Harvest of color at Dixon Studio Tour

The 37th annual festival features 44 artistic stops along the Embudo Valley

By Dena Miller
Posted 11/1/18

Every season has its traditions, and autumn has more than its share. Homecomings, harvests, pumpkins and the enticing aroma of hot spiced apple cider share the crisp fall air with a …

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Harvest of color at Dixon Studio Tour

The 37th annual festival features 44 artistic stops along the Embudo Valley


Every season has its traditions, and autumn has more than its share. Homecomings, harvests, pumpkins and the enticing aroma of hot spiced apple cider share the crisp fall air with a backdrop of rusts and golds that herald the change from summer to fall, fall to winter.

It's also the season to head towards Embudo Valley, where one of the region's best-loved traditions will take place this week.

The 37th annual Dixon Studio Tour is scheduled, as always, the first full weekend of November. On Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 3-4) you can visit dozens of art studios in Dixon and the surrounding villages of Embudo, Rinconada, Apodaca, and Cañoncito. The hours for each day of the festival are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Artist Sheena Cameron, proprietor of Rare Earth Gallery in Rinconada and spokesperson for the tour, said, "Artists, craftspeople, and local businesses will be displaying their wares at the 44 stops shown on our map," which can be downloaded at, or picked up from merchants across the area. "In addition, there will be three independently operated mercados in Dixon where many of our residents will be offering their handmade crafts."

"We will have old favorite artists returning, some of whom have been participating in the tour for all or most of its 37 years," Cameron said, but "we will have many new artists who have been drawn in very different directions from their previous work. We're pleased to have added stone carver Ron Klinger, stone and glass artist Brian Barreto, and 'transcendental' sculptor Pranav Evenson to our group of sculptors."

Other must-see new participants are Meda Bitterman, showing mixed media, collage and interactive art, and Gaibi Rugsaken, who creates wood-burned mandalas, Cameron noted. Tania Marines' floral creations, crafted from locally grown and wild-crafted plants, add a warming touch to your living space while Mesa Ruiz's traditional micaceous clay pottery, cookware and cups would be welcome additions to any kitchen.

Clustered along State Roads 68 and 75 with turnoffs from each, your meanderings will take you to these artists and over 40 more. "Visitors, I hope, will understand this isn't a craft fair in the sense of those words. These are working fine artists and their specialties span the gamut from sculpture to fabric arts to jewelry, pottery and everything in between."

There's hardly a better way to spend the weekend than exploring off-the-beaten-path locales while doing some early holiday shopping (don't forget something for yourself), sampling locally sourced food and freshly pressed cider and stopping by a winery or brewery to discover your new favorite libation.

And, rather than being overwhelmed by the sheer number of offerings on the tour, you may wish to check out "Collected Works," a group show featuring a piece from each of the artists included on the tour. Opening Friday (Nov. 2), the exhibition is located in Dixon's Community Center and will be available for viewing that evening from 5-7 p.m. It's your chance to meet the artists and learn more about their works. The show will remain available throughout the tour during the scheduled daily hours as well.

You'll work up an appetite as you shop and visit and, thankfully, plenty of dining options are available. Zuly's Cafe serves authentic New Mexican food in their restaurant and their espresso bar, also serves wine and beer. The Dixon Co-op Market and its accompanying deli are as renowned for the many local products they feature as they are for their breakfast burritos, sandwiches and pizza, all of which make for a tasty break.

If you'd like to visit a working farm, then stop by La Mesa Organic Farm, owned and operated by this year's tour coordinator and photographer Ron Monsour. This is the first year Monsour will be showing his botanical photography right at his farm while offering the public delicious organic raw apple cider, atole, posole, tortillas and pupusas.

In addition to some of the region's best wines and craft beers, Vivac Winery and Blue Heron Brewing Co. have light bites on their menus, while La Chiripada Winery will introduce you to over 20 varieties of their award-winning wines.

The Dixon Studio Tour is following the decadeslong tradition of naming a theme for the event -- another one of its charms -- and this year the focus is upon "Tools."

"Our map cover is a painting by tour artist Eli Levin of the tools used by tour ceramicist Miya Endo," Cameron said. "Tools become an extension of our hands, heads and hearts. We all have our favorite tools we mourn when they wear out, whether they were our own inventions, adapted from some other purpose or traditional."

Author and farmer Stanley Crawford, whose garlic farm is on the tour, wrote an article for the October 2018, issue of "Local Flavors" in which he said, "Most likely tools will be put away, workshops and studios cleaned up -- but some artists, if asked, might be willing to show off the tools and implements used to create their works … Such visits may conclude with a handshake -- that tool of tools, the one we all take for granted, that opposable thumb miracle of design."

It's a fitting tribute to the many hands in Embudo Valley that are driven by the passion to paint, chisel, carve, embellish, mold or sprout for themselves and others.

This two-day event is located 26.7 miles south of Taos. Take State Road 68 to the Embudo turnoff at State Road 75. Head east and watch for the signs.

Arrive early, and perhaps plan to make a full weekend of your visit. Enjoy the artistic and agricultural roots of this community, so vividly depicted in every stop along the way.

For more information about the Dixon Studio Tour, visit for your map and a list of lodging options. You may also contact Ron Monsour at, or visit the Studio Tour's Facebook page for fun photographs and real-time updates.


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