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Native-centered gallery closes shop on Paseo del Pueblo Norte

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FaraHNHeight Fine Arts, a gallery featuring contemporary native arts that in its two-year run on Paseo del Pueblo Norte became a gathering space for a variety of community events, ceased operations at its location near the entrance of Taos Pueblo earlier in March.

Two years ago, the spacious adobe-plastered art gallery stood out on Paseo del Pueblo Norte for its big doors trimmed in Taos' signature blue. Since then, the building's simple brown exterior burst into fields of color as a canvas for large murals that became the roadside expression of the gallery's ethos.

"We created something in this space that was truly magical. Having the kind of kaleidoscope of peoples and personalities of Taos enjoying one [another] and art under one roof was fulfilling," said gallery director and principal investor Gregory Farah during a series of interviews earlier in March.

The gallery featured contemporary indigenous and native art, representing artists, such as Carlos Sandoval and Randy Barton, as well as more familiar names, such as R.C. Gorman, Earl Biss and Armond Lara.

The gallery became a magnet for community events of all stripes: rap shows, poetry readings, a break dancing competition and a talking tour for native activists. "That was by design," Farah said. "To create a scene in this community, you have to create a scene."

The gallery vacated the property at 311 Paseo del Pueblo Norte earlier this month after being requested to do so by their landlords, the James Reynolds Trust.

"Sadly the building 'complex', where the gallery is located, is being sold to outside investors from Florida. One of the conditions of this sale was to have the gallery vacate immediately as the new owner wants to use the space for other activities," Farah said.

The gallery was asked to move out of the building via a letter from an attorney, he said. He called the tone of the exchange "disheartening" and "very L.A.," but added he was given a 10-day extension on their lease -- enough time for the laborious task of getting consignment pieces back to artists and finding storage space for the rest.

As for the copyrighted murals on the exterior of the property, Farah said he ensured "the artist would be compensated in some way if it was ever used."

The Taos News was able to briefly reach a representative of the James Reynolds Trust by phone, but was only able to confirm their ownership of the property.

"This property, like many in Taos, has a long and storied past. From being an old lumber mill to the last ice house of Taos, and Jackson Hensley's Gallery Of The Southwest. We are honored to have added a small short chapter in that history," Farah said.

"It is very unfortunate that the FaraHNHeight enterprise is fading away, at least [temporarily], and that its mission is being cut short," Farah said. "The plan is to have FaraHNHeight rise again as quickly as possible."

He said the gallery is scouting locations in Taos, Santa Fe and other cities around the Southwest.

"Regardless of where we end up, FaraHNHeight was born and bred in Taos, and has given us the foundation and inspiration to continue."

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