Since the early part of the twentieth century the name Canyon Road has become synonymous with art. Early artists that lived and worked there include the tinsmith Francisco “Kiki” Delgado and Olive Rush. An advocate of social justice, Rush began the first Religious Society of Friends in her home on Canyon Road. Since her death in 1966 the Quaker heritage that Rush emanated has become an integral part of Santa Fe. The first gallery that began in 1956 on Canyon Road was started by the sculptor Andrea “Drew” Bacigalupa. Since that time numerous fine art galleries have operated on the famed road.
El Camino del Cañón
Originally named El Camino del Cañón by the Spaniards who came to New Mexico in 1598, Canyon Road provided New Mexico’s indigenous population with water and fertile soil for centuries. The trail that ended at Canyon Road began in the community of Pecos and provided a pathway for different Indian tribes that traded with each other. At the turn of the twentieth century Canyon Road adobe homes were filled with of Spanish-speaking families. Their modest homes were adjacent to the panoramic background of Picacho Peak, Atalaya, Sun Mountain and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Through the 1970s Canyon Road continued as a vibrant Santa Fe neighborhood. Cristo Rey Church, Gormely’s grocery store, the Armenta and Rios wood yards, the Rael tamale factory and Santa Fe’s first gay bar, Claude’s Bar and Lounge, were all an intricate part of Santa Fe’s social scene. The first recorded artist from that time was Bernardo Miera y Pacheco who was a cartographer, artist, sculptor and soldier. When Bernardo arrived in New Mexico he became the mayor in both of Galisteo and Pecos, New Mexico. His work as an artist includes a 1789 retablo of San Rafael. The stone reredo which means altar screen is currently located at Cristo Rey Church on Canyon Road.