Neighborhood to Watch: Santa Fe

Across the tracks

For many visitors to Santa Fe, the style capital of the Southwest, all paths lead to Canyon Road and the Plaza, two hubs where Mexican, Spanish, Native American, and Anglo culture converge. But beyond those tourist-packed streets is a new mecca: the Historic Railyard District, which stretches from Montezuma Street along the old railroad adjacent to the Guadalupe Street business zone. Art and antiques galleries and interior-design shops have taken root here in renovated warehouses. Now this gritty, 50-acre industrial area is buzzing with frontierlike excitement.

SITE Santa Fe, one of the Southwest's best contemporary art venues, was the neighborhood trailblazer. Occupying a cavernous old beer storehouse that resembles a hip Manhattan gallery, SITE shows the works of avant-garde artists like Bill Viola, Gary Simmons, and Mona Hatoum, and curates exhibitions based on themes (such as the influence of architecture and design on modern art). Nearby Santa Fe Clay is dedicated to the world's best ceramic art, and El Museo Cultural promotes works from Hispanic northern New Mexico. If paintings are what you seek, Tarman Galleries trades in landscapes by 20th-century New Mexico artists like Gustave Baumann and Fremont Ellis.

Santa Fe may be a small city, but it's a worldly one—and the full breadth of its outlook is on display throughout the neighborhood. Bosshard Gallery overflows with items of fascinating provenance—towering gilt Buddhas ($3,000-$56,000) and Dutch colonial cabinets made in Indonesia ($3,000-$10,000). Asian Adobe specializes in Ming-style Chinese furniture (a painted temple cabinet costs $15,500). In close proximity is Casa Nova, which stocks colorful tableware by contemporary African artists (botanical-inspired dishes by Cape Town's Kate Carlyle run $68 to $400 apiece), and at Recollections, Kateryna VanHeisch offers 19th-century gilded venetian sconces ($1,540) as well as an antique Native American headdress ($2,200).

Address Book

EL MUSEO CULTURAL At 1615B Paseo de Peralta, 505-992-0591

SANTA FE CLAY At 1615 Paseo de Peralta, 505-984-1122

SITE SANTA FE At 1606 Paseo de Peralta, 505-989-1199

ASIAN ADOBE At 530 S. Guadalupe St., 505-992-6846

BOSSHARD GALLERY At 340 Read St., 505-989-9150

CASA NOVA At 530 S. Guadalupe St., 505-983-8558

RECOLLECTIONS At 530 S. Guadalupe St., 505-988-4775

TARMAN GALLERIES At 343 W. Manhattan Ave., 505-983-2336