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Editorial: Good things happening on Santa Fe’s arts scene

The Santa Fe Opera, where patrons often enjoy tailgate picnics in the parking lot before performances, reported its second-highest year of ticket sales this past season. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

The Santa Fe Opera, where patrons often enjoy tailgate picnics in the parking lot before performances, reported its second-highest year of ticket sales this past season. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

While Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales has been tweeting a “coolmayorsmoment” of spotting the royals at the opening of the Invictus Games in England, some pretty cool things have been happening in Santa Fe as well.

On the ledger of “old institutions doing well,” the Santa Fe Opera reported its second-highest ticket revenues this past season, at $8.7 million, while it expects to have a record-breaking total of $8.5 million in donations by the Sept. 30 end of its fiscal year. (We suspect it’s the promise of additional bathrooms in a new construction project that has been loosening patrons’ wallets. Or maybe it’s the additional bars.)

When the number of opera companies around the country continues to decline, it’s heartening to see a strong heartbeat atop that hill north of Santa Fe. Attendance reached 78,000 people during the summer, the Opera reports.

Over at the Santa Fe Indian Market and at the new Indigenous Fine Arts Market, both groups reported satisfaction with their events, despite earlier angst about whether one would detract from the other.

As a matter of fact, Indian Market’s Southwestern Association for Indian Arts reported raising more than $280,000 at its gala’s live auction – and that doesn’t even include money raised from a silent auction and ticket sales. In all, that group reports it was one of its highest grossing years.

And in the category of new projects trying to become an institution, the AHA Festival of Progressive Arts is expanding to two days this year – and they’re doing it with style, bringing in lucha libre exotica wrestling for, as far as we know, the first time in Santa Fe. Followed by an electronica dance party that should shake some of the dust off the arts scene.

If you argue that wrestling doesn’t qualify as art, you obviously have not seen how these guys glam themselves up.

In any case, it’s great to see experimentation, and willingness to take risks and explore new horizons for art and entertainment in Santa Fe. That’s the only way the city will be able to stay fresh and move into the future, piquing the interest of both residents and visitors.

Speaking of which, it would be nice to see this festival get some city financial support in the future and for people to check it out themselves this weekend.

As a successful summer segues into fall, we have another item to applaud. “When the Stars Trembled in Rio Puerco,” a production that debuted at Teatro Paraguas under the direction of playwright Shebana Coelho, and the inspiration of folklorist and author Nasario Garcia, will go onstage at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Sept. 25-28 to launch that center’s first Latino Theatre Festival, Siembra.

We’re always happy to let the Duke City see some of the innovative, grassroots theater that is going on in the City Different. And what an honor for all concerned to get the invitation.

Kudos to all who have made this such an interesting place to pursue and enjoy the performing and other arts.

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