Coe Center’s No Records puts youth curators first
Each year, Coe Center for the Arts’ Creative Director Bess Murphy hits up area schools looking for a promising crop of would-be youth curators with a goal of organizing a show using the center’s collection. According to Murphy, the program checks a lot of requisite boxes for students who need experience in hands-on volunteering, interning, mentorships and so on, and it also goes a long way toward demystifying arts stewardship, exhibition and history.
“This is our eighth year doing this program, and it’s open to any high school kid in Santa Fe,” Murphy explains. “I visit as many schools as I can coordinate at the beginning of the school year, and it’s a free program.”
This year’s result is No Records, a show culled from the Coe Center’s collection of more than 2,300 Indigenous arts pieces and comprised of sculpture, beadwork, fashion, weaving and more—and one centered around the idea that sometimes provenance is un-knowable. Many of the show’s pieces, says youth curator, multimedia aritst and New Mexico School for the Arts senior Cruz Davis-Martinez, lost their history at some point, and that common thread inspired him and his fellow participants to lean into the idea of origin.
“We had free rein to pretty much form any fixation on any object, whether it was from a time period or country, and in my group, we noticed...some didn’t have a known history,” Davis-Martinez tells SFR. “This provides a sense of ambiguity and makes the viewer ponder; it’s interesting because as we try to connect the puzzle pieces on our own, whether subconsciously or not, we wonder what specific objects were used for what purpose? Did they have a utilitarian purpose, or did they just exist as an art piece? It can be art for art’s sake.”
We do, as a people, tend to search for utilitarian facets to historical art pieces, but Davis-Martinez’s position that art can be for beautification, consideration or even just escapism is intriguing. In the show’s brochure, he states that, as a collector of vintage Barbies, not knowing the history of an artifact can be just as interesting as it is challenging.
“The reality is that, for institutions that steward collections, this is not unusual,” Murphy notes. “And sometimes when you’re storing Indigenous collections, there’s information that we as the stewards can’t know and should never know.”
For Cruz, who curated alongside students from NMSA, the Academy for Technology and Classics and Santa Fe High, staying receptive is key.
“Through this year at the Coe, we learned what it was to be with these pieces and to be comfortable with that unknowing,” he says. “As long as we approach whatever it is with an open mindset, I think that’s integral.” (Alex De Vore)
No Recordings Opening: 5:30 pm Friday, May 13. Free. Coe Center for the Arts, 1590 B Pacheco St., (505) 983-6372
The last iteration of local writer and editor Bucket Siler’s Santa Fe Zine Fest went down in 2019, in the before times. Now, however, with things looking up all the time (for public health matters, anyway), Siler’s back on the case and bringing the event back to life at Wise Fool New Mexico. Oh, did you not know Wise Fool has an excellent community space? Meanwhile, back in the zine world, Siler’s got a killer lineup of zinesmiths this year, including Kate Stringer, Orianna Lee, Raashan Ahmad, Cuidado, Project Phenomena and more. It’s pretty much the best place to find passion projects from locals and visitors with the fortitude to write, draw, photograph and otherwise assemble homemade books for a discerning audience. Oh, to be young again. (ADV)
Santa Fe Zine Fest: 2-4 pm Satuday, May 14. Free. Wise Fool New Mexico, 1131 Siler Road B, (505) 992-2588
The End...For Now
Considering we were all watching major cultural events through our laptops and iPads not too long ago, that the Santa Fe Symphony managed to mount such a successful 37th season this year seems no small feat. But, as they say, all good things must end, and folks who enjoy jamz from long-beloved or contemporary producers as played by a massive group of musicians will have to wait until next year to get back to that. For now, find the Santa Fe Symphony closing its current season with works by Mendelssohn, Ives and Brahms. Should be a banger, colloquially speaking, and yet another reminder that Santa Fe somehow has all this cultural stuff like a big town. (ADV)
Santa Fe Symphony Season Finale: 4 pm Sunday, May 15. $22-$80. Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W San Francisco St., (505) 988-1234
Hold onto your butts, because we’re just about to hit Santa Fe’s season of markets, concerts, parties, jamz, BBQs, celebrations and fests, and we can think of no better way to kick the whole thing off than at the Indigenous Ways Festival at Villa Linda Park (that’s the one right by the Santa Fe Place Mall, which will always be Villa Linda to us). Find a whole slew of events throughout the day, including a performance from jazz and blues guitarist Lakota John and Native/Japanese singer Ishi. You’ll also experience drum circles, a well-being event, poetry, ceremony, food trucks and more. Other highlights include appearnces from activist/poet Beate Tsosie-Peña, Tauz TamuPovi and other local Indigenous leaders—and more events are coming all summer. (ADV)
IndigenousWays Festival: 5-8 pm Wednesday, May 18. Free. Villa Linda Park, 4246 Rodeo Road, indigenousways.org