New Mexico Governor's Mansion

"The People's House," narrated by author Hampton Sides, features the New Mexico Governor's mansion -- A unique showcase of diverse cultures and rich history.

AIRED: May 01, 2021 | 0:26:20

Frederick Hammersley Foundation...

...New Mexico Arts,

a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs

with supplemental funding by the New Mexico CARES Act and

by the National Endowment for the Arts.

...and Viewers Like You.










[Nature Sounds]

>>Narrator: Welcome to the New Mexico Governor's Mansion.

We are excited to have you visit this home on a

virtual tour, touching on a few of the highlights of

a building that houses some of the great art,

furnishings, and architectural styles that

our state is famous for, and that also serves as

home of New Mexico's first family.

We refer to the mansion as the Peoples' House because

it belongs to the entire state, reflecting New Mexico's

famous multicultural heritage and rich history.

Additionally our well-known New Mexican

tradition of hospitality is reflected in the building's

open concept, stunning views, and welcoming portal.

>>Here in the Southwest a red chili ristra

hung by the door to dry is an invitation to table and hearth.

We want this building to be welcoming to everyone.

In a state known for its beauty, art, and culture,

we display pieces that reflect all of these strands of our

We are excited for you to see how the mansion

reflects this fascinating heritage.

And to guide you on your journey through the building,

allow us to introduce prize-winning historian

Hampton is the author of numerous best-selling

works of narrative nonfiction,

including Blood and Thunder.

>>Hampton Sides: First occupied in 1955, this is

the third governor's residence.

The first governor's residence dates back to

1610 when the city of Santa Fe was founded as

the capital of the province of New Spain.

After the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 led to the departure

of the Spanish the original building,

known as the Palace of the Governors,

was under Native American rule for a dozen years.

When the Spanish returned in 1692 and 93 the

building remained the Spanish governor's

residence until 1821.

It was then the home of the governor of the newly

independent Mexico until 1846, the year when New Mexico

was annexed by the United States as an official territory.

All told, the Palace of the Governors served as home

to various forms of government for nearly three centuries.

During periods of Spanish, Native American, and

Mexican rule, and as a US territorial capital and

governor's residence until the early 1900s.

The Palace of the Governors was where Lew Wallace,

the 10th governor of New Mexico territory,

completed his work of historical fiction,

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, in 1880.

The second governor's residence was a Greek Revival

mansion built in a more traditional style

that was partially a reflection of New Mexico's

desire to become a state, which occurred in 1912.

The mansion was also famous for its well-tended

gardens, where various first ladies grew

prize-winning dahlias and other flowers.

>>However a disastrous flood from the nearby

river made it unsafe and unlivable by the late 1940s.

In 1955, today's Governor's Mansion,

designed by W.C. Kruger

was completed on a 30-acre parcel hilltop

north of Santa Fe's Plaza, off of Bishops Lodge Road.

This mid-century modern residence was designed to

include New Mexico's famous portals, an open

concept for the public areas, and plenty of space

for art and sculpture.

Governor John F. Simms

was the first Chief Executive to reside in the new structure.

As we take you through highlights of today's

Governor's Mansion you will see that great care

has been taken in developing its style,

furnishings, and art to reflect New Mexico's rich cultures.

>>The architectural style is known as Modified Territorial.

It recalls a sprawling hacienda of Spanish Colonial days.

Design elements from the Native American pueblos

and the Territorial style developed after New Mexico

became a US territory in the mid-1800s.

The foyer is the mansion's reception hall where

guests can move freely into the public areas,

welcomed by a large rug bearing an image of the state seal.

Visitors received here are immediately drawn to two

paintings, emblematic of New Mexico's natural

beauty and extraordinary artistic heritage.

Northern New Mexico has attracted many great

artists, including one of the most important

pioneers of American Modernism, Georgia O'Keeffe.

When she first saw New Mexico in 1917 she wrote

to her future husband, New York photographer and

gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz quote,

"I'm out here in New Mexico, going somewhere.

