A Thousand Points of Light

Santa Fe Botanical Gardens' GLOW lights up the holidays

Each year, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden undertakes GLOW, a massive installation of light and color that both emphasizes its collection of plants and kicks off the holiday feel-goods in town.

"It's become a tradition in Santa Fe," says Lindsay Taylor, the garden's director of marketing and public relations. "There are the classic events like Las Posadas, the lights on the Plaza and Canyon Road, and it's another alternative for folks."

This year's theme, Cosmic Nights, pays homage to the universe (cue Dr. Who theme), and Taylor says it takes a good chunk of the year to pull the event off.

"Planning begins in July, the installations start in the beginning of November and a team of local artists, staff members and volunteers put it all together," she explains. "We don't really have a specific number of lights or lightbulbs because the majority of the lights are actually lasers."

Additionally, this year's GLOW heralds the garden's first time partnering with a local school for a one-of-a-kind installation. Last spring, the Santa Fe Waldorf School held an in-house design competition between students. Once the judges from the garden chose the winning design, the high-schoolers from grades nine through 12 built and installed the neon array in the gardens. It, too, conjures images of the cosmos, and Taylor says school involvement is a new element the garden hopes to keep in the coming years.

"Especially now that we've seen how this year has gone and how well it's received, it's something we'd like to continue," she says.

Add nightly live music from acts like The Gruve, Pete White and Karina Wilson and the Shiner's Club Jazz Band, among others—plus appearances from St. Nick himself between now and Dec. 23—and you've got yourself an affordably futuristic and seriously awe-inspiring night perfect for the family (or a hot date, probably).

"Wandering around and seeing all the different installations just really gets people in the spirit," Taylor adds.
(Alex De Vore)

GLOW: Cosmic Nights
5-8 pm Friday Dec. 14-Mon. Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 24 and 25). $7.50-$10.
Santa Fe Botanical Garden,
715 Camino Lejo,


Courtesy El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe

Take note, Santa Fe, because two of our very favorite local collectives are joining forces for an evening of spoken word, poetry and more. At I Don't Mean to Offend You, find Alas de Agua and 3 Sisters Collective coming together for staged readings of monologues about micro- and macro-aggressions that non-white people face on a daily basis. Consider it a fun night of written words. Consider it a valuable learning opportunity. Consider it a glimpse into the lives of talented locals who are often faced with thoughtless words the likes of which non-white people really don't have to deal with. The event is facilitated by local artist, writer and Alas de Agua founder Israel Francisco Haros Lopez and celebrated theater champion Tanya Taylor Rubinstein—which makes it worth it alone. (ADV)

I Don't Mean to Offend You: 
7:30 pm Friday Dec. 14. $5-$20 suggestion donation. El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, 555 Camino de la Familia, 992-0591.

A Stitch In Time

Jason Ordaz

In a paper and textile exploration of the Aztec calendar, artist Moira Garcia ties tradition to subversion. She studied printmaking at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and says, "I'm not, by any means, a textile artist. I don't even embroider." The use of fiber, she says, was inspired by how textiles persisted in Indigenous art and culture despite colonization. "The textile arts were things that weren't destroyed; making textiles wasn't prohibited," she says, but fabric still acted as communication. "They're like books," Garcia says; "they tell stories and express cosmology and Indigenous world views." Hear more about Garcia's process and the Aztec calendar at an artist talk, followed by a pop-up shop. (Charlotte Jusinski)

Artist Talk: Moira Garcia:
2 pm Sunday Dec. 16. Free. Exhibition in MOCNA store through Jan. 31. IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 108 Cathedral Place, 983-8900


Courtesy Santa Fe Symphony

We get that Christmas isn't really for everyone, but we also get that the people who do love the holiday are looking to get into it as hard as possible. Enter Santa Fe Symphony's Carols and Choruses, a glorious evening of, well, carols and choruses in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. There's not much more Christmassy than a big ol' church full of people a-wassailing, and we're also pretty sure you're looking for things to do to occupy your kids. Either way, we're hoping they'll do "All Through the Night," because that song is GORGEOUS. So put on that scarf, bone up on your carols and hit the cathedral for some good old-fashioned Christmassing. (ADV)

Santa Fe Symphony: Carols and Choruses: 
7 pm Tuesday Dec. 18. Free.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi,
131 Cathedral Place,