Fine art

Compact creativity

Much anticipated miniatures show opens at Millicent Rogers Museum

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Millicent Rogers, as a Taos resident and philanthropist, had a profound impact on the arts and cultural scenes here. And, likewise, the museum that bears her name holds indisputably important collections representing “the heritage of American Southwest art.”

The museum is always a worthwhile visit, with educational and informative permanent collections and special exhibitions that enhance and expand the permanent works. Perhaps, however, the show that generates the most excitement is the annual Millicent Rogers Museum’s Miniatures Art Show and sale.

For the last 15 winters, art aficionados have gathered at Millicent Rogers to enjoy hundreds of examples of new original art spanning the genres of painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and more, all of which have been produced by Taos County artists and are available for purchase. It’s an event that has become synonymous with all that Taos offers: fine art, multi-cultural influences and a purpose of community unlike any other.

This Friday (Feb. 9) kicks off the 16th annual Millicent Rogers Museum’s Miniatures Art Show and sale. The opening reception will take place at the museum from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, or $10 for members of the museum and may be purchased at the door, in advance at the museum shop located at 1504 Millicent Rogers Road in El Prado, by phone at (575) 758-2462, or online at millicentrogers.org.

Hors d’oeuvres and punch will be served.

This is an extraordinary chance to acquire a museum-quality piece of art at a reasonable price.

Dr. Caroline Jean Fernald, the museum’s executive director, noted, “Competition can be fierce on opening night as this event presents a unique opportunity to purchase a modestly priced work of art by popular Taos artists while also supporting the Millicent Rogers Museum. It’s also a great way to add to your art collection, no matter how full your walls have become by living in such a rich artistic community since each work is miniature.”

And there is a stellar lineup of artists who have elected to participate in this year’s event, including but not limited to Victor Goler, Chris Morel, Valerie Graves, Melinda Littlejohn, Mark Asmus, Angie Coleman, Inger Jirby, Clarence Medina, Josie Lenwell, Gail Golden, Jocelyn Martinez, Holly Sievers, Meredith Garcia, Terry Davis, Ann Huston, Peggy Immel, Sunny Redmond, Robert Cafazzo, Ryan Suazo, T. J. Mabrey, Anne Forbes, Alisa Ritchie  and Jacqueline Gala.

Fernald also noted that many of the artists who are represented in its permanent collections will be participating in the show, including Taos Pueblo artists Dawning Pollen Shorty, Jonathan Warmday Coming, Jeralyn Lujan Lucero and John Suazo.

Other participating artists have unique and significant connections to Millicent Rogers or are descendants of artists already represented by the museum.

Jeweler David B. Anderson is the grandson of Claude and Elizabeth Anderson, who were close friends of Millicent Rogers and who donated their home to the museum in 1968. Gallery 11 incorporates the original entrance way to the hacienda as it stood at the time of donation and still contains the carved initials of the Andersons, Rogers, Frieda Lawrence (widow of D. H. Lawrence), Dorothy Brett and some of the workers who originally constructed the home.

A renowned gold and silversmith who has received accolades from his participation in former Millicent Rogers shows, Anderson says on his website, “It’s the process of creating beauty that sustains me … My connection with the traditions and history of Taos and other cultures is also expressed in my designs.”

Also represented are traditional carvers Luis and Daniel Barela, who are direct descendants of Patrociño Barela, the famous carver whose work is on view in the museum’s Hispanic devotional art galleries. Barela, although barely schooled and functionally illiterate, became the first Mexican-American artist to garner national acclaim, with inclusion of his works in a show held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Fernald noted with pride that a sweeping collection of more than 200 works of art were submitted for consideration. “These works are offered for sale as a way to support both the local arts community and the museum, and several artists even donate the full amount from the sale of their artwork to the museum,” she said.

When asked how the show and sale is curated, Fernald explained, “The staff of the museum selects the best submissions for the show that fit within our strict criteria for acceptance. For example, all works must be “miniature” or 100 square inches or less, meet museum quality standards, be original, less than a year old and not have been shown in any other exhibit.”

And, in keeping with previous years, the museum’s board of trustees will award best in show while those who attend the opening reception will have the opportunity to vote in three categories for the peoples’ choice award: 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional and jewelry. Winners will be announced on Monday (Feb. 12).

Fernald said of the show, “The museum is known for its establishment of events that specifically support the community, and we have a reputation for doing them consistently well.” As her gaze swept across a room brimming with this year’s submissions, she added, “The sheer talent represented here is a testament to the miniatures art show and sale, is it not?”

The show will run through March 4. Works of art that are not already committed to early buyers may be purchased online at millicentrogers.org.

The Millicent Rogers Museum is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sundays from November to March and is open every day at the same hours from April to October. Regular admission is always complimentary to Taos County residents. Visit millicentrogers.org or call (575) 758-2462 for more information about admission, events, holiday closures and exhibits.

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