Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Field_BillBill Field

Honored October, 2010

William 'Bill' Field

Bill Field’s exceptional creativity, natural curiosity, hard work—and keen sense of fun—have driven his many impressive accomplishments, but he would tell you, “I’ve just been lucky.”

Bill’s lifelong dedication to New Mexico’s traditional Spanish arts has helped increase their value and recognition worldwide. As a boy he volunteered at Spanish Market. When living in Massachusetts, he came home each summer to help with Spanish Market. He later served as board member and president of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, the sponsor of the annual Spanish Markets. In 2002, Bill was named the first director of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art—the only museum in the country devoted to Spanish colonial art and culture.

“Without Bill’s hands-on efforts as an organizer, designer, fundraiser, board president, and more, Spanish Colonial Arts Society, Spanish Market, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art would not exist today, much less flourish,” wrote one admirer.

William Magee Field inherited an appreciation for native arts and artists from his mother and grandparents who first settled in Santa Fe in the late 1920s. Born in Santa Fe, Bill grew up on the family’s Cerro Gordo property. His extended family included artists E. Boyd, Agnes Sims, Will Shuster, Cady Wells, and Gustave Baumann, among others

Bill graduated from Harvard where he produced theatricals for the famous Hasty Pudding Club. After serving in the army, he had the good fortune to work for Polaroid, establishing its design department. He created the rainbow-colored Polaroid logo, and developed the design department from three people to 50 employees worldwide. Bill met his wife Maureen (“Sam”) while working for Polaroid—another stroke of great luck—and they have been partners for 40 years.

The Fields moved back to Santa Fe in 1976, and Bill began his own graphic design business. William Field Design has won more than 300 regional and national awards. Field-designed logos are visible at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, La Casa Sena, and the Gerald Peters Gallery, among others. He has donated his work to many community organizations: Santa Fe Children’s Museum, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and the Santa Fe Rotary Club’s annual Distinguished Artist Award. In 2007, Bill was honored with The Governors Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Friends say, “His value in promoting our city’s and state’s vast cultural and artistic heritage is incalculable.” “He embodies the highest spirit of old Santa Fe: warmth, kindness, friendship, neighborliness, generosity, genuineness.”

Story by Barbara Harrelson

Photo © 2010 by Genevieve Russell