SANTA FE, N.M. — There is one special hour prior to the public Friday evening Spanish Market Preview Party in the big courtyard room at the Eldorado Hotel, the night before the market opens, when one can roam in relatively spacious comfort and leisure to see up close the best of the best, the prize winners, and the major entries of the top performers.
It’s called the “Collector’s Hour” and it’s worth the $80 ticket to those who want to scope out the crème de la crème, the pieces they might want for their collections, and must plan what booth to be first in line at the next morning at 6!
Serious business! Fun party! So much less crowded than the next hour and, certainly, the next two days. No sales may take place, so there’s no competition yet. And if you just want to buy something nice at Spanish Market, you’ll want to be here to get an unhurried look and know where you want to go the next day.
Spanish Market is one place where it is still politically correct to mention, and honor, Jesus Christ. This year’s Grand Prize, “Best of Show,” entitled Cristo en Agonia, was a crucifix of the suffering Christ hanging bruised blue and bloody on the cross in misery, ribs exposed to the heart (with a tiny hand-carved, loose, red heart in the chest cavity), the anguish of humanity in his eyes. This iconic piece also won the Museum Purchase Award and the Painted Bulto Award, and one of the judges told me they were unanimous in their choice for the “Best of Show” blue ribbon as the piece was so intensely moving and passionate in conveying its message, and exquisitely executed. If Christ’s story turns out to be true, surely many blessings will be upon the artist, Joseph Asencion Lopez!
It was not all serious catechism though … . I noted several folks planning to be first in line Saturday morning at Victor Goler’s booth to snap up his “Cruising to Heaven,” Joseph driving Mary and the Baby Jesus in a vintage convertible. Their quest might be in vain, though. I heard the museum’s Collection Committee already voted to acquire the piece for the museum.
In the jewelry genre, silversmith Gregory Segura told me it took 15 years to find his niche. He actually learned the craft in high school from mentor Ernie Budinsky, but didn’t think he could “make it,” so went on to other professions – financial planner, hotel manager, catalogue production – before, a couple of years ago, the calling came; he leaped off the cliff and quit his last job. Now he’s producing jewelry full time and his stunning designs are selling like hot cakes. Bravo, Gregory!
Some 1,900 people passed through the double parties, sponsored by the Spanish Colonial Society, this year. According to Executive Director David Setford, this is really not a fundraiser and the goal of the event is not economic gain, but giving “the best party in town!” The point is to honor the artists, give them great exposure, and provide them a lovely venue in which to meet and visit with their collectors in congenial surroundings … a true preview.
The funds they do collect through ticket sales are used for 75 classroom youth programs, which take the Spanish Colonial Art techniques into the schools, and to sponsor budding young artists who want to pursue these historic crafts and carry on los tradiciones.
Que viva el Spanish Market!
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.
Debbie Stevens and jeweler Gregory Segura at the Spanish Market Preview.
Art dealer Leslie Flint and husband William Talbot.
Nance Lopez and noted santero and metalsmith, Ramon Jose Lopez.
Grandmother Priscilla Lupe, Evelyn Mach and Joelle Mach, visiting collectors from Texas.
Shoe maven Guadalupe Goler shopping with Lleta Scoggins.
Collectors Ed and Sylvia Sierra of Katy, Texas.
Curator and writer, Penelope Hunter-Stiebel and art dealer, Gerald G. Stiebel.
Michelle Menotti and Spanish Colonial Arts judge, Joan Caballero.
David Setford, Executive Director of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society.
Elliott Anderson and Jayne Cotton.