The Spanish Colonial Arts Society was founded in Santa Fe in 1925 by writer Mary Austin and artist/writer Frank G. Applegate. Its purpose was to preserve and perpetuate the Hispano art forms that have been produced in New Mexico and southern Colorado since the region was colonized by Spain in 1598, and to educate the public about these art forms and the art of all the Spanish colonies.
Nearly ninety years later, its mission has been accomplished and expanded. Through the preservation and exhibition of its Spanish Colonial art collections at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, sponsorship of the semi-annual “Spanish Market” exhibitions and a range of educational outreach programs, the Society is now a leader in the public education of traditional Spanish Colonial art and culture.
The Spanish Colonial Arts Society presents New Mexican Hispanic Art, the first European inspired art form in the United States, as well as art from all the Spanish colonies!
Since the first Spanish Market was held in 1926 showcasing eleven artists, the Society has had a strong commitment to provide a meaningful venue for modern day Hispanic artists to exhibit and sell their work. Spanish market has been held every summer on the Santa Fe Plaza in July since 1965.
Some 250 artists share their heritage and culture with the public, and collectors go home with remarkable one-of-a-kind art pieces that can be directly traced back to the Colonial period. The Traditional Spanish Market is the oldest and largest juried Spanish market in the United States. The artists must use traditional methods and materials to ensure the authenticity of each piece. The Youth Market is also featured at the summer Market and it encourages young people, aged 7 – 17, to learn about the traditional arts.
In 1989 the Society added a Winter Spanish Market. First held in Santa Fe, the winter Market now takes place every November in Albuquerque’s Old Town. A third market was added in Las Cruces, NM, in February.
Several events surround the Markets and there is something for all our visitors to enjoy. In addition to the art displayed and sold at the Markets, there is also traditional Hispanic music, food, and dance. Each Market is a celebration of Hispanic New Mexican heritage and culture.
The Spanish Colonial Arts Society collections were initiated in 1928. Today with 3,700 objects, the collections are the most comprehensive compilation of Spanish Colonial art of their kind. Dating from the Middle Ages to the New Millennium, the collections span centuries in art, place and time. Among the various media featured are santos (painted and sculpted images of saints,) textiles, tinwork, silverwork, goldwork, ironwork, straw appliqué, ceramics, furniture, books and more. A host of comparative objects from Spain and Latin America as well as Asia, Bulgaria, France and other worldly locales further illustrate the faraway influences that converged during the colonial era to inspire artists and art forms. All combined, the collections represent the artistic history and ongoing evolution of Hispano culture in New Mexico while firmly establishing its important place within the global arts landscape.
The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art is housed in a building that is part of the legacy of the acclaimed late architect John Gaw Meem. The building is a classic example of the “Spanish-Pueblo Revival” architectural style that Meem pioneered in New Mexico in the early-twentieth century. It also reflects Meem’s personal interest in the region’s Hispano culture and his longtime involvement with the Spanish Colonial Arts Society. For further information, please contact:
The Society also offers a wide range of educational programs for both children and adults. The youth programs range from the summer Arts Alive! program held on the patio of the museum, to classroom instruction in local schools by Market artists. The adult programs include art workshops, and also lectures on art, history, archeology, geography, culture, and heritage issues.
Spanish Market is funded in part by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, and the 1% Lodgers Tax.