Arts

Spring has sprung

Art, music, poetry and more blossom this week as Taos welcomes the season of renewal

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"In the words of writer Annie Dillard, 'How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.' So, too, can our everyday objects hint at the immensity of our being."

Laurelin Kruse, founder of the Mobile Museum of American Artifacts (MMoAA), and the first artist in residence hosted by The Paseo Project, is passionate about objects.

"There's an art to reading the stories embedded in objects that fill the everyday lives of a community," agreed J. Matthew Thomas, Director of the Paseo Project. "We've joined forces with Laurelin, the LOR Foundation, and several arts organizations and interested individuals to collect stories and objects essential to life in Taos, circa 2018."

And on Friday (April 6), the community will have the opportunity to enjoy this collaboration at the opening reception for MMoAA's monthlong stay In Taos. From 4-6 p.m., MMoAA will welcome visitors to view the collection and donate their own objects and stories at its spot outside the Encore Gallery of the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

"We'd love for our community members to come and donate something to the museum that paints a picture of Taoseños for others to see," Thomas said, noting that Kruse drives MMoAA to venues across the country.

Water is life

Perhaps, though, the singular "object" that defines Taos is water. Inside Encore Gallery, an entirely different collection will be on view throughout the weekend (April 6-8).

"Water is Community" is the joint venture of the Paseo Project and Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS).

"In partnership with SOMOS, we've created a storytelling project with gathered water samples and stories from within Taos' watershed neighborhoods," Thomas said. "Poet Ariana Kramer and four community 'story and water collectors' (Christalyn Concha, Miguel Santistevan, Jim O'Donnell and Olivia Romo) have gathered stories and vials of water from the community to learn what water means to people in Taos."

The samples have been captured from expected sources, such as snow melt, wells and acequias, but others are more unusual, such as the leftover water from a day of watercolor painting. Each is accompanied by a story in the sample collector's own words.

A reception, concurrent with one for MMoAA, will include spoken word and poetry readings by New Mexico State Poetry Slam Champion Olivia Romo and Taos Poet Laureate Sawnie Morris. Both events are family friendly, and admission to both is free.

Pecha Kucha

As a conclusion to the "Water is Community" storytelling installation, Pecha Kucha Night Taos, Volume 26 will take place Sunday (April 8), 7 p.m., at the Taos Community Auditorium.

This popular, highly structured form of presentation will feature community members taking the stage and presenting their stories of and values surrounding water. Flavored waters from Freshies Juices will be offered, and Madcat Jack Lorang will be on hand with live music.

"We have amazing presenters for this special Pecha Kucha," said director Matt Thomas. They include Cisco Guevara, Miguel Santistevan, Amy Bell, Juanita Lavadie, Olivia Romo, Steve Harris, Chris Pieper, Rachel Conn, Roberta Salazar, Carol Morgan-Eagle, Daniel Pretends Eagle and a Taos Integrated School of the Arts group.

"Many of them have professional affiliations in water resources, but we've asked that their presentations be personal; we want to hear why they, as individuals, are here," Thomas said.

Pecha Kucha will conclude with a celebration of the essential connection of Taos to water. "We'll bring all the water samples together in one vessel for a blessing before we release it back to the Rio Grande," Thomas continued, a reflective nod to the fact that, regardless of where it begins, all water returns to the same place.

Tickets for Pecha Kucha are $10 and may be purchased at the door, in advance at the Taos Center for the Arts office, 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, or online at tcataos.org.

After its appearance at Encore Gallery, MMoAA will continue during April to visit locations throughout the county. "Look for us at the Questa library, Ancianos Senior Center, Peñasco Theater, the Mens' Homeless Shelter, Millicent Rogers Museum and the Harwood Museum of Art," Thomas added.

"We're also proud to say that five University of New Mexico art department students were selected for internships with MMOAA, each receiving college credits for the work," he said. They are Tracy Bell, Heather Bergerson, Audrey Tipping, Savannah Summers and Jana Greiner.

Beyond these scheduled events, the installation may be viewed during other TCA weekend events, the schedule of which is available at tcataos.org, or by calling (575) 758-2052.

