WHAT IS SANTA FE?
Is it a song? A painting? Is it theater? A dance? Is it cuisine? Santa Fe is all of these and more. It’s a feeling, an emotion, a magnetism. It’s a unique and captivating place where future meets past, tradition meets innovation, and art is life. All who experience Santa Fe are inspired by something they can’t quite put their finger on, returning over and over to feel it again.
The Santa Fe Arts and Culture Department’s mission is to develop and promote artistic excellence in our community. We strive to build collaborative, interdisciplinary and inclusive pathways for Santa Fe’s creators to express the beauty of their community through art. We are here to show visitors and locals alike through our Fe.mous campaign that there is no place on Earth like Santa Fe, New Mexico.
We had the pleasure to get together with a few amazing Santa Feans to chat about what exactly it is that draws people to Santa Fe and what beckons their return. These “local celebrities” gave us some insight into their connections with this community. They are Fe.mous
Arlene Cisneros Sena is an award-winning artisan who creates contemporary retablos (devotional paintings) in traditional form. Her eloquent work demonstrates pride in her heritage and faith. Sena's works make innovative use of natural pigments, while her soft, graceful lines and delicately applied gold leaf renders familiar imagery in an immediately recognizable, personal style.
Since her entry into Spanish Market in 1992, Arlene’s work has achieved national and international acclaim. In addition to countless private collections, her retablos have been acquired by The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, The Museum of International Folk Art, The Taylor Museum, Regis University and the Vatican.
A recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in 2010, the Archbishop of Santa Fe's Award in 2001, and the Spanish Colonial Arts Society’s Master’s Award in 2012, Sena has completed a number of prestigious large-scale commissions, including an altar screen inside Santa Fe's St. Francis Cathedral Basilica, Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and for the Bishop of Gallup’s private chapel. In 2018, Sena was featured on PBS! Colores!
Joe Hayes has been traveling up and down the country, back and forth across the country, sharing stories of the Southwest for over 40 years. His bilingual Spanish-English storytelling based on New Mexican cuentos has earned him a distinctive place among America's storytellers. Joe’s current Santa Fe summer venue is the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. Two+ generations of Santa Fe children have grown up listening to his tales. Joe has received the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts
and was designated the New Mexico Centennial Storyteller by the New Mexico State Library.
Nosotros has been drawing music lovers to their distinctive Latin groove for over 20 years. What began as a guitar trio in 1994, quickly took on a life of its own, becoming something that no one could have predicted, including becoming one of the most recognizable and original Latin bands in the Southwest United States.
The band’s remarkable evolution over the years - taking on new members and leadership along the way - has resulted in the 11-piece Latin music powerhouse it is today. The group seamlessly combines a myriad of Latin rhythms with elements of rock, salsa, jazz and cumbia creating an innovative and imaginative Latin sound that is, unique, undefinable and unmistakably Nosotros.
The early years of Nosotros began in their hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The original guitar trio of Randy Sanchez, Gene Watkins, Juan Cisneros soon gave way to additional members, over time adding percussion, horns, and vocals and, after releasing two albums, Nosotros left Las Cruces and relocated to the Santa Fe area. The band continued to blossom, making a name for themselves with a near non-stop performance schedule and dynamic stage show. Along with a plethora of New Mexico Music Awards, they won the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition - twice.
Dorothy Massey was born on the East Coast where she grew up with a profound love of reading and music, especially opera. She was lucky enough to be hired by the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, eventually becoming Secretary to then-General Manager Sir Rudolf Bing.
In 1996, Massey moved to Santa Fe to take the helm of Collected Works, Santa Fe’s oldest independent bookstore, with her daughter and co-owner Mary Massey Wolf. In 2009, they moved the store to a larger location which includes a coffee bar and cafe, allowing for regular gatherings and performances. Massey has encouraged and supported poets, writers and readers with her sustained commitment to literary excellence. She has made Collected Works a center for literature and the exchange of ideas and has opened its doors to diverse nonprofits for over 150 events to date. Beyond the doors of her store, Massey is a dedicated supporter of the arts in Santa Fe. Massey's unfailing support for the arts embodies the creative spirit, energy and generosity of Santa Fe.
Dr. Anthony Dorame was raised in Tesuque Pueblo and currently resides in Tesuque Pueblo. His cultural teachings and affinity for nature led him to pursue degrees in Wildlife Biology, Environmental Studies, and Justice Studies at Colorado State University, The University of Montana and Arizona State University. As a High School Teacher at the Santa Fe Indian School he incorporated Indigenous knowledge and values into the existing Biology and Agriculture curriculums. He continues to strive to connect student with nature to teach important cultural knowledge and western scientific concepts through the Indigenous Education Network (IEN).
As owner of IEN he is able to also share Traditional Ecological Knowledge through educational programs and workshops for tribal schools, tribal organizations, public schools, local organizations, and state and federal land management agencies.
Monica became a part of the Spanish Colonial’s Traditional Spanish Market in 1979. She has mentored her grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and the children of family friends to become a part of the Spanish Market tradition. Monica has taken numerous awards for her Retablos and Colcha as well as the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. Her artwork can be found in numerous private collections, museums and offices throughout the United States.
Monica Sosaya Halford is well known in the Santa Fe community for her gregarious spirit, her love of life and her well attended parties.
Brian Hardgroove is a record producer, multi-instrumentalist and member (on hiatus) of the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy.
Hardgroove’s productions include the talents of Chuck D (Public Enemy), Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Burning Spear, Marc Anthony, Supertramp and The Fine Arts Militia. His most cherished work is with Demerit and Brain Failure; two of China’s premier punk bands.
Hardgroove’s newest band is Unholy Crows. UC’s music is socially and politically astute yet artistically constructed in the mold of the legendary arena rock bands of the 70’s and 80’s.
Luci Tapahonso is Professor Emerita of English Literature (University of New Mexico 2016) and served as the inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation (2013-2015).
She is the author of three children’s books and six books of poetry including A Radiant Curve which received the 2008 Arizona Book Award for poetry. Tapahonso will also receive the 2021 Distinguished Literary Achievement Award by the Western Literature Association at its 2022 conference. In 2020, she was an Artist-in-Their-Residence Fellow hosted by the Bosque Redondo Fort Sumner Memorial Museum and recorded a poem for Living Nations, Living Words: A Map of First Peoples Poetry for the U.S. Library of Congress.