WITH OVER 100 GALLERIES PACKED INTO a one-mile stretch, Santa Fe’s Canyon Road can sometimes bewilder newcomers. It’s also just one slice of the City Different’s roughly 250 galleries, which showcase painting, sculpture, Native arts, mixed media, and any number of other artistic pursuits in what amounts to the third-largest art market in the country (behind New York and Los Angeles). To create a road map from this potential Jackson Pollock, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe has launched a first-of-its-kind art concierge service for hotel guests, which includes planning personalized tours, setting up one-on-ones with artists and gallery owners, and offering buying advice. The resort also showcases one artist a month. “The beauty of the art scene here is that it’s welcoming to everybody,” says Mike McKosky, owner of InArt Gallery, on Delgado Street, and art concierge at Rancho Encantado. Here’s his advice for three kinds of buyers.
New Explorers. For a novice collector, Santa Fe’s gallery options can be dizzying. “Anytime you go to a new place, you’re just trying to get the lay of the land,” says McKosky. He suggests being open and honest about your budget and what you’re looking for. Talk with gallery owners and artists. “It could be overwhelming, or it could be just a lot of fun,” he says. One advantage of Santa Fe’s art scene, McKosky says, is that galleries are usually very happy to help.
Family Shoppers. An art-related outing can be tricky if kids get impatient, but it can also be a great time to connect. He vividly remembers the impact of seeing Rodin’s The Thinker on a road trip with his parents through Philadelphia as a kid. Encourage conversations about art and ask children what they like. “It’s great, quality family time,” says McKosky, who suggests one of Santa Fe’s sculpture gardens, where the kids can run around a bit.
Experienced Collectors. Enthusiasts familiar with Canyon Road galleries can find more to explore in Santa Fe’s other art districts. These include Baca Street, where you’ll find Liquid Light Glass gallery, which holds glassblowing classes, and the Railyard Arts District, where TAI Modern specializes in Japanese bamboo and contemporary American art. “The art scene in Santa Fe has spread its wings around the city,” McKosky says.
Art concierge and long-time gallery owner Mike McKosky shares a few tips on buying art.
Ask questions. Gallery owners can direct you toward what you’re looking for, McKosky says, even if the artist’s work is at another gallery.
Write down the artist’s name. McKosky remembers falling in love with a painting years ago that was slightly above his budget. But he forgot the artist’s name. If you like someone’s work, get a contact, follow them on social media, and connect with them when you’re ready.
Play nice. “Be respectful of the artist and what they’ve put into whatever they’re working on,” McKosky says. “Because it’s their truth—it’s their soul.”