For further information about "Water is Community," call (575) 758-4677, or visit paseoproject.org. To learn more about MMoAA, visit theMMoAA.org.

Lamppost banners

Winter is on its way to becoming a memory.

Prairie dogs will emerge from hibernation; lilacs will explode into a riot of purple; daffodils, irises, and crocuses will scatter the landscape with bright spots of color and cheer. Yes, spring has returned to Taos.

So has Taos Spring Arts, a celebration of the arts, music and culture that make Taos so exceptional, and featuring the best of the area’s thriving creative community in a sweeping array of showcases and exhibitions throughout the county.

“Taos Spring Arts is really about celebrating the artistic and creative spirit that has drawn both artists and visitors to Taos for years,” Karina Armijo, director of marketing and tourism for the town of Taos. “We are lucky to have a strong community of organizations that support arts and culture, [and] we are very excited to show visitors what the arts in Taos are all about and welcome them to join us during this beautiful time of year.”

The season’s premier kickoff event will happen Friday (April 6) when the town of Taos and the Taos Arts Council host a reception for the winning artists whose works were selected for the town’s Lamppost Banner Project, this year, titled “Taos is Art.”

Come to Taos Town Hall from 5-7 p.m. to meet and greet the winners, admire the duplicates of the winning banners that will be on display and enjoy a light refreshment. The reception is open to all and admission is free. Town Hall is at 400 Camino de la Placita.

If you’re unable to attend, visit Town Hall during business hours as the banners will be exhibited through July 27. The lamppost banners will remain hanging all over town through the end of October.

First Fridays

Beyond the banner artists’ reception, this weekend holds much more. Friday also kicks off the season’s Taos First Friday, a monthly opportunity to peruse the galleries, shops, pop-ups and music along Bent Street and in the John Dunn shops during extended hours. And on Saturday (April 7), galleries participating in the historic district’s First Saturday Gallery Art Walk will likewise offer extended hours.

During the weekend’s walks, an array of events are available to visit and enjoy. Before your visit to the Paseo Project’s “Water is Community” installation and the visiting Mobile Museum of American Artifacts, or the banner artist reception, a stop at the First Friday cocktail party might be a refreshing stop at the Adobe Bar at The Taos Inn, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

Several exciting exhibitions are available to enjoy, including “Work by Women” at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux Street; and the University of New Mexico-Taos art student “12 x 12” project at David Anthony Fine Art, 132 Kit Carson Road, the proceeds of which benefit the university’s art program. A special exhibition of Taos Masters can also be seen at the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

SOMOS has some exciting readings scheduled, as does Op.Cit. Books and Farmhouse Café, where a collection of our students will present an art and storytelling show. SOMOS is at 108 Civic Plaza Drive, Op. Cit. is at 124 Bent Street, and Farmhouse Café is at 1405 Paseo del Pueblo Norte in El Prado at the Overland Compound.

And, of course, music. Lots of music. The Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership at 20 ABC Mesa Road off U.S. 64 west, the KTAOS Solar Center at 9 State Road 150 north of El Prado, Adobe Bar at The Taos Inn, and other venues have special appearances planned for this inaugural weekend.

For more complete information on the weekend’s happenings, including location and schedule information, check the Tempo “Que pasa” calendar pages in print or online at taosnews.com.

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Michael Martinez

I try not to comment on art with my personal views as I find it as an important means of communication and expression. I am looking at the banners displayed and see one which I find disheartening and just cannot remain silent. I am referring to the banner with the two female youth dressed suggestively, labeled derogatorily, and appearing to be representing our local High School. I would like to know the message this banner is communicating to our youth and what it is expressing? Being that this banner is displayed on one of the most prominent intersections in Taos, not only locals, but tourists see this as what Taos has to represent. I know a few female youths who find this banner offensive and degrading. Taos is a very diverse community and has a lot to offer, to include the younger generations. Surely, displaying a non-representative stereotype of local young women is something we could afford to do without. This banner is certainly nothing I feel as a sense of pride stemming from my hometown.

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