“Canyon Road is in flux right now—more than locals might realize,” says Sandy Zane. “It’s on the cusp of a contemporary revolution.” As owner of form & concept and Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, Zane has worked for years to foster a strong contemporary arts scene in the city’s Railyard District. Now she’s opening a dynamic new business on Canyon Road, and is determined to help turn the tide in the notoriously traditional gallery district. Canyon Road Creatives, located at 826 Canyon Road, is a national hub for highly unconventional arts workshops. Zane brings together instructors for the first round of workshops at a free open house event on Saturday, July 21 from noon to 5 pm.
“We’ve been doing these spectacular artist demonstrations at form & concept, and wanted a way to present more of those dynamic moments where an artistic process is revealed,” Zane says. form & concept, which opened in the Railyard in May 2016, blends art, craft and design disciplines in a boundary-shattering exhibition and event program. As Zane conceptualized Canyon Road Creatives with local artist Bunny Tobias, they were guided by this resolutely mixed-media philosophy. “In short, things have gotten weird, which is just how we like it,” Tobias explains. “These workshops are designed to spark powerful contemporary dialogues. You’ll leave with new skills and artwork, but also with a head full of fresh ideas.”
Since the soft opening of Canyon Road Creatives in early June, the space has hosted a number of innovative workshops. Renata Gaul and Francesca Rodriguez Sawaya taught weaving and coding in a class presented by the Currents New Media Festival. Solange Roberdeau introduced students to the process of gilding on fabric, paper and wood. Pat Chapman shared her expertise in sculpting with a papier mâché-clay hybrid, and Tobias presided over an epic, multi-round game of exquisite corpse.
Upcoming Canyon Road Creatives workshops are just as varied, as is the slate of instructors. Some of the teachers are represented artists at form & concept, while others hail from across the nation and the world. “There’s essentially no limit to what we can do,” says Zane. “The space is versatile, the artists we’re working with are enormously talented, and the demand for programming like this is strong.”
Canyon Road Creatives is located at 826 Canyon Road, a historic adobe home that’s a few doors up from El Farol Restaurant and across from The Teahouse. Zane owns the building, and previously provided it to Santa Fe Community College’s student-run Red Dot Gallery. When SFCC closed the art space, Zane knew she wanted to keep its educational mission alive in some way. It’s well-suited for workshops, with multiple rooms for classes, a living room with a vast library of art periodicals, and a full kitchen. Zane and Tobias have even bigger plans for the space: they’re working on the plans for an artist residency and exhibition schedule.
Zane sees her new workshop venue as part of a larger wave of new, game-changing art spaces and projects on Canyon Road. Just next door is the Beals & Co. Showroom, a space that’s directed by Bobby Beals and exhibits experimental work by local, emerging artists. Farther up Canyon Road, Pilar Law’s Edition One Gallery presents one-off prints by early-to-late-career photographers. At the base of Canyon Road, galleries such as OTA Contemporary and Peters Projects have resolutely contemporary exhibition programs. “There’s a new contingent forming,” says Zane. “Over the coming months and years, it’s bound to coalesce into something that profoundly shifts the culture of Santa Fe.”