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Fifteen years ago a group of Santa Fe gallery dealers proclaimed that a city known for the fine arts must ensure that its schoolchildren have access to visual arts education. They joined forces to create a nonprofit organization called ARTsmart and a festive Friday night Edible Art Tour, during which donations were solicited to supply art materials for elementary students in the Santa Fe Public Schools.  From that modest beginning, ARTfeast Santa Fe has grown into the city’s premier winter celebration with a weekend of fabulous food and art events, the proceeds from which are donated to arts materials, projects, mentors, and scholarships for the youth of Santa Fe.

The 15th Annual ARTfeast Santa Fe takes place February 24-26, 2012, and is subtitled A Great Time for a Creative Cause. ARTsmart. President Martine Bertin-Peterson states that “Our goal is to boost attendance from the 2011 ARTfeast, which brought in more than 2,200 ticket purchasers from 32 states. In the past fourteen years ARTsmart has donated $972,000 to the youth of Santa Fe.”

ARTfeast Santa Fe commences on Friday at 11:30 AM and continues through Sunday afternoon with six outstanding events. Throughout the weekend, collectors vie for art projects created by SFPS schoolchildren, including one-of-a-kind plates in the celebrated “I Made It!” placemat/plate competition. Following are dates, times, and ticket prices. Tickets ordered prior to December 31, 2011, receive additional discounts! To learn more go to artfeast.com.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24

The Art of Fashion Runway Show & Auction at the Inn and Spa of Loretto offers delectable dining prepared by Executive Chef Matt Ostrander and complemented by fine wines and a runway presentation of apparel by Elven Velvet, Asiatica, and Cicada Collection, hats by O’Farrell Hat Company, boots by Boots & Boogie, and jewelry by Tsosie-Gaussoin and Golden Eye. Underwritten by Collector’s Guide, the luncheon takes place from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM and includes auction items made by Santa Fe youth, fashion designers, and a one-of-a-kind themed set of 12 unique plates. Tickets are $100 per person, with tables of 10 discounted to $900. Early-bird ticket prices are available for the ART of Fashion Runway Show as well as all other seated events.

The Edible Art Tour (EAT), underwritten by Santa Fean magazine, is a gaze-and-graze stroll of 35 Santa Fe galleries. Running from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, the gallery tour includes special exhibitions and savories prepared by the city’s top restaurants, caterers, and chefs.  Shuttle buses transport ticketholders from Downtown to Canyon Road. All this fantastic fare is a mere $35 per person, which includes admission to Feast or Famine.

Once EAT closes its doors, Feast or Famine commences from 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM. Underwritten by American Art Collector and Western Art Collector publications, the party takes place at the Ore House at Milagro.

Munchies, beer and a cash bar, plus music and dancing for the over-21 crowd are available with an EAT button or $15 at the door.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25-26

Santa Fe Properties handles some of the finest real estate in the city. As the underwriter of the Art of Home Tour, SF Properties invites you to preview grand estates and charming casitas that are for sale free of charge. Each home is tastefully appointed with art chosen by Santa Fe gallerists or FACT art teachers and student artists. Maps of the self-guided tour are available online and at SFP and ARTsmart offices. The tour takes place from noon to 4 PM on both Saturday and Sunday.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25

Every year ARTsmart honors one of the state’s top artists. This year Santa Fe painter Poteet Victory is recognized at the Gourmet Dinner, starting at 6:00 PM at the incomparable Encantado Resort and Spa. Four renowned chefs coordinated by Terra Executive Chef Charles Dale create a multi-course banquet, with each course complemented by a perfect aperitif or wine. During the live auction, collectors vie for a painting by Victory, a unique “I Made It!” plate set, and other surprises. And throughout the evening there is a silent auction of the winners of the plate competition and artwork created by high school students mentored by Victory. The dinner is underwritten by Southwest Art magazine and the Honorary Artist project by Mary & Robert Harbour. A dinner ticket for one is $175, with tables of 10 discounted to $1,500.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26

The Artists’ Champagne Brunch at 11:30 AM on Sunday is a collector’s paradise with lively bidding taking place for artworks by featured artists, as well as an “I Made It!” plate-set. Catered by Peas ‘n’ Pod chefs Catherine O’Brien and Glenda Griswold, the brunch takes place at the venerable Scottish Rite Temple and brings together a bevy of auction items, including sculptures, paintings, jewelry, and memorable travel, spa, and resort packages. Underwritten by The Essential Guide, a brunch ticket for one is $75, with tables of eight discounted to $600.

CHILDREN’S RECEPTION

The public is invited to view all of the winners of the “I Made It!” plates and placemat competition, underwritten by Los Alamos National Bank, at William & Joseph Gallery, February 6-18, and to meet the student artists at the Children’s Reception on Saturday, February 18.