SANTA FE, NM – Standin’ on the corner in Winslow Arizona, such a fine sight to see, and the old Harvey Hotel is where you’ll probably be!
These days, not too much else is there, but the La Posada hotel has a dandy restaurant, and the rooms are eclectic and eccentric, not californicated, or duded up all nouveau Southwest style; they’re just about like when the arrival of the airlines left that town behind. Paul and I once had a fabulous night there on an Indian art buying trip to all the trading posts up in the Four Corners.
That was a main sideline of the Harvey hotels, you know: the trading posts. Old Fred was clever! He built his hotels right by the railroad station, so the passengers could just hop off the train and check in. He also provided entertainment and education right there in the hotel lobby, with live demonstrations by Native American rug weavers, jewelers and basket makers. Down the hall would be an enticing gift shop where souvenirs like Navajo rugs, and hand-stamped sterling silver flatware with turquoise insets could be purchased from the establishment. S-m-a-r-t.
The gala opening night of the new Harvey Exhibit at the History Museum offered a glimpse of the old days. Harvey Girls were there in uniform, some real, some descendants. (Boy! I’d have passed on that opportunity! I read the small print. The one year contract required a young lady to swear to remain single! And to live in the dormitory … all for the privilege of wearing the puffy white apron, oh yippee!) Well, a lot of them went for it. It was something to be a Harvey Girl.
Maybe more fun to be a Harvey “Indian Courier,” like Margaret Moses. She was one of a very few stylish gals in hip 1920s clothes and cloches who led guided tours in Indian Country (in motor cars driven by the “Indian guide dudes” ) also provided through the Harvey establishment. Her picture and her fine massive concha belt are there in her display case, with her bespoke rabbit’s foot still attached.
Five hundred patrons of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation were treated to festive cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the wonderful atrium of the History Museum, arranged to resemble railroad cars. Upstairs, dessert and brandy Alexanders signaled the end of the evening, and the Harvey Girls serving them the end of an era.
Santa Fe Artists’ Medical Fund
I was told that 500 people also attended the “Champagne and Chocolate” Artists Auction, paradoxically Santa Fe’s best kept secret, but not anymore! I’m going to tell everybody I know to go next year! This low key, high energy party costs only $25 to attend, benefits the “Santa Fe Artists’ Medical Fund” and is fun and a great place to buy good art on a shoestring budget. Where else can the average Joe pick up an original Armand Lara, Glenna Goodacre, or John Nieto, Doug Coffin, Carole LaRoche, Lee Rommel, David DeVary, Doug Higgins, (reeling a few just off the top of my head), for under a million dollars?
One reason these artists can donate, in addition to love and belief in the cause, is that everyone must work within a 6-inch square. Glenna Goodacre did a lovely little drawing of an indigenous woman with a baby wrapped on her back; Nieto a signature bold purple and red wolf; LaRoche her black coyote with the yellow eyes in profile. Jane Farrar made an intriguing collage; Cathy Smith colored a charming ledger drawing, dancing with wolves.
More than 200 artists participated this year. Real artists. To enter, one must have had a one man show in a credible gallery within the past five years, and support him/herself primarily through art. Hence this party offered some 200 pieces produced by good Santa Fe artists, available at a fundraiser! Gallery owner Victoria Addison told me she looks forward to this event every year, because its fun and there’s fabulous stuff! I had a blast and bought a number a fabulous Christmas presents! Until then I had nothing, nothing for my husband nor my eldest son, not a tie nor a scarf! Now I do.
Several of the founders were present – I spoke to five of them – and heard an entertaining variety of stories about the genesis of this wonderful event. You know how Lawrence Durrell tells the same story entirely differently from four independent points of view in The Alexandria Quartet … well, that’s how it was hearing about how they started the fund for artists without health insurance. The one thing everybody agrees on is that Armand Lara has been the heart and soul since the first meeting, 17 years ago, which might have been at table 10 at the Pink.
Or it might have been up at Trixie’s Cafe on Canyon Road. It depends on who’s telling. Armand knew Sarah Starkey, who had a surplus of 6-inch square white blank greeting cards, which she donated for each artist to fill in the front of the card for the sale. It was a smashing success! Still today, the artists work within the 6-inch square confines … And then, some think of unusual ways to interpret that 6? square, and come up with out of the box ideas. Very fun!
This event expects to bring in around $40,000, all of which will go directly into the Artist’s Fund since darling Joe Valdes donated the matting of all the artworks, Riva Yares gave the space, and all that fabulous chocolate was donated by Señor Murphy, Kakawa and C.J.Higgins. Lino from the Osteria gave the profiteroles. I am already looking forward to number 18 next year!
Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marie Lamar and Janice Stewart used to work for Fred Harvey.
Artists’ Fund founder Armand Lara, by his marionette.
Chairwoman Shari Morrison with Tatiana Andreeva at the artists’ auction.
Julie Pershin passes the profiteroles at the artists’ auction.
Abe Silver said he stole John Crosby’s hat years ago, and he wore it to the Harvey opening party, origin of wife Marian’s hat is unknown.
Artists’ fund founders Jack Stamm, Doug Magnus and Mark Spencer.
Felix Valencia, center, with the Harvey girls.
Holly and Mark Henry at the Harvey opening.