I'm not positive where, but it's great, not like

anything I ever saw before."

After visiting New Mexico during numerous summers

she moved here permanently in 1949.

The Southwest landscape and nature inspired her

and she continued to investigate its imagery

for the rest of her life.

Painted in 1945, "Spring Tree #1" is inspired by the

many cottonwoods that grew along the river near her home.

"Santa Fe Mountains in October" by Sheldon Parsons

is a classic fall landscape of magnificent

aspens in the mountains which surround Santa Fe.

Parsons was a prominent New York artist who came

to Santa Fe in 1913 to take advantage of the

healthy climate, and fell in love with the expansive

landscapes of the Southwest.

He helped guide the New Mexico Museum of Art,

opened in 1917, whose policy of providing free

studio space to professional artists

attracted young talent from the East, Midwest,

and even Europe.

The foyer is also home to the oldest pieces of

furniture in the mansion.

Known as campaign tables, tables of this type

featured folding legs that were originally designed

for military use when traveling during a campaign.

These early 19th century tables traveled to Santa Fe

from Mexico City via oxcart along the 1500 mile

Spanish Colonial trail known as El Camino Real

-the royal road- that terminated in Santa Fe,

then the capital of the Spanish Empire north of the Rio Grande.

In those days the journey took almost six months.

The campaign tables display a series of

holiday ornaments featuring distinctive

examples of New Mexico culture, such as flamenco dancing,

hot air balloons, our famous chile, the state gem turquoise,

and a Cochiti Pueblo storyteller figure.

The living room is a popular meeting place

during public functions and for the governor's family.

The piano is central to festivities at the mansion,

and many a famous player has tickled

the ivories over the years.

Another focal point is the fireplace and wide windows

that show off outstanding views of the gardens on

the mansion's 30-acre parcel.

The living room features signature pieces

representative of the many strands of New Mexican art,

such as outstanding pottery, paintings, and

sculpture by Native Americans, tin work and

carvings in the Spanish Colonial and Mexican

traditions, as well as fine paintings loaned from

our outstanding New Mexico art museums.

Here in the Southwest, Native American

pottery-making has evolved over the centuries from

basic uses for water, storage, and cooking, to

today's highly developed art forms prized by

collectors around the world.

This micaceous work entitled "Jar 1997" is an

interpretation of a utilitarian pot by Lonnie Vigil

of Nambé Pueblo, a nationally known potter

whose works are in many public collections,

including the Smithsonian.

Smoke and fire leave interesting shadows on the

pots during the firing process.

Native American artists have made significant

contributions to every artistic medium.

One of the most influential sculptors was

Chiricahua Apache Allan Houser, whose work is

known globally for its fusion of Modernist style

with Native American themes.

His sculpture "Nightwind" is a bronze produced in 1989.

As a member of the faculty of the Institute of

American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in the 1960s and 70s,

and as a full-time sculptor thereafter, he influenced

a generation of artists with his approach of presenting

the Native American subject matter in a contemporary form.

Until 1821 New Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire

for nearly 300 years.

During that time, a rich art tradition developed,

often of religious works honoring traditional

Catholic figures with unique regional characteristics.

Today Spanish Colonial art in New Mexico is a vibrant

This piece, the altar screen, is by Anita Romero Jones,

a native of Santa Fe who was renowned as a

santera-an artist of saint images.

The winner of many national art show awards,

Romero Jones honored traditional religious

figures by creating tin altar screens as the

backgrounds for her hand-carved wooden saints.

>>The grand dining room is the perfect space

to show off our famous New Mexican hospitality and

food for convivial occasions.

It also functions as a showplace for an important collection

of art, custom and original furniture, and unique decor.

The centerpiece is the dining table which expands

to 36 feet; it was created by Gene Law, a Santa Fe

interior designer who was commissioned in the early

1990s to help plan the mansion's interior.

