Navajo artist Tony Abeyta explains the history of a Zuni owl during the filming of the “Antiques Roadshow” in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Journal)
For Marsha Bemko, it’s always been about the stories.
As the executive producer for “Antiques Roadshow,” Bemko has learned more about history than she ever thought she would.
It’s also the reason she’s been with the series for nearly 25 years.
“There’s something about the stories that keeps me interested,” she says. “As the world becomes more global, yard sales are the way to go.”
The PBS series “Antiques Roadshow” made a stop in Santa Fe in June at Museum Hill for a few days. During that time, the crew filmed enough to put together a handful of episodes.
Sign up for our free Thursday entertainment Newsletter!
The PBS series made the stop in Santa Fe for its annual tour and 27th season. The first episode will air at 7 pm Monday, Jan. 23, on New Mexico PBS, channel 5.1. The second hour will air at 7 pm Jan 30, with the third hour airing at 7 pm Feb 6. The episodes will also be available to stream on the PBS Video app.
Gene Shapiro, center, from New York, appraises a painting by Ángel Botello, center, owned by Suzan, left, from Santa Fe, during filming of the “Antiques Roadshow.” (Eddie Moore/Journal)
The “Roadshow” features local antique owners who bring in items to be appraised by experts, where the provenance, history and value of the items are discussed.
Though most guests were from New Mexico, some came from as far as Oregon or Nevada for a chance to have their time with the long-running PBS series.
Series organizers said they usually work with 150 appraisers. In Santa Fe, there were 70 on hand.
It was the first time the series had been back on the road since the beginning of the pandemic.
“With the five cities on this tour, the highest attendance we had was in Santa Fe,” Bemko says. “We give the same amount of tickets for each stop. For the Santa Fe stop, 3,356 people came out. It made for a busy day.”
Bemko says for the Santa Fe stop, the show invited Native American artist Tony Abeyta to be one of the appraisers for Native American art.
“He will be invited back again to be part of this because we really liked Tony,” she says. “He got plenty of hand claps from the locals.”
With each stop, Bemko and crew saw hundreds of treasures – some worth a lot and many aren’t.
“We had excellent visitors and logistics,” she says. “I think we had four items that were each worth six figures. We found a lot of really nice things.”
In the opening episode, there is a New Mexico woman who takes a Gene Kloss etching she purchased at a thrift store in the 1960s.
Radio personality TJ Trout brought this promotional booklet of the Beatles, that he won in a radio contest in 1964, to be appraised at the Antiques Roadshow in Santa Fe. He was one of more than 3,000 people who showed up in June. (Eddie Moore/Journal)
The woman doesn’t know Kloss’ history or her impact on the art world.
“We learn history through first-person experiences,” Bemko says. “These are all cherished items. Whether they are worth money or not, each person puts value on their heirlooms. It comes down to everything having a value because if it’s not monetary, there is plenty of sentimental value.”
Bemko says the Santa Fe stop was fruitful in the stories that were told as well.
From a Georgia O’Keeffe story to an Alexander Calder one, Bemko was pleased by it all.
“This woman worked with Georgia O’Keeffe and she tells the story of these rugs,” Bemko says. “I like those kinds of stories where she had the experience with Georgia O’Keeffe. And then there’s this guest who has a first-person story about how Alexander Calder gave him a sculpture. It gives me goose bumps.”