Art festival

Elegance along the Embudo

Dixon Studio Tour is an autumnal delight now in its 36th year


The Dixon Studio Tour is a work of art unto itself. There is a wide range of artistry and craftsmanship on display, all of which is set amid the stunning autumnal beauty of the Embudo Valley.

The 2017 Dixon Studio Tour takes place Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 4-5), from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. both days. Admission to all stops along the tour are free. For purchases, cash and credit cards are accepted.

The heart of the tour occurs along State Road 68 (Embudo and Rinconada) and State Road 75 (Dixon). This year, there are a total of 42 stops. This enthusiastic participation is a one-of-a-kind mix of artist studios in their homes, galleries, wineries, a brewing company, mercados (markets), restaurants, farms and the Embudo Valley Library.

You can download the studio tour map at Painter Mickey Hale (Stop No. 35) is this year’s chosen cover artist.

Photographer Ron Monsour (Stop No. 26) is serving as this year’s studio tour coordinator. He expresses the spirit of the tour best when he says, “Come on out and check it out –– whether you’re looking to buy or just looking to look.”

His own work is an exciting display of photographic prints on aluminum plates. Of his work, Monsour said, “The whole reason why I do photography in the first place is to capture the beauty I’ve seen. And to be able to share that on metal, gives it a representation I have not seen.”

Indeed, the beauty of the Dixon Studio Tour is that it is open to buyers and browsers alike. That’s because the natural grandeur and the history of the area have always welcomed visitors.

“In its early days, Dixon and the Embudo Valley were both agricultural and commercial hubs for the area,” a press release states. “They were connected to the outside world by the twice daily mixed freight and passenger trains of the narrow gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western Chile Line, which ran from Santa Fe to Antonito, Colorado from 1880 until 1940. While maintaining its centuries-old agricultural roots, the Embudo Valley has emerged as an important center for arts and crafts in Northern New Mexico.”

Truly, the impressive range of arts and crafts on the tour is captivating. With an attempt to summarize, you can find paintings, pottery, jewelry, furniture, sculpture, photography, mixed media, textiles, stone work and metal work.

Many of the artists on the tour are nationally recognized and have been recipients of numerous awards and accolades over the span of their careers. This year is no different. Potter Mesa Ruiz (Stop No. 40) received an Honorable Mention in the Pottery category at the 2017 Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe. A press announcement states that artist Clarence Medina (Stop No. 38) had one of his paintings chosen by New Mexico Tourism as the background for a billboard promotion.

“We have some artists participating for the first time this year, such as Alice Arango (Stop No. 35) and Johnny Hernández (Stop No. 21),” Monsour said. “Jim Vogel is also participating. You can find his work –– along with Clark Case, Nicole DeMaret, and Christine Vogel –– at ManifeStation Arts (Stop No. 7).”

The pace of the tour is not rushed. You will have the opportunity to roll down the window and smell the sage mixed with the falling, crushed leaves of the cottonwoods. The Río Grande and the Embudo River are running clear –– giving the air a feeling of freshness. It is easy to see why the art from this region is so inspired.

Dress for comfort and in good walking shoes, as the Embudo Valley is a rural area. Also dress in layers as the mornings are typically cool while the afternoons warm up considerably. Dixon sits at 6,028-foot elevation; a hat and sun protection are necessities.

Monsour reflects on the variety of visitors the Dixon Studio Tour attracts. People come from all over for this annual event that began in 1982 with just a couple of artists.

“Some people think that all art is only going to the older generation,” he says. “But young art buyers are really starting to get into art. That’s because the face of art is changing and new artists are coming in. They are fresh, and their views of art are a little different.”