Our Legacy

“Art can bring people together and should be accessible by all regardless of their background.”

Ralph T. Coe

Founder, Coe Center

Ted Coe studying in his dining room

Ted Coe studying in his dining room

The Coe Center is the legacy of Ralph T. Coe, known as Ted to his family and friends. Ted Coe was an exceptional curator and collector, as well as museum director. His passion for art and culture was global, spanning from ancient to contemporary. 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.

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.

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?)

Open House at Coe with Kenneth Johnson

2018 Open House with Kenneth Johnson