Saturday, September 8, 2012

Plan B Destinations

Oftentimes in our travels to and from a planned destination, we would come across architectural details on buildings or homes or outdoor sculpture displays that quickly would become "Plan B" destinations. Examples of such surprises in Santa Fe are presented here.

Just a block off the southwestern corner of the Plaza is The Lensic, Santa Fe's Performing Arts Center.

Nathan Salmon, born in 1866, rose from a "cart peddler" to become a successful dry goods merchant in Santa Fe. "With a keen eye for land value, the enterprising Salmon bought property throughout Santa Fe and Albuquerque. In defiance of the unrelenting financial devastation of the Great Depression, Salmon, along with his son-in-law, E. John Greer, announced on March 27, 1930, plans for a 'Spanish style' theater which would contain the latest projection and sound equipment--and would offer live performances and 'talkies' to Santa Fe’s 11,000 residents.

"Ground was broken on September 26, 1930. That same day, Salmon offered a $25 prize for an appropriate name for the new theater--preferably Spanish, or one incorporating the initials of his grandchildren. The winning combination came from Mrs. P.J. Smithwick, whose acronym not only combined the desired initials (for Lila, Elias John, Nathan, Sara, Mary Irene and Charles,) but also suggested the “lens” of a movie projector and the scenic splendor of the theater’s interior.

"Through the 1950s the Lensic thrived. However, the 1990s, while managed by United Artists, the theater stopped hosting live events and in 1999, closed its doors altogether" (

Through the combined efforts of eight Santa Fe performing arts groups, the city government, individuals and business leaders, and $9 million from the community, the Lensic re-opened and celebrated its 11th anniversary this past April.

At the northwest corner of the Plaza is the New Mexico Museum of Art,

and located in the Museum's West Sculpture Garden is this work of Luis A. Jiménez entitled "Border Crossing."

This work is entitled "Cherry Bomb" by Martin Horowitz.

An area of the city that has received a lot of attention in recent years are the 50 acres of underused space known as the Railyard. The sculptures in the photos below are located near businesses located in the Railyard.

"With the revitalization of the Railyard nearly complete, existing studios, galleries (the works shown in the next three photos are located in front of Lewallen Galleries and Box Gallery),

museums and community organizations are now joined by a year-round structure for the Santa Fe Farmers Market (shown in the background of the works in the next two photos),

a brand new home for teen center Warehouse 21 (in the background in the photo below),
dynamic new retail and restaurant spaces in the new Market Station complex, live-in artist studios, and the addition of a state-of-the-art 12-screen movie theatre" (

Hooray for "Plan B" destinations.

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