Janet Webb

Artist, vol­un­teer, web de­signer Janet Webb

Tradiciones Heroes - - Contents - by Jesse Moya

‘A while ago, there was New York, Chicago and Taos. That’s where you went to col­lect art,” said Taos res­i­dent David Mapes. “We would be not on that map at all if it wasn’t for Janet.” With over 40 years in Taos, few can say they have done more for the arts com­mu­nity, or the com­mu­nity in gen­eral, than Janet Webb. From graphic de­sign to the pro­mo­tion of the arts, Webb has spent her time in Taos en­sur­ing the sur­vival of the artis­tic feel of this his­tor­i­cal town. Dur­ing that time, she has seen the cre­ation of var­i­ous coun­cils, groups and busi­nesses and has of­fered her time and ef­forts to mak­ing Taos a bet­ter com­mu­nity for all who live in it.

Hail­ing from Los An­ge­les, Webb de­cided to make Taos her per­ma­nent home to raise her three chil­dren and im­merse her­self in the com­mu­nity she would come to love. From the busy busi­ness world of the city to the calm seren­ity of Taos, Webb de­cided to get the ball rolling on a new project af­ter a few years of set­tling into the area.

“You start a busi­ness here just be­cause there’s no­body to hire you,” she said laugh­ing.

That startup would quickly be­come one of the most im­por­tant sup­port and de­sign busi­nesses in Taos with a sim­ple yet mem­o­rable name, Webb De­sign. Webb worked with count­less busi­nesses in the Taos area in print, web­site and other graphic needs that spurred the cre­ation of a Taos busi­ness scene. Posters, pam­phlets, maps and more be­gan pour­ing out of the de­sign shop, and busi­ness af­ter busi­ness came through to have their me­dia built by Webb De­sign.

Prac­ti­cally ev­ery­one in Taos was a client of Webb De­sign at some point in­clud­ing ho­tels, ski re­sorts and even churches in the area. The com­mu­nity at large re­lied on Webb De­sign for their print and pro­mo­tional needs.

For over 30 years, Webb helped busi­nesses get their names out to the com­mu­nity and her com­pany was re­spon­si­ble for many of the first web­sites busi­ness own­ers launched. Dur­ing the com­pany’s life­span, nearly 60 peo­ple worked for Webb and helped her build Webb De­sign into the com­pany that launched hun­dreds of dreams for such a long list of busi­nesses in and around Taos.

“All those years, I al­ways had good peo­ple work­ing for me,” Webb said. “So now, with all this vol­un­teer work I do, it’s just me. I’m real­iz­ing how much my staff did.”

Artist and web de­signer Janet Webb poses for a por­trait in her home. Mor­gan Timms Webb vis­its the Har­wood Art Mu­seum, where she is a board mem­ber. Mor­gan Timms

While her im­pact on the busi­ness com­mu­nity was a shin­ing light, earn­ing her such ac­co­lades as the New Mex­ico Hospi­tal­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion’s hall of fame and a tech award from the New Mex­ico Tech­nol­ogy Coun­cil, art is truly this gifted Taoseño’s pas­sion.

Webb ex­pressed her pas­sion for the arts as a sketch artist and con­tin­ues to cre­ate when the in­spi­ra­tion is right. When not work­ing on her own com­po­si­tions, Webb can be seen at one of the sev­eral com­mit­tee or board meet­ings she is in­volved with around town in­clud­ing the PASEO, Har­wood and SOMOS boards.

“I wanted Taos to be rep­re­sented in a more au­then­tic way than a lot of mar­ket­ing peo­ple would do,” she said.

She is still ac­tively in­volved with the boards and can of­ten be seen at var­i­ous com­mu­nity meet­ings that have agenda items per­tain­ing to the arts.

Webb’s con­tri­bu­tions to Taos were not lim­ited to only the artist com­mu­nity, but to the dig­i­tal realm as well. In an ef­fort to bet­ter con­nect Taos to other parts of the world, Webb helped dial in the fin­ish­ing touches on Taos Net.

“A lot of peo­ple move here to get away from the big city, and they like the prim­i­tive­ness and the ru­ral­ness of Taos,” she said. “It’s a ru­ral place that has a very ur­ban global mind­set and I like that. I want to be part of the world.”

Dur­ing the early part of the 1990s, only one in­ter­net com­pany ex­isted in Taos, which lim­ited the con­nec­tions peo­ple here had to the rest of the world. Webb de­cided this was un­ac­cept­able to al­low a sin­gle provider to mo­nop­o­lize the in­ter­net in­dus­try and helped Taos Net get off the ground. Since then, the com­pany has been pro­vid­ing in­ter­net ser­vices to the peo­ple of Taos.

In keep­ing with her artist roots and tra­di­tions, an­other con­tri­bu­tion Webb con­tin­ues with is the on­line Taos Art Cal­en­dar, which keeps the com­mu­nity aware of the var­i­ous art gallery open­ings and hap­pen­ings in the com­mu­ni­ties around Taos. Webb sees her ef­forts to keep the widely viewed cal­en­dar as a needed ser­vice that di­rects tourists and lo­cals to the hap­pen­ings at gal­leries, thus sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity of artists. Ev­ery de­tail of ev­ery show or open­ing in the cal­en­dar is added sim­ply be­cause Webb thinks peo­ple need to know where to see and ex­pe­ri­ence the art of their town.

“She has just been de­voted and loyal to keep­ing Taos in the news and por­tray­ing it in a pos­i­tive light,” Mapes said. “She has made her­self re­ally avail­able to the new mar­ke­teers as a well of his­tory and knowl­edge.”

Taos rev­els in the his­tory of the arts that has so­lid­i­fied it­self here with Webb adding to the list of that cen­tury-old his­tory and tra­di­tion with each step she takes. What the fu­ture holds for Janet Webb even she doesn’t know. How­ever, if there is an artis­tic el­e­ment at­tached to it, chances are she won’t be too far be­hind.

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