Art that Engages

Our collection of over 2,500 objects from around the world will engage you through hands-on experiences. This enables deeper appreciation of the value of cultures all over the world…because the more we know about one other, the more we can work together for the common good.

The Coe Welcomes You!

The Coe Center welcomes visitors and is open by appointment. Please call or email ahead to schedule.
We look forward to seeing you soon! In addition, we are open to visitors on the first Fridays of each month, 1-4 pm.

Our Story

The Coe Center, founded by former museum curator, Director, and collector extraordinaire, Ralph T. Coe (1929-2010), is dedicated to increasing public awareness, education, and appreciation of indigenous arts, emphasizing hands-on experience and learning through actively engaging art. The Coe Center is the legacy of Ralph T. Coe, known as Ted to his family and friends. This search for knowledge and his quest to understand the human condition is evident in the varied collections he left behind and in his creation of the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts, a private operating 501(c)3 located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Coe’s unusual eclectic collection of over 2,500 objects represents worldwide indigenous cultures, with its core encompassing the span of historic to contemporary North American Native works. He collected not only art objects, but also immersed himself in the culture that produced them. He was not one to theorize, but rather chose to expound on the beauty and singularity of art, as well as on the ceremonies he witnessed. As one Native-American artist remembered, Ted was “accommodating; he was easy to be with, laughed and just went with the flow without too much fanfare. He was humble.”

To this day, his loving friends share delightful Ted stories, of how he never met a stranger and was endlessly curious about others.  A visitor to his home might leave four hours later, as Ted, eyes shining, would engage with them, talking about the people and history behind the many objects he collected. Ted felt if one sincerely took the time to look at objects, they would draw us into the circle creating the opportunity to cross diversities leading to a greater understanding of each other and our histories and heritage. Today, we continue to build on his legacy, committed to inspiring people of all ages and from all walks of life to be inquisitive and search beyond their own known experience. Our current youth development and artist-led programs include: The Hands-On Curatorial program for high school students, now in its fifth year; The Side-By-Side Artist program; and Coe in the Classroom. And, we host workshops and have several special exhibitions throughout the year, partnering with other arts and community groups. For more about Ted and to enjoy his legacy, visit the Coe for a free tour and more about Ted and all of the Coe programs. We also still have a few copies of the book Connoisseurship & Good Pie: Ted Coe and Collecting Native Art. (Need we mention that Ted loved a good piece of pie?)