Vagrant Heart opens space for alternative artists

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Six months in the making, Vagrant Heart is opening its doors at 216 Paseo del Cañon Saturday (May 5) for a new generation of Taos artists and their talents.

Hailed as an "art Mecca," Taos has had a bit of a lull in the variety of art offered to tourists, travelers and locals who flock to the vibrant culture and community of artists.

For several years, street art has been somewhat of a phenomenon in the art world. Artists making up the Vagrant Heart gallery are giving that side of the artistic spectrum to the community.

"The goal has been kind of loose until now," said contributing local artist Scripture. "Much of the focus is going to be young and up and coming artists and also exposing Taos to the street art that is readily available."

Scripture, along with other artists in town, is bringing the elements of street art to the gallery scene with Vagrant Heart and will be showcasing a wide variety of local street art and alternative art talent. Artists have been working for six months trying to get the space ready, and after several paint, drywall and finishing touches, Vagrant Heart is ready to open.

The art is a kind of highly stylized street interpretation of cultural symbols and icons, such as a figure of Jesus wearing a bandana in one piece. Wildstyle lettering reminiscent of that painted on 1970s New York subway cars melds with refined line drawings of wildlife and street scenes.

From noon to 7 p.m. at the Paseo location of the old Pieces 2 building, the public is invited to join the opening ceremonies. The crew will be walking around to answer questions and will have some of the artists featured in the gallery live painting during the event.

Scripture is optimistic about the future of street art in Taos and is planning on offering various art classes in the future. In addition, the front of the building will serve as a retail space for prints, shirts and other smaller items if a customer doesn't wish to purchase the piece hanging in the gallery.

"There is a certain passion in street art that you don't find in other art," Scripture said.

While keeping an eye on the future, Vagrant Heart artists are hoping to inspire other artists to share in the experience of expanding this alternative art scene in Taos.

"We're giving (artists) positive attention," said contributing artist Auras. "This is another reason to stick around or travel to Taos."

Auras and Scripture are hoping to change some minds about public street art with the opening of Vagrant Heart and will be looking into more public mural space in Taos.

"Wall art public murals are things that are seriously lacking in Taos," Scripture said.

Saturday's event will be an alcohol-free, all ages opening for the gallery. Regular hours have yet to be set by the galley, but artists say they are working at finalizing the details.

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