Spanish Market preview honors artists

SANTA FE, NM – The Opening Night Preview Party for Spanish Market 2015 was “meant to be a friend raiser, not a fundraiser,” according to Spanish Colonial Arts Society grande jefe David Sedford, so the emphasis is not high on making money out of the event. This is a time to honor the artists, kick off the market, and see the best works in the show, in advance and in a comfortable setting. And have a good time!

Some 1,300 close friends of the Society attended the early Friday evening exposition, which showed the crème de la crème of Spanish Market weekend’s offerings. By now, the judging was over, the ribbons given out, the treasures decided, but nothing is allowed to be sold on this occasion, no money may change hands.

However, avid collectors choose the apple of their eye, so they’ll know at which booth to be first in line by 6 a.m. (some at 5). Some artists erect sign-up sheets to prove who really was first in line, but they can’t take a check until the cathedral bells ring at 8 a.m. I heard of an altercation this year between two dueling collectors who both wanted the same piece from Arthur Lopez’s booth, and another skirmish over at Gregory Segura’s. Almost had a duel like in the Ol’ West in Santa Fe!

The big winners of the evening’s judging were the family of Ramon José Lopez, who won the collaborative award, and son Bo Lopez, who carried off the grand prize for his stunning silver candlesticks. Then they had to close Palace Avenue to wheel Ramon’s enormous clerestory window up to the Plaza. Traffic stands still in Santa Fe for Spanish Market.

This Market began with a few tables spread in front of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1926, with several years’ time out for the Depression and World War II. I heard the rumor that Monica Sosaya Halford was the longest participating exhibitor, having shown at Spanish Market since 1979 and still going strong with her charming, brightly colored retablos, but Monica modestly demurs the distinction. “I am the oldest in years at 84½; I have one foot in the grave and one on the banana peel! But Juanito, John Jiminez, is the longest participating exhibitor.”

Sure enough, he says he has been doing it since 1972 and, in 2004, won the Lifetime Achievement Award. His prolific work is shown in four categories now – Retablos, Precious Metals, Innovations within Traditions and Furniture – and he is very proud to have “brought the tradition outside of New Mexico” as the only santero to have ever been a guest on Good Morning America.

Next time you’re at the Sanctuario in Chimayó, take note of the Stations of the Cross on the walls: Juanito’s! That might be on your way to one of the classes he still teaches at Ghost Ranch, or throughout the state … which matches the Society’s motto: to preserve and promote Spanish Colonial Art and to educate the public.

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


Karen Billings of Las Cruces looks serene at the preview party.



Sean Wells enjoys some liquid refreshment.


Elizabeth Boekman came from Dallas for the preview night.



Nora Fisher and Rob Coffland get a preview of traditional Spanish Colonial art.


Artist Andrew Garcia and Kat Lewis smile for the camera.



Jim and Ellen Hubbell relax in style.


John Pen LaFarge and Sana Morrow get ready for Spanish Market.



David Setford is executive director of the Spanish Colonial Art Society.


David and Torie Warner Shepard stay close.


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