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November 16, 2008

Weekend of the Arts

Weekend of the Arts

Wow, I hardly know where to start. We just had the busiest and craziest weekend yet (that's saying something for a weekend at Summit Semester). Trying to cram a play, a concert, countless art galleries, a visit to a bronze foundry, and touring random small towns into one weekend can take some doing. Somehow we pulled it off, though. We did so much that this might end up being the longest blogs yet, but I guess the only way to find out is to start.

We actually started out pretty well. We were only an hour and fifteen minutes late, and the trip down to Santa Fe went off without a hitch. Vans one and two, however, were somewhat curious of the shenanigans of van three. Van three kept sticking a blanket out of the window. Everyone figured they were surrendering, although to whom or what we weren't sure. Finally, Jon Jon (the instigator as usual), informed everyone that it was actually the signal letting everyone else know that van three was ok. Besides this slight misunderstanding amongst comrades, we had a safe and uneventful drive to Santa Fe. After a bit of confusion finding our hotel, we got to spend a couple hours in the plaza area of Santa Fe which is home to dozens of art galleries. We spent the afternoon wandering around on an art scavenger hunt looking for the many styles and artists of the past decades. Later that night, after pizza and class, we reveled in our time with civilization once again, staying up as late as possible.

The next morning we started by visiting Site Santa Fe. This is a gallery of modern art from eighteen artists from around the world. I've never really given much attention to modern art, but Site Santa Fe had quite a few interesting pieces. A short drive later, we were at the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. O'Keeffe was an unbelievable and prolific painter and photographer. One piece particularly impressed me - Nature Forms, Gaspé. It is an abstract work that, at first glance, simply looked like a lot of beautiful colors put together in an attractive, yet meaningless way. After talking to one of the guards and a closer inspection, however, I could see every image, except for bones, that O'Keeffe made the subjects of her other works. I guess that's one of the lessons I learned on the trip: There's so much more to any piece of art than first meets the eye that I shouldn't dismiss a piece after just a cursory glance.

Next, we spent a pleasant afternoon enjoying the sights and sounds of the plaza area of Santa Fe. I ate the best fajita ever at a little fajita stand in the middle of the square (best part - it was only $4!). We wandered in and out of many charming shops and then Tim, Kristina, Abi and I headed back to the many art galleries of Canyon Road. St. Francis of Assisi's cathedral, however, sidetracked us partway there. This beautiful cathedral was under renovation but contained some of the most beautiful stained glass I've ever seen! IMG_3212After a quick picture with Tim by the "Keep of the Grass" sign, we continued on our way. Before the day ended we managed to revisit a gallery that contained the most amazing bronze sculptures I've ever seen. If anyone is interested, the artist's name is Ted Gall. Go online to his website and check-out some of his human face sculptures. After dinner at the Blue Corn Café, it was time for the play, Comedy of Errors, at the College of Santa Fe. Comedy of Errors is a slap-stick comedy from early on in Shakespeare's life. It was hilarious and completely lived up to its name. Finally, we headed home for another late night at the hotel, where we all stayed up posting pictures on facebook.

Saturday we wandered the streets, actually the street, of a small town called Madrid. The street was lined with small art galleries. We strolled from gallery to gallery taking in all the sites and sounds. After regrouping and a short drive, we ended up at the Bronze Shindoni Foundry. The lawns surrounding the foundry were filled with some of the most amazing (and some of the least amazing), bronze sculptures I've seen. At the foundry, we watched a pouring. The waves of heat coming from the melted bronze were unreal. Even from fifteen feet away, it felt like I was standing right next to a blazing camp fire. We finally headed back to the hotel to prepare for our evening on the town.

The evening started off with a delectable meal at a small, but fancy, Italian restaurant near the plaza area. The filet tenderloin meal was worth all $31. The triple chocolate mousse was out of this world. The evening's entertainment was the Kronos Quartet - a group of two violinists, one violist and a cellist. They play some of the hardest music in the world. A short, but chilly walk later, we had arrived at the theatre. The Kronos quartet was amazing. They are some of the most talented musicians I have ever heard! After a double encore, we headed back to the hotel for yet ANOTHER late night.

That evening (morning actually), after one of the best conversations I've had in a while, I managed to get to bed at about two in the morning and catch a few hours of shut-eye before heading to the last gallery later that morning. The final gallery, a room of carving/ paintings by the artist Gaugy, took him thirteen years to complete. It's a massive work of religious art depicting well-known stories of the Bible. The artist (who happened to be there), was very unique in the way he created this work. He spent hours before starting each major section praying, asking God to paint through him. The end result is completely amazing and was the most spectacular work I saw during the whole trip.

Whether hanging out with friends, enjoying the arts, trying to figure out what in the world an artist was trying to say, or learning about each other, the whole trip was unbelievable. I learned a ton in one weekend. I gained a whole new perspective on art. Although I've come back with many more questions about the arts than when I went, I also learned more than I ever thought I would. I grew closer to my fellow students and went to new depths in my friendships with some of them. Also, I just had fun. It was a "shamazing" and fantabulous weekend in Santa Fe.


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