Pulitzer Prize-winning writer N. Scott Momaday received the 2019 Ken Burns American Heritage Prize at a ceremony held May 1 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The prize was presented by American Prairie Reserve, a nonprofit organization that has a three-million-acre wildlife conservation area in northeastern Montana.

The New Mexico History Museum is planning some upgrades to its lobby, to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars. The museum, having yet to mark its decade anniversary, doesn’t quite have the pedigree of its Palace Avenue neighbor — so the reason why the upgrades, which will include a makerspace and new signage, are necessary is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Maybe you remember what happened when the Pevensie children from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe returned to the magical land of Narnia in Prince Caspian, the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Although only a year had passed in their native England, the children found that 1,300 years had passed in Narnia. 

Meow Wolf, the once ragtag band of like-minded artists, is going global — at least multistate. They’ve told the story of their humble beginnings via a new documentary, and now the menagerie on display at its 20,000-square-foot building at 1352 Rufina Circle moves into the next era of its existence.

New media has a leg up on the phantoms of the digital world — you know, those files you can’t hold in your hands and can’t feel and that exist only as a series of zeros and ones in an invisible cloud that is no cloud and is located nowhere. That might be oversimplifying the digital realm, but new media, which includes digital but is not limited to it, has substance.

In September, the city presented plans to the public for the construction of a tunnel beneath St. Francis Drive, intended to provide safe passage for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the six-lane highway. The nearly $4 million project connects the Railyard with the Acequia Trail Easement at the intersection of St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road.

Santa Fe’s multitude of museums, galleries, shops, restaurants, and other businesses and organizations tied to the art and culture scene in New Mexico contribute $5.6 billion to the state’s economy annually. It isn’t a shock to consider, then, that the city would spend $900,000 on Tourism Santa Fe’s new marketing campaign to draw visitors.

On April 11, The New Mexican published a “Reader View” that was written by Tisa Gabriel, a former director of the New Mexico Arts division of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), and James Rutherford, a former director of the Governor’s Gallery. At issue was a proposal, buried deep in the House version of Senate Bill 159, that would appropriate two and a half million dollars in funds from New Mexico Arts’ Art in Public Places program (AIPP).

As I sit under the Cross of the Martyrs, a monument commemorating the death of Franciscan friars and Spanish colonists during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, I wonder why there’s nothing that remembers the four Pueblo Indians whose deaths, by order of Juan Francisco Treviño, New Mexico’s governor from 1675 to 1679, helped spur the uprising in the first place. My thoughts then turn to public art, and I begin to ponder why so much of it in Santa Fe is so bad. 

If you happened to see USA Today’s Readers’ Choice online contest for travel that invited vistors to vote on the nation’s best art districts, you may have been surprised to see Santa Fe’s Railyard on the list as a contender. It isn’t that the area doesn’t merit visiting. Many would say, to the contrary, that there are always things worth checking out there. 

“State of the Arts” is a column that addresses the changing artistic landscape in Santa Fe and what it means for struggling, emerging, and established artists and their representatives.