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Blue Rain's 30th Year Anniversary

November 28th, 2023

Aerial view of Santa Fe's Railyard District

Blue Rain Gallery, a destination art gallery in the Southwest, announces its 30 year anniversary. Blue Rain Gallery is an anchor of the Railyard District in Santa Fe, New Mexico featuring contemporary artists diverse backgrounds workings in a variety of mediums including paintings, bronze and glass sculpture, pottery, kachinas and jewelry.

Bright hall featuring paintings, sculpture, pottery, and kachinas

Blue Rain Gallery has a reputation for producing stand out shows, presenting viewers with some of the highest-level offerings and most celebrated artists working today.  Artists such as Preston Singletary, Jim Vogel, Doug West, Erin Currier, Vivian Wang, Chris Pappan, Matthew Sievers, and Jody Naranjo.  All of which you will commonly see on view when walking into Blue Rain. The diversity amongst this small sampling of artists speak to the larger experience one encounters at the gallery.

Expansive gallery floor featuring bold contemporary paintings along with large sculptures of glass and more

Gallery owner and entrepreneur Leroy Garcia first launched the gallery in the upstairs of his childhood home in Taos, New Mexico.  From its humble first location, Garcia was able to quickly make a name for himself as a dealer, at that time handling mostly Native American and regional art. From there, he opened the gallery in historic Taos Plaza where he quickly grew the business by leaps and bounds.

Front exterior of former Taos location

Pueblo potter and sculptor Tammy Garcia, Navajo painter Tony Abeyta, Tlingit glass artist Preston Singletary, Wyandot potter Richard Zane Smith, and Hopi-Zuni potter Les Namingha, were all cornerstones of Blue Rain Gallery's early success.

Gallery curator enlightening patron about a carved red clay pot
Early collection of contemporary Native American pottery and portait paintings
Gallery patrons admiring and discussing sculpted carved pottery series

The gallery expanded into Santa Fe in 2003, with its first location downtown on Lincoln Avenue. Blue Rain Gallery was at the forefront of contemporary Native American art, and as a result the gallery built thousands of collections that reflected its mission.

Front exterior of original Santa Fe location

Soon the gallery expanded beyond its initial focus to include more contemporary artists regardless of heritage, seeking talent beyond the Southwest.  Studio Glass Art became a growing interest for the gallery, and as time went on the gallery brought in glass artists from all over the country to expand its vision.

Blue Rain steadily brought in more painters, refining its offerings with each passing year.  The gallery continued to grown and expand like this for multiple decades.

Gallery floor with patrons admiring large art glass collection

Today, the gallery represents a diverse cross-section of contemporary artists working in a wide rage of mediums, while still maintaining a commitment to its roots as a contemporary Native American art and regional art gallery.  Garcia seeks artists whose work reflects innovation and refinement.  Blue Rain Gallery directly represents and promotes 50 artists, mostly living, a few deceased. Due to its long business history, the secondary market has become an increasingly important part of Blue Rain's business model, brokering private collection of Pueblo pottery, paintings, sculpture, kachinas, and jewelry.  Many collectors view their ownership of artwork a a temporary stewardship, with the thought that the pieces will eventually move on to new custodians once it leaves their care.  Blue Rain Gallery is grateful to assist its clientele with the process of transferring stewardship.

Patrons attending a speaker at a special gallery event

The roughly 9,000 square foot gallery in the Railyard Arts District of Santa Fe that is the flagship of Blue Rain has been the ideal location for the gallery to contemplate its future and reflect on the past.  The space which boasts 22' high ceilings and plenty of natural light offers top quality conditions for showing art. "Transitioning to this location in 2016 gave us the space we needed to fulfill our intentions of scaling up and producing higher quality shows. We suddenly have more breathing room, more storage, and better conditions for showing the diverse range of artwork that has become a signature aesthetic of experience of the gallery."

Large skylight bathing the gallery with natural light

Just in time for the 30 Year Anniversary, the gallery announces the opening of a second location in Durango, Colorado. The new gallery is located in the heart of Durango's downtown retail district on Main Avenue.

Ribbon cutting at the Durango location

Durango has long been in Garcia's sights. He recalls taking family trips as a child from Taos, New Mexico to Salt Lake City, Utah, driving through Durango and always being intrigued by the inherent charm of this western town that sits nestled along the Animas River. Over the years he has watched the growth and changes settle in, admiring the lively character and business friendly nature of Durango's Downtown. During COVID, when New Mexico was completely shutdown, Garcia questioned what was going to happen to the art galleries in Santa Fe that depend on tourism, when he began taking more regular trips to Colorado, specifically to Durango. He was immediately impressed by how the city dealt with the challenges of keeping people sage, while still being supportive of local businesses.  It was during that time that an idea he has been pondering for a while materialized into a full-fledged plan to expand.

Section of gallery floor in Durango featuring bold contemporary paintings in natural light

One thing is for certain, Garcia and his dedicated team know how to thrive in the art business, creating success stories for their artists, and building meaningful relationships with collectors, and art professionals. Reflecting on his 30 years of business, Garcia expresses pride for all he has accomplished, noting that "he could not have done it alone." He is grateful to his staff, that he commonly refers to as his family. "I'm not done yet. I still have more that I want to do. It's been 30 years, but I feel like I'm just getting started."

Front exterior of the Santa Fe location at the Railyard District


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