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“I revisit and bear constantly in mind the objects of my collection to gain new insights.
They are not trophies but instruments of passion, with the power to unexpectedly reveal mysteries.”

– Founder, Ralph T. Coe, 2003

Welcome to the Coe Arts Center

Art that Engages
With over 2,000 objects from around the world, we give you a hands-on experience, connecting with Indigenous peoples throughout history, through the objects they created.

“When you hold a thing you’re there in the moment, of how it was used and how it was made.” Student curator, Oscar Loya

Admission is always free!

Plan your own private tour. We’re open upon request. Let us know your plans and we can make it happen! OR drop by the First Friday of every month from 1-4 pm.

Current and Upcoming Programs

April 3, 6, 9, and 13 Plate-Making Workshops
August 15 Dinner at the Coe
Workshop & Dinner Reservations at Eventbrite

The Coe Center has partnered with Cannupa Hanska Luger, an internationally renowned artist and activist, to create a large scale, interactive artwork, titled FUNCTION. It begins with a series of community workshops, in collaboration with Santa Fe Clay, in which Luger will lead participants in the production of plates concluding with a dinner on August 15, 2019. The dinner will be served family-style at the Coe Center. The making of the plates will be mirrored by the collaborative making of the dinner, led by local chefs and the young people of Youthworks Culinary Arts. At the dinner, participants share food and then at the end of the meal, stand and shatter their dishes on the ground in what Luger calls, “an action of rebellion against the preciousness and driving consumption of art today.” Luger will then grind the remnants into clay grog to be used as a stabilizing tool in his next creations bringing the project full circle. FUNCTION will be simultaneously profound and silly, memorable and ephemeral, triumphant and mundane with the end goal of “turning a table into a bridge.”

Workshops will be held April 3, 6, 9, and 13 at Santa Fe Clay. Ticket are $25 adult; $10 student; free for children under 12 inclusive of both the plate making workshop and the August 15th dinner. More information and reservations at Eventbrite

Event sponsorships and group dinner ticket sales are also available; for more information please contact Bess Murphy, curator, 505.983.6372 or

Exhibition opening at the Ralph T. Coe Center
Friday, May 10, 5-7 pm

This year’s Hands-On Curatorial Program exhibition, Recollective Echo, opens to the public May 10, 5-7pm.

What is storytelling to you? Think about how many stories you've told in your life and how many you’ve heard; throughout the world many stories have been told in their own way, either by art, song, or words. Also, different cultures have their own stories that each hold significant value to them. A story can be told to a group of people and the way that each person receives it may be altered. This is the essence of storytelling. It keeps its original message, but changes with the person. That’s why in our exhibition we are focusing on the notion of storytelling and the many different ways that we can do so.

When we started to discuss our exhibition we realized, the pieces at Ralph T Coe Center have a story to tell. As we acknowledge the object’s own history, we want to take it a step further. To add our own narrative. We want to share our stories and create new ones, adding to the already diverse collection of stories that are present in our world. Recollective Echo, to us, means remembering moments in time, stories and continuing to tell them so that they may go on to be repeated and influential in one’s life.
—Hands-On Curators

The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts’ Hands-On Curatorial Program is in its fifth year working with high school students from the Academy of Technology and the Classics (ATC), the Santa Fe Indian School (SFIS), and the New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA). Returning students Gailene Morgan (Meskwaki Nation & Tesuque Pueblo), Ashlyn Lovato (Santa Clara Pueblo), Aurora Escobedo (Tesuque Pueblo), and Roan Mulholland (ATC) are joined by new members, Lesly Esparza (NMSA) and Veronica Silva (NMSA). The program provides an opportunity for students to work hands-on with the Coe collection of over 2,000 works of indigenous art from around the world. Through museum visits and weekly sessions, the curators learn how to create their own exhibition from the Coe collection by selecting objects, researching and drafting wall texts, writing press releases, designing graphics and the exhibition layout, as well as creating their own limited-run curator-designed t-shirts in collaboration with YouthWorks. The participants build their own exhibition from the ground up.


Artist Unknown, c. 1850s

Gwaai Edenshaw visited the Coe on the Monday following Indian Market, where he received a first-place ribbon. Gwaai is from Masset on Haida Gwaii, a descendant of a prestigious Haida carving family. Gwaai and brother Jaalen recently studied and duplicated a large masterpiece mid-19th century carved box at the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford. The new Great Box then went home to the Haida Gwaii and was used in high school art classes, public discussions and a Haida Gwaii Museum exhibit. Community members said, we can see it in books, but to actually come up and see it and feel it and examine it – it can only benefit our community and our people.

Gwaai and I joyfully walked around the Coe, taking in one great Haida object after another. This was one of Ted’s favorite regions and art forms. A small carved face stopped Gwaai; he picked it up and turned it over and over in his hands, feeling its presence and age as well as its identity.

“This is an insert mask from a carved box,” he shared. “There is some box out there with a blank inset space that the mask was removed from…carving a separate mask gave the box greater depth and presence…The eyes and brow line make the piece Haida.”

Ted purchased the small carving in 1996, thinking it to be a Tlingit maskette perhaps from a Shaman’s kit.

Gwaai is both a carver and art historian; his comments and shared expertise are now part of our record.

CHEYENNE LEDGER BOOK ONLINE! Online at: Plains Ledger Art (PILA), you can see this amazing, but fragile Coe 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! 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 private operating 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent of the Internal Revenue Code. Please donate online now, 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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