Taos Arts Coun­cil hosts in­au­gu­ral fo­rums and award ban­quet hon­or­ing Peter Chinni

Tempo - - CONTENTS - By Vir­ginia L. Clark

So­lid­i­fy­ing Taos’ rep­u­ta­tion as an art mecca was the fo­cus of last week­end’s art fo­rums and in­au­gu­ral award ban­quet hosted by the Taos Art Coun­cil. Over­all, about 30 to 40 peo­ple joined in the var­i­ous ses­sions of the TAC’s events ded­i­cated to Taos artists and the busi­ness of art Fri­day and Satur­day (March 23-24) in the mu­ral room of the His­toric Taos County Court­house on the north­side of Taos Plaza. The week­end wrapped up with a sold­out gala award ban­quet hon­or­ing Taos sculp­tor Peter Chinni Sun­day (March 25) at the new din­ing spot, Salt+Wine (for­merly El Mez), in El Prado.

“This week­end is high­light­ing what Taos Arts Coun­cil has been do­ing in the com­mu­nity,” said Ce­cilia Cuff, TAC Board mem­ber and gala co­or­di­na­tor. “They all work so hard and be­lieve so much in what they do; and 2018 is Taos Arts Coun­cil’s first year to give out the Pre­em­i­nent Artist Award.” In­cluded with the award is TAC’s nom­i­na­tion of the artist for the an­nual Gov­er­nor’s Award for Ex­cel­lence in the Arts. Prob­a­bly the most ex­cit­ing news of the week­end came from Town Man­ager Rick Bel­lis re­gard­ing an in­te­grated “art space” for Taos artists.

“It doesn’t do any good to be an art town if you can’t live here to be the starv­ing artist of Taos you want to be,” Bel­lis quipped. The present plan, he said, is to cre­ate 60 to 80 units of hous­ing for any-me­dia artist, with re­tail and per­for­mance space, all as an “in­cu­ba­tor” that has to be down­town to cre­ate “vi­brancy” and be easy to reach.

To­tal es­ti­mated cost of the pro­ject is $14 mil­lion, in­clud­ing prop­erty ac­qui­si­tion. “Three lo­ca­tions are presently un­der­way,” Bel­lis said, with some pre­lim­i­nary ar­chi­tec­tural

ren­der­ings for at least one lo­ca­tion, but no names or places could be men­tioned at this time. A fol­low-up site lo­ca­tion and ne­go­ti­a­tion-team visit is sched­uled for mid-April. Bel­lis also talked about the lim­i­ta­tions on gov­ern­ment agen­cies when grant­ing fund­ing for the arts. Be­cause the state’s anti-do­na­tion clause pre­vents gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties from giv­ing money to an in­di­vid­ual or in­di­vid­ual busi­ness, the town and county agen­cies fund events that ben­e­fit the whole com­mu­nity. “Plus, we have to show that we get some­thing back from the event as well,” Bel­lis said, giv­ing as ex­am­ples mar­ket­ing and man­age­ment fund­ing from the lodgers tax that has gone to The Paseo Art Expo, Taos Farm­ers Mar­ket and the En­vi­ron­men­tal Film Fes­ti­val. Bel­lis and all pan­elists Fri­day and

Satur­day said to talk to them. They need the in­put to know what the com­mu­nity’s bright ideas are, so they can help steer folks to the ap­pro­pri­ate fund­ing agency. “Artist to Artist: When Art is Your Busi­ness” on Fri­day was an in­ter­ac­tive round­table pre­sented by artist Mag­gie Han­ley of New Mex­ico Arts in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Marko Sch­mitt of the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico-Taos Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter.

Han­ley en­gaged at­ten­dees on their mar­ket­ing strate­gies, what worked well and what did not, sug­gest­ing sure-win al­ter­na­tives she and Sch­midt have found ef­fec­tive.

“I love the busi­ness of art,” Sch­midt in­sisted to the fairly du­bi­ous au­di­ence.

“Art sales is fun!” he said, ad­vo­cat­ing artists contact him to

kick-start their own sales, a free­bie re­quir­ing only the artists’ time. In ad­di­tion to in­di­vid­ual artists from Taos and Santa Fe, artists from the Questa Arts Coun­cil, Taos Gallery As­so­ci­a­tion and North­ern New Mex­ico Col­lege-El Rito, among oth­ers, were in at­ten­dance. “State of the Arts in Taos” Satur­day in­cluded Bel­lis’ re­port on Town Res­o­lu­tion 17-41 in sup­port of the arts. The res­o­lu­tion in­cludes lo­cal art in pub­lic spa­ces; ex­pand­ing dis­play space for lo­cal artists and specif­i­cally Taos Pue­blo artists, in the re­model of the vis­i­tor cen­ter at Paseo del Pue­blo Sur and Paseo del Cañon East; in­te­gra­tion of lo­cal art work in ma­jor town park events; re­vi­sion of its art and craft show pol­icy to em­pha­size lo­cal artists, cul­tural, his­tor­i­cal or non­profit com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions, start­ing with the spring 2018 sea­son; and work­ing with the county to iden­tify fund­ing for the His­toric Taos County Court­house ren­o­va­tion, also be­gin­ning this spring.

Town pub­lic re­la­tions as­so­ci­ate Jeanette Rael re­viewed arts pro­mo­tion from 2016, and this quar­ter’s Taos County Lamp­post Ban­ner Ini­tia­tive, “Work By Women” Har­wood Mu­seum ex­hibit pro­mo­tion, Western Art Col­lec­tor mag­a­zine press trip and story for the May 2018 is­sue, and Taos Spring Arts: Celebrating Art, Cul­ture and Mu­sic push to the Dal­las and Santa Fe mar­ket.

The arts ed­u­ca­tion in Taos Schools pan­elists in­cluded Chris­tine Au­tumn of Taos Mid­dle School, Michael Hens­ley of the Taos High School art pro­gram and Grant Co­or­di­na­tor Tanya Vigil of the Arts in Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram. Fund­ing for pro­grams and ma­te­ri­als is suf­fer­ing in most places, but the teach­ers are stretch­ing funds and hold­ing on. Grant di­rec­tor Jenice Gharib men­tioned the Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts grants would be good for such school and re­gional projects. Grant as­sis­tance and ad­vice was given by He­len Forte of Taos Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Thomas Romero of North­ern Rio Grande Na­tional Her­itage Area and Bill Wha­ley of the UNM Ex­tended Univer­sity.

Art “cre­ation” ver­sus art “pro­mo­tion” was the point of the res­i­den­cies fea­tured Satur­day. Lo­cal Taos res­i­den­cies rep­re­sented were

Nic Knight’s He­lene Wurl­itzer Foun­da­tion of Taos, Peggy Chung’s Harekeke in Lama, and Joel Mein­holz of Parse Seco, with a late ad­di­tion of The Paseo’s Matt Thomas’ new en­deavor, the MMoAA (Mo­bile Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Ar­ti­facts) trav­el­ing col­lec­tion that is com­ing to Taos in April.

For more in­for­ma­tion or con­tacts on any of the fo­rum pan­elists, visit taosartscoun­


FROM LEFT are Univer­sity of New Mex­ico In­struc­tor Bill Wha­ley, Taos Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion Grant Co­or­di­na­tor He­len Forte and North­ern Rio Grande Na­tional Her­itage Area Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Thomas Romero. They were part of a panel led by Taos Arts Coun­cil...

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