Inhabited for centuries by Native Americans before and after the Spanish settled here in 1692, Abiquiú village is well-known internationally as the home of the renowned painter Georgia O’Keeffe who made it her permanent home. A destination for visitors who come to tour her house in the village and visit nearby Ghost Ranch where she had a studio, the dramatic landscape that inspired her artistry has continued to attract a steadily growing community of traditional and contemporary artists.
On view will be a veritable timeline of arts and traditional crafts from the signature micaceous clay artworks of the region and Native American and Hispanic-inspired pottery, retablos, santos and furniture to contemporary paintings, sculpture, narrative and Southwestern works, photographs, jewelry, glass, ceramics, textiles, and wearable art.
The range and quality of the artworks, the spectacular landscape, and the welcoming atmosphere have made the Abiquiú Studio Tour one of the most well-attended and successful events of its kind. Experience the unique artistry of the region and explore the local color at this annual event. Abiquiú is located on US 84, about one hour’s drive from Santa Fe or Taos.
Historic Local Geography
Geographically, Abiquiú is located 18 miles northwest of Española on US Highway 84,” on a terraced, rocky mesa (elevation 6,060 feet) overlooking the Rio Chama, approximately 20 miles upstream from the confluence of the Rio Chama and the Rio Grande.”
[Alvar W. Carlson, The Spanish-American Homelalnd: Four Centuries in New Mexico’s Rio Arriba, p.160-162.]
The town of Abiquiú Grant was given in 1754 to the Spaniards and Genizaros jointly and is one of the last Spanish-American community grants still functioning and owned by the residents.
In Valley of Shining Stone, The Story of Abiquiú Lesley Poling-Kempes, © 1997 by the University of Arizona Press. This engaging book tells the story and history of Abiquiú, Georgia O’Keeffe in Abiquiú, the Chama Valley, Ghost Ranch and Piedra Lumbre (Shining Stone) from prehispanic days through the present.
In Ghost Ranch, University of Arizona Press (September 1, 2005)Lesley Poling-Kempes tells the story of the celebrated Ghost Ranch conference and retreat center in Abiquiú. She traces its transformation from el Rancho de los Brujos, a hideout for legendary outlaws, to a renowned cultural mecca and one of the Southwest’s premier conference centers. First a dude ranch, Ghost Ranch became a magical sanctuary where the veil between heaven and earth seemed almost transparent. Focusing on those who visited from the 1920s and ’30s until the 1990s, Poling-Kempes tells how O’Keeffe and others—from Boston Brahmin Carol Bishop Stanley to paleontologist Edwin H. Colbert, Los Alamos physicists to movie stars—created a unique community that evolved into the institution that is Ghost Ranch today.
Lesley Poling-Kempes is also the author of The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West and a novel about the Abiquiú region, Canyon of Remembering. She has lived in the Abiquiú regon for more than thirty years.