Taos lets its art flag fly

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There’s no shortage of banners flapping in the breeze around downtown Taos these days.

That’s because a joint project between the Town of Taos and some 66 local artists is flying high on all the lamp posts in and around Taos Plaza.

Looking for a more contemporary way to promote Taos, the town’s Marketing and Tourism Department researched the latest trends in tourism and found that many visitors wanted a town that took ownership in its best qualities. 

What evolved was a simple but profound question: What is the community proud of?

The answer came back loudly: Taos is an art colony that is proud of its large population of accomplished artists.

“What we see is that tourists now want to see what a town is proud of,” said Ana Karina Armijo, the town’s director of marketing and tourism. “They want to see community buy-in, want to come to a place where locals are involved, a place that distinctly different because of that. “We call it ‘civic tourism,’” Armijo said.

One model for the Lamppost Banner effort was the successful Paint for Peaks Snowboard Art Auction at Taos Ski Valley, where local and regional artists painted original artwork on snowboards that were sold to support breast cancer awareness and treatment. This fundraiser combined art with the outdoors, something that would fit down in the town, too.

As with Paint for Peaks, there is no central theme that artists followed when creating a banner, Instead, the flag-flying puts the talented, eclectic variety of homegrown Taos art on display for all to see and enjoy.

Of the 66 winners, some 41 have their work on 30x60 inch banners on lampposts along Paseo del Pueblo Sur and Paseo del Pueblo Norte. The other 25 have their creations on 18x30 inch banners on Bent Street, Kit Carson Road, Teresina Lane, Scheurlich Lane and Juan Largo.

In addition, a group of 18 of Taos’ most renowned artists have created one-of-a-kind images to be flown around the Plaza – including Larry Bell, Miguel Martinez, Angie Yazzie, Anita Rodriguez and others.

Local photo studios pitched in to produce high-resolution images, and graphic designer Gina Azzari was hired to coordinate designs.“It’s an effort to empower community members to be active in a place where people want to visit,” said Armijo. “And, most of all, it just made sense for Taos.” Banners go up April 1 and will be on the lampposts until October. 

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