Art

Local arts organizations set plans for new year

Programs include many designed to increase advocacy and visibility for local artists

By Tamra Testerman
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 1/8/20

Tempo asked leaders from the Taos Arts Council, the Taos Center for the Arts, the Society of the Muse of the Southwest and the Taos Gallery Association to give us a snapshot of what they accomplished last year and what's on the docket for the new year.

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Art

Local arts organizations set plans for new year

Programs include many designed to increase advocacy and visibility for local artists

Posted

It's the start of a new decade and Taos arts organizations that promote poetry and book readings, art exhibitions, workshops, concerts and summer arts tours have big plans for 2020 and beyond. Tempo asked leaders from the Taos Arts Council, the Taos Center for the Arts, the Society of the Muse of the Southwest and the Taos Gallery Association to give us a snapshot of what they accomplished last year and what's on the docket for the new year. Here are the edited highlights.

Paul Figueroa, Taos Arts Council

Figueroa, the president of the Taos Arts Council, said, "We are a 'first responder' to the needs of artists and arts organizations and the unifying voice for advocacy in the arts. In 2020 we plan to continue advocacy for public art in Taos. The council hosts an exhibition of art in public spaces such as Taos Town Hall. Opening this month (January) is a solo exhibition featuring 49 works by autistic artist 'Jesse' - 'Jesse: Celebrating Taos Diversity.' This showcases the dynamic drawings by Jesse while acknowledging the support of the Taos community for this artist.

"Shows will continue throughout 2020 including the popular 'Beyond Taos: Open Studio Tour' in Northern New Mexico featuring Taos, Angel Fire, Río Costilla, Questa, El Rito and Dixon studio tours. We also surveyed the public art scene and offered tours of public art collections at the Fire Department and Holy Cross Hospital. With the potential for partnerships with University of New Mexico-Taos and MainStreet Taos, a new era for public art will continue the standard set by the [Works Progress Administration] frescoes in the historic Taos County Courthouse on the Plaza. We plan to establish an internship to introduce college students to the functions of a local arts council. This year the committee for community outreach will seek artists, patrons and residents to better identify services the Arts Council can provide to maintain a vital and active arts community in Taos. For 2020 memberships in the Taos Arts Council will be a prominent goal to sustain and grow our visibility."

For more information visit taosartscouncil.org or call (575) 224-2720.

David Mapes, Taos Gallery Association

Mapes is the executive director for the Taos Gallery Association. He said its mission in 2020 is "to continue to empower the galleries and reaffirm their importance to the town. Arts are the foundation of the present culture and while you can't discount the Taos prior to being an art enclave, it is art that put Taos on the map. With the pueblo community and a world-class ski resort, there is no place like Taos in the world. Taos art provides a testimony to the past and a bridge to the future.

"There was a gross underestimation of the galleries contribution to the local tax base," he continued. " It is imperative we continue in 2020 to remind the town of Taos policymakers that we are a main economic driver and contribute to the health of the community by our marketing and advertising, employment of locals and other direct means. The gallery association plans to continue to build on their collaboration with the town of Taos and the Taos Ski Valley."

Mapes said, "Our culture and art make the region unique. It is up to the galleries to create programming. When we do, the town and ski valley incorporate our events into their advertising. We plan to continue to collaborate with the rich music scene in Taos. Our most successful event to date is the Gallery Stroll with Michael Hearne which happens prior to the Big Barn Dance. This year's stroll will be on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Look for a change this year that will include many more galleries."

For more information visit taosgalleryassoc.com.

Jan Smith, Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS)

SOMOS Program Director Smith said in early February there will be a special poet laureate reading with Sawnie Morris and new Taos poet laureate Catherine Strisik. Smith said, "We will host a second literary dinner with Santa Fe author Hampton Sides, reading from his historical novel-in-progress, 'Resolution,' which is about the third and final voyage of Captain James Cook. Our Young Writers Program, which operates during the school year, will continue from August to the beginning of May. It has three components, which include mentoring and pairing a young writer with an adult writer in their chosen genre, and a young writers group and writers-in-the-schools.

"We offer a Young Writers Summer Camp for a week in early June," Smith continued. "Performance opportunities for youth include our annual Young Writers Open Mic Night at the Harwood [Museum], a collaboration between the Taos Environmental Film Festival on Earth Day, and a night of youth poetry during April Poetry Month. We'll continue our quarterly Writers Showcase, which sponsors national and international writers and poets to Taos for readings and workshops."

Taos freelance writer and poet Ariana Kramer (of Tempo's The Hum) will curate the eighth annual Poetry Month in April. Kramer said she is "planning a reading of the epic poem of 'Gilgamesh' and poems of 'Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth.' These are the oldest existing poems that humanity has uncovered. They were written in cuneiform on clay tablets and come from the southern Mesopotamia region, which is Iran today. They date back to 2,000 B.C."

Kramer continued, "There will again be Poetry and Art in Public Places, a collaboration between SOMOS and Taos Arts Council. This year Taos poets and artists will respond to one another's work. Ten artists will respond to the poems of 10 poets. And 10 poets will respond to the art of 10 artists. The resulting works will be displayed together around town in coffee shops, art galleries and other public places."

For more information, visit SOMOS website somostaos.org or call (575) 758-0081.

Colette LaBouff, Taos Center for the Arts

Taos Center for the Arts Executive Director Labouff said in the new year that the TCA "looks forward to establishing and cultivating existing partnerships and collaborating with others to involve Taos communities in meaningful ways." She said, "One of the TCA's goals in 2020 is to increase programming that is free, low-cost and available on a sliding scale. In 2020 TCA will host guest-curated exhibitions, Missoula Children's Theater, the second annual Oo-Oo-Nah Art and Cultural Center Student Exhibition and the third annual Día de Los Muertos.

"In addition," she noted, "the TCA continues to host independent, art house and limited run films in its weekly TCA presents Movies on the Big Screen film series, and screening of National Theatre, Broadway, and Metropolitan Opera HD performances. The TCA plans to continue its play reading series, Out Loud, and host Ambos Lados, an international print exchange of 158 prints spanning the U.S. Mexican border. The TCA will to continue to partner with The Taos Inn hosting visual art shows. New for 2020, is 'The Living Room Concert Series,' an intimate concert series in the Taos Community Auditorium's Encore Gallery."

For more information, visit tcataos.org or call (575) 758-4677.

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