Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale, photo by Bunny Bowen

Over 80 of the finest Artists and Artisans in New Mexico meet in the friendly Village of Placitas the weekend before Thanksgiving.


Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale Celebrates 30 Years of Bringing The Arts To Placitas


Since 1982 The Placitas Holiday Arts and Crafts Sale has grown from about a dozen local artists that displayed their artwork in a newly built spec home to now over 80 artists that come from many communities of New Mexico including Placitas, Bernalillo, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, the surrounding Native American Pueblos, Colorado and beyond. Artists from New Mexico have been coming to Placitas for 30 years with their own special artwork to sell to the public. They have been so well received by our community that they continue to want to be in the show.

The Placitas Holiday Sale dug its roots deep into the rich cultural soil of Placitas, with its Spanish folk art heritage and the artistic legacy of the nearby pueblos. It laid a foundation for other art events in Placitas, created a reputation among artists for high quality arts and crafts in Placitas and provided beautiful works of art that decorate the homes of Placitas, Bernalillo, neighboring communities and even across the country.

Times in Placitas have changed in 30 years. When the Placitas Holiday Sale began in 1981 there were few homes below the S-curves and most of the population was centered near the village and outlying areas. It was a tight community that got together often to have fun. The original idea of starting the Placitas Holiday Sale came from Peaches Malmaud, who at that time did ceramic art. Peaches now sells shirts with fish and plant imprints and she is also one of the founders of the well known Valley Garlic Oil.


photo by Dana Patterson Roth

Peaches Malmaud in the Big Tent 1991

“Peaches came around and talked with various artists to see if there was interest and sure enough there was,” said Nancy Couch, the show’s current coordinator. “She mostly organized everything herself, but got others to help her like us, Mary Hofmann, Susan Junge and others. Trades were common to cover booth fees. We were in charge of making the signs and putting them up.”

"It became a community effort with neighborhood kids being hired to direct the parking and local women acted as hostesses at each location, making sure everything ran smoothly," said Dana Roth. "I was in charge of the publicity photography, and my husband, John, ran electricity to the tent."

In the beginning, the show was held each year at a new location. Peaches knew different builders in the area and negotiated with them to allow the artists to display their artwork in their newly built homes.


photo by Dana Patterson Roth
Nancy Couch in 1985 with Water Prisms


“The homes were perfect with large solar windows that really made the artwork look good,” said Nancy Couch. “I clearly remember the first show, we were in the green house and had about 8 different styles of Water Prisms. They made these incredible rainbows that went into the living room and danced across the other artwork. It was a magical moment and we sold out.”

“Peaches used every available space in the early houses to place artists, even the bathroom (it wasn’t hooked up yet),” said Mary Hofmann, a thirty-year veteran of the show and one of its current directors. “The closets, all rooms, the garage and more were filled with artwork. Different dates were tried in November and December and then we stayed with the week-end before Thanksgiving.”


photo by Dana Patterson Roth

Mary Hofmann with pottery at the 1997 Holiday Sale


The favorable response from people to the first show was encouraging to the artists and the people were happy to purchase beautiful handmade items for their own homes. That was the beginning and each year after there was a different location for the show. This worked out great for seven years until one of the homes was sold right before the Holiday Sale was to begin. The new owners reluctantly agreed to let the show go on, but this was a wake-up call to move the location to something more permanent.

photo by Dana Patterson Roth

Bunny Bowen with batik scarves and pictures in 1998


In 1989 The Placitas Holiday Sale moved to the village, displaying art  at Clear Light Gallery and setting up the first Big Tent in the parking lot. For a while the Community Center and the Hacienda de Placitas B&B were used as additional venues and in 1995 the Placitas Elementary School was added. The Anasazi Fields Winery became a site in 1997 before the wooden pavilion was built but it only accommodated about 5 or 6 shivering artists out of the forty plus total artists. The Winery was expanded a few years later when Jim Fish and his partners built a large, heated wooden pavilion with a kiva fireplace and magnificent views of their vineyards and orchards.

In 2001 the Holiday Sale changed again and the Big Tent was put up next to the beautiful Café de las Placitas building, which was also used to show some of the 70 artists. The following year the tent found its seasonal home next to the Casa Rosa at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church.

In 2007 the Elementary School was renovated and the following year the show expanded into the halls, allowing the number of artists exhibiting to reach its current size of about 80 artists.Presently the show is produced by local artists Nancy Couch, Jon Couch, Mary Hofmann, Bunny Bowen, and Dana Roth.

The Placitas Holiday Sale is making special plans for this year’s Holiday Sale which will be the Thirtieth Anniversary of the show. Jon Couch said, “This is a milestone since it’s the longest running art show in Placitas.”

Today Placitas is a culturally rich community that has spread out in all directions. It has become known for its beautiful, spacious views of the mountains and has through the years attracted many artists who work and find inspiration in this peaceful setting. It comes as no surprise that Placitas has become a growing community of artists and that the greater community loves and supports them.

All photos by Dana Patterson Roth



The Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale is organized by a committee of local artists and sponsored by the Placitas MountainCraft and Soiree Society, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to serving the community, the arts, and artists.


Placitas Holiday Sale  3 Cañon del Apache  Placitas, New Mexico  87043


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Presented Since 1981 by The Placitas MountainCraft and Soiree Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to serving the community, the arts, and artists