shidoni factory bronze statue

The Importance of Art in Design: Reflecting on Santa Fe

Art feeds creativity and the soul

An interior, commercial or residential, is not complete without art. It manifests as paintings, sculptures, pottery, murals and more. It lends expression, soul and comfort to a space.

Inspiration for art can come from unexpected places. Vacations are adventures full of fun and relaxation, but they are also learning experiences. Our minds open to new views, cultures and environments. While enjoying the scenery, designers tend to absorb inspiration and keep it bubbling inside until the moment the cork pops open!

My husband and I just returned from our first visit to New Mexico. We had a vague plan to start in Albuquerque and continue into Santa Fe, from where we would take trips into the desert and Taos by car. For the last few days, we were to spend time on a lavender farm biking along the Rio Grande (which was not so grande and relaxing after all). Albuquerque was nice but not very active or illuminating.

roadrunner santa fe
We took the RoadRunner train to Santa Fe: what an adventure!

We were given a misguided suggestion to take the RoadRunner train line into Santa Fe instead of renting a car, which turned out to be an adventure. The RoadRunner is a two-car double decker train with a real “Road Runner” emblazoned on its side. More importantly, it toots its horn all the time and squeaks out a Road Runner cartoon whistle as it restarts at every station. I couldn’t help chuckling each time I was reminded of the cartoons I watched a very long time ago.


Experiencing art in Santa Fe

Upon arriving in Santa Fe, I saw art everywhere I looked. It jumped out at me from studios along the train station and as we drove past homes with landscapes embellished with sculptures. The adobe homes themselves were sculptures in earthy tones. Property-delineating walls hugged each territory, divulging sneak peeks of hidden art behind them.

I was intoxicated; beautiful art was everywhere and I was absorbing it all.

la posada de santa fe
Many pieces of artwork adorn the rooms of La Posada de Santa Fe.

The hotel, La Posada de Santa Fe, was formerly a merchant’s home. It was lovely with a courtyard for dining, scented roses lining the walkways, and of course, art! There was art not just in the lobby, but everywhere else as well! Artwork filled the walls sometimes several pieces high, along the halls, in every room, and even the rest rooms. It was exuberant and mostly very beautiful. Pieces varied in style from serious to more whimsical.

We thoroughly enjoyed Canyon Road with galleries galore along a stretch of older adobe structures in the same earthly tones. Again the art was varied: paintings, collages, photos and sculptures. This was the perfect opportunity to discover artwork that was perfect for several of my current projects.

How did so many artists end up congregating in this one town? Surprisingly, many artists came to the town for the air! It was an ideal location for people suffering from breathing problems and disorders. Some came and loved the weather, the colors and the light, and simply stayed. They invited their friends, some of which were artists, and they stayed as well. There are many studios and artists who call Santa Fe and its environs home.

shidoni factory bronze statue
Beautiful bronze work brought to life at the foundry.

We were also impressed with the Shidoni Factory and Sculpture Gardens. This is a bronze foundry where you have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour at noon while many workers are at lunch and there are no torches blowing. We were lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic foundry worker take us through the many steps in the process of producing a sculpture. It was an amazing insight into how a sculpture evolves. The foundry workers are skilled artists in their own right and take on the incredible responsibilities to honor the artist and capture the essence of the piece itself.

As an Interior Designer, I wished I could keep a mental picture of all the art I saw and experienced in Santa Fe. I want to remember every piece, artist, and gallery. I will surely refer back to my trip when taking on that particular job that calls out for a certain sculpture for a commercial lobby, or that perfect whimsical piece for a pediatric office.

So enjoy your adventures and keep your eyes and mind open to the art in your travels! Bring home a beautiful piece that you simply fell in love with. It will enhance your space and be a continuous reminder of wonderful vacation memories.

I often assist clients with their choice of art and placement to create the greatest impact. Looking for the perfect piece to compliment your design? Call me at 201 233-4636 or e-mail


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