Monday, September 25, 2023

Touring Turquoise

National Scenic Byway Art Tour Offers a Chance to See “Creatives in Their Habitat”


Just outside Albuquerque’s city limits lies a stretch of highway that offers nearly year-round stunning views and for two weekends in September art collectors—or just art lovers—can enjoy the natural beauty while also taking a self-guided tour of artists-at-work in their studios along that stretch.

Jennifer Box, the Director of the upcoming Turquoise Trail Studio Tour, told The Paper. the tour provides the unique opportunity to see “creatives in their natural habitat.” This year the tour includes 36 studios and 49 artists. Tour dates are 10am-5pm on September 23-24 and September 30-October 1.

Starting at the tour’s gateway in Tijeras, the backdrop is the famed 65-mile Turquoise Trail that follows State Highway 14 and connects the outskirts of Santa Fe with Albuquerque. This old historic route is officially designated as a National Scenic Byway. Over the years the trail’s striking blue skies, hundred-mile views and high desert hills have created an inspiring mecca for artists.

A cooperative community along the trail has been created by local studio artists.

“We have meetings throughout the year, so we're always together building for the next studio tour,” Box explained. “We're also checking out each other's studios so we know everyone’s work and can recommend it if someone asks.”

The studio art ranges from outdoor sculptures of monumental scale to jewelry, painting, fiber art, pottery, glass, steel, ceramic sculpture, found objects and recycled art, photography and more.

“Last year everyone was very impressed with the caliber of artists on the tour. Many of the artists are seasoned veterans and some are nationally known and exhibit internationally,” Box said. “A requirement to participate is they have to be a New Mexico artist and have an affiliation to the Turquoise Trail.”

Almost all of the artist’s studios on the tour are a few miles off of the Turquoise Trail itself.

“We have a really diverse group of artists and it’s fun to see the different studios that tend to be a live-work space. A lot of artists have acreage out here in the county, so they're able to make really diverse, creative spaces,” Box said.

Maps of the tour are available at all studios, but as cell phone service can be spotty along the trail, previewing to research artists and printing a map is advised. Tour goers can also stop at the first studios at either end of the tour for a free map and brochure listing the studios and the tour’s sponsors.


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