Art is hard. Buying art for other people is even harder. Additionally, it's best not to "inflict"—as SFR columnist Zane Fischer brusquely puts it—your own art on other people unless, of course, you're an artist. While there's no accounting for taste, you can at least count on holiday art shows to offer not only a wide range of art, but also prices.
For your holiday shopping convenience, we present a few of Santa Fe's holiday shows, as well as which types of people on your gift list we think they'd best accommodate.
Santa Fe Clay
Holiday sale: 3-8 pm Friday, Dec. 3. La Mesa reception: 5-7 pm Friday, Dec. 10; through Jan. 15. Free. Santa Fe Clay, 545 Camino de la Familia, 984-1122
For Santa Fe Clay's holiday sale, more than 30 resident artists and students sell their work, which includes all kinds of ceramics, from low fire to high fire, handmade to wheel-thrown. Artists are as experienced as professionals and as young as age 7—this is a plus, for some of the more sentimental among us—so you know there's range in the quality and price. During the holiday sale, add in the fun of food, entertainment and door prizes. The following week, check out La Mesa, a 100-foot banquet table of an exhibition. That's right, the entire table is fitted with place settings and centerpieces in every imaginable style. Surely, one of the settings will look nice on the table of a loved one—if they have a table, that is.
Personality types: mothers, grandmothers, people who don’t wipe their mouths on their sleeves (or do, if you’re into improving others), bachelor brothers who eat everything out of one bowl
Chalk Farm Gallery
Jingle Dog Christmas Event: after Canyon Road farolito walk Friday, Dec. 24. $5-$10. 729 Canyon Road, 983-7125
Before you attend the yearly swarm that is the Canyon Road farolito walk, pick up jingle bell bracelets at Chalk Farm. Go back to the Farm after the winter wind has turned you into an ice block so you can warm up and, more importantly, raise money for a new northern New Mexico animal sanctuary. There are food, drinks, Christmas karaoke and even a costume contest for children for the best fairy/angel/Christmas character. As for the art, that’s supplied by a kids’ Christmas-themed drawing competition. There are talented youngsters around these parts, so don’t knock it ’til you see their work. Additionally, a CD of the event will be created for purchase in case you want to share youth with others.
Personality types: empty nesters, pet lovers, dreamers
Winter Spanish Market
9 am-4 pm Saturday and Sunday Dec. 4 and 5. Free. Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy St., 982-2226
For the 22nd Annual Winter Spanish Market, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art presents 100 nationally recognized New Mexican artists, whose juried handmade work is swaddled in Hispanic culture. This year sees "contemporary expressions," in which artists display new takes—such as the inclusion of modern subject matter—on traditional Spanish colonial art. You can get a new spin on your retablos, tin work, bultos, colchas, straw appliqué and, even, furniture. Don't fear: There are plenty of the classics around, as well. The work is heavy on the religious iconography, but you don't have to be religious to enjoy it.
Personality types: history buff uncle/favorite teacher, Catholic grandma, Protestant college
roommate who inexplicably wears rosaries, friends with unfurnished houses
Winter Indian Market
9 am-5 pm Saturday, Nov. 27; 10 am-4 pm Sunday, Nov. 28. $5. Robert Mirabal concert: 1 pm Sunday, Nov. 28. $15, includes market admission. Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy St., 983-5220
This year's Winter Indian Market programming includes Inside the Artists' Studios, demonstrations by eight artists in a number of different media, including painting, wood carving, jewelry, sculpture and more. As a result, you can give a gift along with backstory on how it was made. A total of 130 Native artists were chosen to show their work in an event much more selective than the summer Indian Market, which includes more than 1,000 artists. Additionally, there's a holiday concert by Taos Pueblo artist and flautist Robert Mirabal, a silent auction and a "Fashion Row," which includes the work of Native fashion designers, so all your bases are covered.
Personality types: in-laws from Texas (not Austin) who visit too frequently, stylish women and men who don’t mind showing a little turquoise, contemporary Native art aficionados
Eggman and Walrus
Eggnog and Walnuts holiday show: 6-10 pm Friday Dec. 10. Free. Installation through Jan. 8, 2011. Eggman and Walrus, 130 W. Palace Ave. (second floor), 660-0048
Santa Fe's newly opened experimental gallery gets festive with Eggnog and Walnuts, a holiday show and winter installation that features numerous New Mexico artists, including those from arts collective Meow Wolf. In addition to "food, drink, music and merriment" provided by the folks at E&W, there's a silent auction of donated work. Choose from jewelry, ornaments, wearable art and other handcrafted pieces, and expect work that is a step outside of the ordinary. Part of the profits benefits Court Appointed Special Advocates, a nonprofit that provides advocates for children in the foster care system, so your gifts give even more.
Personality types: those damn kids, non-traditionalists that like the holidays, fashionable daughter/niece