These lands — especially places like La Cieneguilla petroglyphs — provide for us to learn about and connect with our history.

– Dawn Chandler

Caja del Rio Business Stars

Dawn Chandler Fine Art & Taos Dawn Designs

Chandler Fine Art & Taos Dawn Design
Dawn Chandler,
Founder | Artist
Dawn Chandler Fine Art & Taos Dawn Designs 

Local Business Impact
Caja del Rio

– Describe Your Business?

I am a full-time, self-employed visual artist who celebrates my love of the outdoors — especially the land and sky of New Mexico — via my photography, messaging, and most passionately through my traditional and semi-abstract landscape paintings.

– How is your mission aligned with protecting public lands?

Through my art and communications with my followers, I seek to foster awareness of and respect and appreciation for the outdoors. An important aspect of my mission is to inspire people to slow down, pause, and notice the beauty all around them — be it in their homes, community or surrounding environs — which naturally extends to public lands. Thich Nhat Hahn said “Our own life has to be our message.” Through my own life and the example I set, I hope to inspire others to learn about, explore, protect and celebrate our public lands.

– What percentage of your customer base is engaged in outdoor recreation?

I don’t know what percentage of my customers is engaged in outdoor recreation, but I would bet well more than half of them are engaged in some way — be it hiking, cycling, camping or simply going for walks outdoors.
Thanks to a survey I conducted, I know that over 90% of my customers do not live in New Mexico, yet they have spent time here and feel a deep, almost reverent, connection to New Mexico. For many of my followers and clients, I know that my life and art serve as a sort of “conduit” for them to the Land of Enchantment.

– How does protecting the Caja benefit you, your business, and the larger community.

Spending time outdoors and experiencing nature is essential for the human spirit. Because we are, after all, part of nature. It seems silly to have to state that. Yet in this amped up 21st century when anxiety is reaching epidemic proportions and fewer and fewer people are venturing outside into their natural environment, whole swaths of our population have lost touch with the fact that we are part of nature.
Studies* have confirmed that nothing soothes the anxious human mind like a walk outside. To my mind, this is just one of many reasons why preserving places like the Caja is important. Our human spirit needs these lands to soothe our world-weary souls. Coupled with that is the opportunity these lands — especially places like La Cieneguilla petroglyphs — provide for us to learn about and connect with our history. Then there’s the spiritual aspect of these places, and the fact that they have held deep sacredness and meaning for generations of many in our community. This alone is reason to protect these lands. Yet beyond the human impact, we need to protect the Caja for the wildlife who live and migrate through. Their habitat is already threatened enough. It’s our profound responsibility to preserve the Caja in order to ensure that wildlife can continue to life, thrive and do what they do to secure the balance and natural rhythms of the land, waters and sky of the region.

What ways do you use the Caja del Rio or surrounding public lands? In what ways does it benefit your business?

I’m embarrassed to admit that the Caja wasn’t on my radar until recently. [ see my blog post from 10/07/22: History and Mystery in the New Mexico landscape ]. But now that my awareness of this extraordinary landscape has been opened, I am filled with excitement for the possibilities of discovery that await me in the Caja. Public lands have long provided rich fodder for my paintings and photography. Artfully sharing these experiences with my circle of clients, collectors, friends and followers is a terrific way for me to stay in touch with and even inspire my community. Whenever I sell a painting inspired by my experience of public lands, its benefit is at least three-fold: First, it provides me with financial security, which Second, allows me to be a more engaged community member. Third, that painting will now sit in a prominent place in someone’s home, where it will be a daily reminder of the beauty and wonderment of our lands. It is my hope that this, in turn, may lead my customers to a deeper respect for and desire to protect our public lands.


In collaboration with:

Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce

Partnership for Responsible Business