Artist, volunteer, web designer Janet Webb
‘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.