He traveled to Spain to study Spanish furniture

styles and consulted with the pueblos and academic experts

to understand Native American culture and design elements.

The dining table incorporates 17th century

Spanish motifs from the National Museum of

Decorative Arts in Madrid, as do the matching chairs.

Hanging above the table is a tin chandelier created

by New Mexico artist Gary Blank.

The chandelier emphasizes the state's historical

ties to Mexico where tin is a popular art medium.

The New Mexican tradition of tin work began

flourishing in 1846, when innovative Hispanic

artists began recycling large tin food cans

discarded by United States army personnel during the

Mexican-American War.

One of the most popular decorative touches in the

mansion is the dining room ceiling,

stenciled by New Mexico artists.

The design takes its inspiration from the

Spanish Palace near Madrid, where King Philip III

signed the papers authorizing the settlement of Santa Fe.

The dining room is currently the home to a

dramatic painting by one of the first Modernist

artists to travel west to New Mexico in the early

20th century, Paul Burlin.

Burlin received his art education in New York.

He was already well known when he came to paint in

Santa Fe, and his work was exhibited at the opening

of the New Mexico Museum of Art in 1917.

Burlin's work reflects the color and abstract

geometry of Native American designs, and was

influenced by the symbols and legends of the

Southwestern Indian cultures as portrayed in

this painting entitled "Indian Ceremonial Dance."

Beneath the Burlin painting is a chest,

specially designed by Gene Law, that combines 16th

and 17th century Spanish elements.

The sitting room is used for smaller gatherings, or

as an adjunct to other public rooms.

It also highlights authentic and custom-made

traditional style furniture, religious wood

carvings, and fine art.

Joseph Henry Sharp was one of many fine young

American artists who ventured off to Europe in

the late 19th century to experience its art and culture.

After traveling to New Mexico in 1883,

Sharp returned to Paris the following year.

Sharp enticed two other young American artists,

Bert Phillips and Ernest Blumenschein, to visit Taos,

with his tales about the rich culture of Taos Pueblo

and the beautiful land and light of northern

New Mexico, a place where these men helped create a

regional style of paintings based on New

Mexican landscapes and Native American imagery.

Sharp returned to Taos often and made it his

permanent home in 1912.

>>Along with Blumenschein, Phillips, and others,

he was an original member of the

Taos Society of Artists, established in 1915 to

promote and exhibit the New Mexico paintings of

the members throughout the country, making Taos one

of the early major art colonies in the US.

Sharp, best known for his realistic portrayals of

American Indians of the plains and the pueblos,

also produced significant landscape paintings

inspired by the visual beauty and light of New Mexico,

as shown here in this painting "Taos Cañon."

Included with other pieces of art in the sitting room

is this striking "Portrait of Teresa Bakos'' by Will Shuster,

a major figure in Santa Fe's early art colony days.

In 1921 Shuster and Jozef Bakos, Teresa's husband,

along with three other artists, founded the New Mexico

artists' society known as Los Cinco Pintores-

the five painters-which, like the

more well-known Taos Society, worked to enhance

the reputations of New Mexico artists.

As a successful painter and an active supporter of

the community, Shuster developed a colorful and

realistic painting style, emphasizing warm earth

tones which reflected the land and the homes of New Mexico.

In addition to housing the governor and family, the

mansion hosts hundreds of events each year.

>>An empty chair symbolizes equality for

all who visit the Governor's Mansion.

>>And the mansion has a portal for each

direction, each season, each stage of life,

echoing the four-part design of our state flag:

a symbol of friendship among New Mexico's peoples.


>>Darren: Jazz, I think it starts getting different

with harmonic intensity.

>>Alexis: That's Darren Kramer.

>>Darren: Not oatmeal, but maybe oatmeal with walnuts

and cinnamon and honey and all sort of crazy things in it.

>>Alexis: He's a jazz musician.

>>Darren: Trombone is really an identity for me I would say.

>>Alexis: Turned jazz aficionado.

