WHEN WE STARTED planning the cover for this special theme issue, art director Edie Dillman said it’s about time we commission an original piece of art—it’s been five years since Douglas Magnus created a memorable turquoise-and-silver medallion for the state centennial issue.

Without giving it a moment of conscious thought, I blurted out, “We should see if Arthur López can do it.”

Twenty-four hours later, Edie and I were at his dining room table—in the midst of what must be the hippest collection of contemporary New Mexican folk art on the face of the planet—and López started sketching the first draft of the design of Corazón de Neuvo Mexico, the carved piece you see on the cover. The lines of the landscape were instantly recognizable as the road to Chimayó, and we knew he was on the right path. When he revealed the finished piece a couple of weeks later,  the chrome Zia detailing came as a fresh surprise. With the added hit of lowrider flash, the piece lands in that Arthur López sweet spot where traditional santero technique meets the current moment with a bold stroke of only-in-NM cool.

López leads off an issue stacked with an A-team of writers and artists weighing in on rich subjects. (In fact, you may have noticed that López himself is pictured in an Erin Currier painting that’s on the table of contents) As far as I’m concerned, the way the environment here—social, physical, spiritual—inspires creative and talented people to respond is what the Heart of NM is all about. That’s what makes living here so stimulating, and it’s what keeps us coming into the office every day. 

With this issue, New Mexico Magazine embarks on its 95th year as a venue for illuminating the facets that make this such a soulful state. Here’s an invitation to join the conversation:
What does The Heart of NM mean to you?

Happy New Years,


Dave Herndon