of art.
Lauren Mantecón of Art Alchemy and Mantecón Studio has been opening doors of creative perception for curious creators for over 20 years. She has shown her works of contemporary art at top galleries and museums around the country and in Mexico. Many of her students have become artists in their own right, and they continue to return for refresher workshops that add dimension to their work.
In a lovely quiet neighborhood near downtown, Lauren’s light-filled, spacious studio has everything you need to enjoy a few hours of painting fun.
With a few simple questions, Lauren helps you tap into your unique style. Her classes range in size from 5 to 12 people, and she offers customized classes for small groups, families and individuals.
Materials can range from found objects to oils, acrylics, pastels, glues, wood, paper and more. This is not a guided art class. Lauren prefers a more free-form style of teaching. She says, “The guided classes are too much like ‘paint by numbers’ where everyone ends up with the same image at the end. My students and guests find our way to be more fun, unique and exploratory.”
Lauren offers workshops that range from full day to multi-day, or week-long retreats. And she often invites guest artists from around the country to teach their unique styles and impart their expertise.
“I enjoy helping to bring people to a new sense of awareness through the play with art,” says Lauren. “It can be so liberating for people to experience this sense of freedom and fun.”
Lauren also offers an Open Studio class one day a week in the winter and spring, and two days a week in the summer and fall. Click here for more info on rates and dates etc.
Prices start at $55 per person + tax for drop-in Open Studio classes, and $185 for 2 hour private classes, with $50 per additional person. All materials provided. To book your class with Lauren call (505) 428-9469. And remember to mention Santa Fe Selection.
Anita Louise West is a well-established local artist and experienced teacher who has been living and working in Santa Fe since 1993. “So many artists have painted here,” she says, “it truly is a place where you can tap into the stream of other wonderful artists who have come through Santa Fe.”
Anita teaches pastels, oils, acrylics and watercolors. She offers realism, impressionism and contemporary classes. You can work with her in her own studio in the downtown historic district, or meet on location for a “plein-air” class in town, or a little off the beaten path for more landscape vistas (weather permitting).
In addition to working with individuals and families, Anita has developed her Team Building Art Experience, which many corporate and large groups have enjoyed.
Anita’s Team Building process elicits the play of creativity with a sense of fun collaboration, sharing and letting go. Everyone starts and ends with their own work, but during the process, the piece gets passed around, and the collaboration begins. The culmination is a work that combines to create a beautiful collective piece, and individual works that stand alone. Ultimately, everyone gets to take home their original work as a memento.
Anita also teaches an open studio class in her downtown studio on Thursdays: 9am – Noon, and 1pm – 4pm. You can stay for the half-day or all day. Call (505) 577-0113 for rates, location details, and to reserve a spot. Prices start at $125+tax per person for a 3 hour class. All materials provided. Group rates are available. Mention Santa Fe Selection when you call.
Ginny Zipperer has been an established Santa Fe potter and clay artist for more than 40 years, and has won awards for her unique works.
Playing in mud and clay is just pure fun for kids of all ages. “You don’t need any previous experience or developed skills to produce work that is unique and satisfying,” says Ginny. “Even those who suffer from ‘art anxiety’ enjoy connecting with their inner artist with Clay Play.”
Ginny’s professional pottery studio is in the Baca Street art district, within the Railyard neighborhood area. She does have a pottery wheel available as well as many other methods for clay creations.
Team Building with Clay Play provides a unique opportunity for professional groups to step away from the analytical and into the creative. Participants engage with the clay and each other in a physical, light-hearted environment. Through this workshop, they gain new perspectives on their business work environment, shift group dynamics and enhance group identity.
Ginny loves to teach groups and individuals, families, and kids (with accompanying adult). Prices start at $190 +tax for up to 3 people for up to 2 hours. Includes all materials and shipping of your fired piece. To schedule a class, call (505)204-6236. (Mention Santa Fe Selection).
The light, vistas, and culture in New Mexico have been a source of inspiration for artists for centuries. Santa Fe is one of the top art destinations in the United States – well worth the trip to visit over 200 world-class galleries that range from modernism greats to ancient artifacts. A visit to some of Santa Fe’s galleries can help inspire your inner creator. It might be a bit daunting to know where to begin and which galleries will most appeal to your tastes and interests. Elaine Ritchel of Santa Fe Art Tours offers wonderfully immersive guided tours of the top art districts in Santa Fe, including Canyon Road, The Railyard Arts District, and the Plaza area. Elaine’s expertise and extensive art knowledge helps you to experience the art more completely. It might triggers your inspiration for a later visit to a studio.
Santa Fe Art Tours offers a variety of fascinating tour options for ages 10 and up. Canyon Road Quickie, Discover Downtown, Sense of Place Tour & Art Workshop, and many more. Elaine also customizes tours to suit your interests. Tour prices start at $30 + tax per person. Group rates are also available. Call (505) 985-5298 to book. (Please mention Santa Fe Selection when you call.)
As with all classes or tours, it is important to give advance notice so that the facilitator can prepare. Sometimes artists may be available on the spur of the moment, but it is helpful to give at least 24 hours notice, if possible.
If you and your friends, family or co-workers are looking to have fun together while tapping the source of your inner artist, and have a memento of your time here, then this is something you’ll want to experience. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul.
For more information on where to stay, eat, and unique things to do in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico, please go to SantaFeSelection.com Travel Guide & Concierge.
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