>>I just have always been attracted to the way it makes

>>Alexis: Music has been a part of his life forever.

Ba ba da ba da

Ba ba da ba da

Ba ba da ba ba da

Ba bo doo

Bee bee doob

Bee da

>>Alexis: And now, he's getting other people jazzed.

Traveling around the Denver area giving

workshops he calls Sonic Tonic.

>>Sonic meaning sound waves and tonic is traditionally

a medicinal substance to make you feel better.

>>Alexis: The gist?

How to listen to jazz.

>>Top of the tune.

It's movin'!

>>Alexis: Using the four main elements of music.

>>Rhythm, melody, harmony, and lyrics.

Somethin' different, bridge

>>Alexis: To create a better experience for music listeners.

>>Let me show you how to listen like a jazz musician.

Let's go inside the music and realize we're not

playing the melody, and it's not just three notes,

it's more, maybe there's 27 different notes in it.

So it's a little more advanced.

>>Alexis: Okay.

We had to put Darren's knowledge to the ultimate test.

Our team collected music samples from Denver's Five

Points Jazz Fest, and...

>>So this is gonna be fun, yeah.

So you've brought in some clips from the recent Five

Points Jazz Festival, and we're gonna listen to a

couple clips and then do a little mini Sonic Tonic on

these so that we're saying what would somebody listen to?

Or how would I listen to it?

So here's our first one.

He's the kind of guy

Well he give ya everything

Your strength, your heart

You share all of your love

Till death do you part ?

>>Darren: I like it.

It's mellow, serious groove.

I'm noticing the cross stick on that drums,

believe it or not I'm listening right past her.

As a musician, not just a singer or a general music

listener I'm kinda going different levels.

So I love that little, that guitar that's happening.

He's the kind of guy

Well he give ya everything

It's happy, we're in the major key.

Your strength, your heart

You share all of your love

Till death

Her voice is great, great nuance great tone.

She has a nice little story she's talkin' about there.

And this particular recording I'm not hearing

enough bass for me, plus we're listening on my laptop speakers.

But I notice that my music engineer side come out and go

I wanna feel like I'm layin' on this like bass sound right?

Alright here's a new one.


Ha ha, dig it!

That's kinda old school, you know like a folk jazz, right?

And some of this stuff gypsy jazz when they have

a lot of different instruments like a violin,

this had a clarinet in it.

And it's so fun, it's got it's own sound.

So maybe you don't even know what a clarinet is,

you haven't noticed that.

Wood wind instrument has a reed, way different than trombone.

But that gives this it's own vibe.

And there's a sax, tenor sax.

There, that's the clarinet!

And it's fun, it's happy right?

And here's the last one.

I've got to know

Why you been fallin'

Stallin' all the time

Is it true

Or do you lie

I don't know

Who you seein' on the sly

Today I've got to know

Who you been callin', callin'

Did you sly

That's my kinda thing.

Funky jazz, right?

Vocalist sounds very good.

What do I notice right behind that is some of

those hits in the drums.

He's not just like phonin' it in.

Hey man we're kinda playin', no.

Man he's like, check out these hits.

I've got to know

That snare.

Why you've been fallin'

Stallin' all the time

And those on the hi-hat, They're gonna do it again probably.

Who you've been seein'

On the sly

Today I've got to know

Who you been callin'

Horns are hitting on those downbeats, right.

So this to me is way more interesting than,

you know just...

Boo boo doop bee dum

Great sounding bands and they're all quite

different as we're hearing, right?

So jazz doesn't just mean one thing, so if maybe you

have an idea that you don't like jazz,

maybe give it another try.

There's lots of jazz going on on a weekly basis in

downtown Denver and in Boulder.


New Mexico PBS dot org and look for COLORES under

What We Do and Local Productions.



Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:

Frederick Hammersley Foundation...

...New Mexico Arts,

a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs with

supplemental funding by the New Mexico CARES Act and

by the National Endowment for the Arts.

...and Viewers Like You


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