Way back when I was the features editor of a major metropolitan daily newspaper, I scored a lot of points with the business editor by telling her I thought every story, including the kinds of human-interest pieces my team specialized in, had a latent business angle. This issue of the magazine underlines the point. It’s ostensibly a backgrounder about all the summer-fun things there are to see and do during festival season in New Mexico—art fairs and markets, music fests, lots of annual events like rodeos and powwows in “What’s Happening”. But the subtext to the stories has everything to do with the state’s vital creative economy: its allure for visitors and its impact on the quality of life here.
Warren Malkerson is acutely aware of these dynamics. A Harvard Business School alum who went on to become a top executive at several companies you’ve certainly bought stuff from, he’s now the owner of a photo gallery in Carrizozo that’s on track to become the largest one in the state. I asked him if photography had always been a passion that he was now finally able to pursue in his post-corporate years—his version of the second-career vineyard—and, to my surprise, he said no. He simply decided that such an enterprise had the potential to attract eyeballs and foot traffic to a town he’s adopted and is helping to revive. David Pike’s report—along with Doug Merriam’s photos—tell an almost Capra-esque story of economic development through the arts that’s also a feel-good lifestyle feature. To see for yourself what the “Carrizozo Renaissance” is all about—and I bet you’ll check your calendar to see about attending the first annual Carrizozo Artist Tour and Festival in mid-August. It’s definitely on my radar.
Malkerson and company might well be borrowing a page from the Silver City playbook. The town sponsors a robust roster of cultural events that are a lifeblood of the community, including the CLAY festival from July 27–August 2 (see “From the Ground Up,”). Taos gets in on the act, too, hosting Michael Hearne’s Big Barndance Music Festival September 10–12 (“Bringin’ It All Back Home,” ) and the Taos Arts Festival at the end of next month.
Of course, Santa Fe Indian Market (August 22–23) is the ultimate intersection of culture and commerce, New Mexico–style. It’s the biggest event in the capital annually, and we’ve all heard stories about how artists have traditionally made their nut for the year at the market. John Muller tracked the Romero family of artists from last year’s market and followed their progress toward this year’s. “A Gift from the Wind” introduces four very different artists with the same last name, at various stages of their careers. The result is an illuminating behind-the-scenes look at the creative life and some of the economic factors that play into it.