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Welcome to the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts

The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts is dedicated to increasing public awareness, education, and appreciation of indigenous art through its programs, exhibitions, and individual study. The Coe emphasizes hands-on experience, learning through actively engaging art—the collection you can touch. The Coe’s collection represents worldwide indigenous cultures, with its core encompassing the span of historic to contemporary North American Native works.


Through March 30 see the exhibition

Catch-22: Paradox and Paper

Catch 22: Paradox on Paper, a selection of provocative works of contemporary art on paper from the collection of retired New York school teacher Edward J. Guarino, guest curated by Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke). This exhibition offers a discourse on paper regarding the paradoxes of living and working as contemporary artists of Native descent. While each artist in the exhibition addresses these issues through their own personal identity and practice, the conversations between the works of art convey a compelling image of art-making today. Artists include Rose Simpson, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Jason Garcia, Jaune Quick-to-see Smith and Diego Romero, as well as select pieces by leaders of an earlier generation such as T.C. Cannon and Rick Bartow. Works range from Shan Goshorn and Sarah Sense’s modern adaptations of weaving and basketry that create textural and psychological statements on materiality, identity, and process or Eliza Naranjo-Morse’s conceptual self-portraits, all opening up a space of paradox and complexity.

Guest curator Nina Sanders’ artist-focused approach to these works thoughtfully emphasizes the artist’s process in the midst of life’s contradictions. She writes, “These individuals exercise their personal agency and practice indigenous resilience by rendering their thoughts and experiences into their work. Each individual artist’s idiosyncratic capacity to process life’s contradictions results in a wealth of captivating and meaningful contemporary art. I believe these 22 works are a manifestation of the complexity and paradoxical nature of Native peoples’ lives as they exist today. Each work is a personal story, a layering of observations, thoughts, hopes, and feelings.”

Edward J. Guarino is an author, educator, lecturer, and collector specializing in Native American and Inuit Art. He writes a monthly column on Native art and culture for the King Galleries of Scottsdale website. His work has also appeared in Native Peoples magazine and the magazine produced for the Heard Museum Indian Market. Works from the Edward J. Guarino Collection have been exhibited at the following institutions: the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe; the Brooklyn Museum; the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario; the Art Gallery of Alberta; the Esker Foundation, Calgary; the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College; the National Museum of the American Indian, NYC; and the Venice Biennale.

Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), is an educator, writer, and museum professional. She worked for the National Museum of the American Indian curating a collection of historic Crow photographs for the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive, and works as a liaison for the Crow Tribal Culture Department. Nina works as a museum consultant and is leading a project to build a museum on the Crow reservation. Nina has written for the Smithsonian Magazine online, the Smithsonian’s Collections Online, and First American Art Magazine.

Please stay tuned for programs associated with this exhibition or join our E-mailing list for the announcements by contacting us at

Please visit us—it's FREE!
Every First Friday of the month, 1-4 pm, visit us for a behind the scenes experience of our collection of over 2,000 works of global indigenous art. Meet our staff and learn more about who we are and what we do.

OPEN HOURS: We are flexible, so whether is it a last minute spur- of-the-moment visit or planning far in advance—all are welcome, so please give us a call at (505) 983-6372 or email at We look forward to seeing you soon.

Our programs change frequently, so please check back with us or join our mailing list for announcements.

Online at Plains Ledger Art (PILA), you can see this amazing, but fragile Ralph T. Coe Center collection ledger drawing book. Created in the 1880's, the ledger book features striking images of courting scenes, soldiers, and Cheyenne warriors - many who are identified by name glyphs! This is certainly a book of artistic and historical significance.

Our sincerest gratitude goes out to the Plains Indian Art Project for making this possible — Thank you!

The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent of the Internal Revenue Code. Please donate now online, or checks can be mailed to the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts 1590 B Pacheco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505. We thank you very much for your support.

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