TEA Explores Santa Fe

NOurish Your Creative Spirit

Discover a creative destination as rich in arts and culture as it is in natural splendor. Take heart, creative spirits: Santa Fe might just be the inspiration you’ve been craving.   

Nestled at the base of the ruggedly inspiring Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe, New Mexico elevates visitors in more ways than one. Since its founding more than 400 years ago, the “City Different” has carved out a rich cultural identity unlike any other U.S. destination. The historic New Mexico capital proudly fuses European and Native American heritage, and boasts global acclaim for its art galleries, distinct pueblo-style architecture, and regional cuisine. With its crisp mountain air and expansive artistic spirit, Santa Fe offers a hub of inspiration for adventure-seekers and creative explorers alike.


Here’s a two-day itinerary of Santa Fe experiences that will open your mind, nourish your soul, and forever elevate the way you engage. 


Images: Samuel Beam

Stagecoach Foundation

Our adventure will begin at the headquarters of the Stagecoach Foundation.  Seeking to attract more film productions to New Mexico and create new opportunities for local youth, Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin, created the Stagecoach Foundation in 2017.  The Foundation’s Executive Director, Marisa Xochtl Jimenez, will talk about the educational, mentorship, and career development programs being offered to youth from underserved rural and tribal communities who would otherwise not have the access to, or the resources to afford such training.  With opportunities that range from acting to production, and from construction to accounting, the Foundation is helping to open doors into the film and other creative industries.

Images: Jason S. Ordaz

IAIA Campus

The next stop on our City Different tour will be the new 140 acre campus of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA).  Originally established by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1962, IAIA became one of only three congressionally chartered colleges in the United States in 1986. IAIA focuses on the study, preservation, and further development of Native American language, literature, oral traditions, and the visual and performing arts. Today the institute offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees and attracts students from across the country and around the world. Many students come from tribal communities and are the first in their family to see college as realistic option. While touring the college’s art studios, we will meet the talented student artists working there and hear the amazing stories behind their art. We will also learn about how the involvement of some well-known Disney Imagineers has already enabled a handful of IAIA graduates to bring their talents to the Themed Entertainment Industry.

Images: Molly Ashmore


When it comes time to dine in Santa Fe, you’ll have a bounty of mouthwatering Southwestern cuisine to spice things up. We can choose from so many options, here are a few nearby - let's choose one.

Images courtesy of Jean Cocteau Cinema

Jean Cocteau Cinema

We will start the afternoon with a tour of the Jean Cocteau Cinema.  After closing in 2006, this beloved indie movie theater was purchased, renovated, and reopened by George R. R. Martin.  In addition to films the theater now hosts community events, author talks, musical performances, art exhibitions, and even magic and variety shows from around the world.  Our tour will include a talk about the challenges of restoring and reopening a historic theater, a Q & A session, and of course a little popcorn.

Images: Jason S. Ordaz

Dinner at IAIA Gallery

We will spend Thursday evening at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts housed in the historic Santa Fe Federal Building and operated by IAIA.  The museum showcases contemporary art from noted Native artists across North America, as well as students and alumni of IAIA. Our evening will start with a guided tour through the museum that highlights some of the emotional, joyous, painful, irreverent, and even humors stories that are told by works of art currently on display.  

The evening will conclude with dinner in the museum’s courtyard and a live performance by an accomplished native flute player from the nearby Taos Pueblo.  Dinner will be will be a combination of both native and native inspired dishes and there will be a short talk about the history of native cuisine.  Vegetarian and vegan options will be available.



Images courtesy of Meow Wolf Santa Fe

Meow Wolf Santa fe

If you’ve never been to Meow Wolf, brace yourself!  Winner of a 2017 TEA Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement, Meow Wolf has been described as the combination of a jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum, and immersive art exhibit.  Meow Wolf has reinvented location-based attractions through non-linear storytelling, technology-infused interactivity, and multimedia hands-on art. TEA Member, and Meow Wolf founder, Vince Kadlubek will take us on a behind the scenes tour and talk about the history and future of Meow Wolf.

Images: VenueMaps.net, Nicole Franzen, Isabel Oakley, Simone Chen (@minismores)


Another day in Santa Fe means another chance to wow your taste buds. 

Images courtesy of SITE Santa Fe

site santa fe

Site Santa Fe is a contemporary art museum based on the biennial model of exhibition.  Site Santa Fe has built an international reputation for their experimental and innovative curatorial approaches.  During our visit we will hear about the current exhibit as well as the museums recently completed renovation and expansion project.


Images courtesy of Coyote Cafe

Santa Fe’s colorful nightlife is at its peak on Friday evenings.  Those who choose to extend their stay into the weekend may choose to participate in the Historic Santa Fe Railyard Art Walk, browse the over 100 galleries and boutiques on Canyon Road, grab a green chile cheeseburger at Cowgirl BBQ, or go all in with a prickly pear margarita at one of the many hotspots downtown.


Images: Courtesy of the Town of Taos, TAOS.org, Atif Bhanjee, @giantstepstec, @brittnyism

For those ready for some weekend adventure, the beautiful landscape surrounding Santa Fe is a wonderland of natural beauty, anthropological treasures, and outdoor adventure.  

Artistic Exploration

Visit the nearby art colony of Taos, where you can soak in majestic scenery and explore over 1,000 years of tradition at the Taos Pueblo.

Outdoor Adventure

Embark on a whitewater rafting adventure along the Rio Grande, or ride off into the idyllic Santa Fe sunset on horseback. Wherever your Santa Fe story takes you, inspiration is sure to find you.

Eclectic Charm

Follow the scenic Turquoise Trail (Highway 14) to nearby Madrid, New Mexico. Here you’ll find a colorful ghost-town-turned-creative-hub surrounded by timeless natural beauty. Home to more than 40 unique art galleries, local turquoise jewelers, artisan shops, and cozy spots to grab a hot bite or a cold local brew, Madrid is where off-the-beaten-path leads to creative bliss. 


Nestled in among the pinion and junipers just outside Santa Fe is the Ten Thousand Wave spa.  Inspired by Japanese thermal spas, this unique retreat has been built and refined over the last 37 years. Wood, stone, and sky combine to create a serene setting for deep relaxation and rejuvenation.