Capitol Series #3: Santa Fe, NM

This is the 3rd in my series of posts about state capitol buildings I have visited. Each one has something unique. We visited New Mexico’s state capitol in Santa Fe on June 12, 2018.

Santa Fe’s capitol does not have a dome but the building itself is round!

Actually it is built in the shape of the Zia sun symbol, which is also pictured on the New Mexico state flag and the floor of the rotunda inside the capitol.

The Zia tribe regards the Sun as sacred. Their symbol, a red circle with groups of rays pointing in four directions, is painted on ceremonial vases, drawn on the ground around campfires, and used to introduce newborns to the Sun (Wikipedia).

One of the straight hallways:
Although it doesn’t have a dome, the capitol does have a rotunda with a round stained glass panel, and a circle of lights, at the top.


We visited the Senate gallery and chamber.

The capitol building itself, as you can see from these pictures is relatively austere in décor – no fancy decoration as in other capitols. However, the hallways are covered with artwork by New Mexican artists as well as an art gallery with rotating exhibits. When we were there, there was an exhibit of the art faculty at Santa Fe Community College.

The artwork hanging in the halls was also interesting.

Suzy Shipp (1923-2001), The Cat Who Came to Dinner (1996-97), oil on acrylic underpainting on canvas
Carl Schuman (b. 1952), Where All True Paths Meet (1994), woven drawing

My favorite!

Holly Hughes (b. Kansas City, MO, later moved to New Mexico), Buffalo (1992), retail and handwoven, magnetic tape, film, paintbrushes, wire/quilting applique.  Hughes recently made a 4,000 mile bicycle trip to every county in New Mexico, completing 4 active art projects along the way.


Tony Abeyta, Untitled, 2008, oil and sand on canvas



Miguel Gandert (b. 1954), , La Comanchera (Comanche Girl), Laura Aguilera, Talpa, NM,, photograph.

Outside the building, like other capitols, there are statues and sculptures. These, however, are quite unique and celebrate New Mexico’s Native American heritage.

The names of New Mexico’s Native American tribes are inscribed on the base.
Estella Loreto (b. 1954), Earth Mother, bronze. Loreto is originally from Jemez Pueblo.


I really liked this sculpture of children playing.


If you liked this post, you may wish to visit the others in my State Capitol series:

Capitol Series #2 – Denver, Colorado

Capitol Series #1 – Lincoln, Nebraska

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