Photo: Sheila Sund
TAOS, NM—One of the oldest art colonies in the United States, Taos, New Mexico, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the formation of Taos Society of Artists, along with several other major milestone anniversaries in 2015. Dozens of public events are scheduled throughout the year in celebration of these milestones beginning with an exhibition opening at Taos Town Hall on April 17 titled, “Past, Present, Future: A Celebration of Taos Art Colony.”
In 1915, six artists formed an alliance known as the Taos Society of Artists, which would transform Taos into a world-renowned artist colony. One hundred years later, Taos is recognizing that defining year, which forever branded Taos’ identity as a mecca for artists. All Taos museums have exhibitions of work from the “Taos Founders,” and Taos Center for the Arts will hang a Taos Now Exhibit so visitors will see how Taos art has evolved.
On June 5 at 6 p.m., the Couse-Sharp Historic Site will host a roundtable discussion at the Taos Center for the Artists including six descendants of Taos Society of Artists. The next day, June 6, from 3 to 5 p.m.the public can meet these family members at a free open house and reception in the home and studios where E.I. Couse and J.H. Sharp lived and worked. Admission to the roundtable discussion is $10 per person. For tickets, call 575-758-2052 or email info(at)tcataos(dot)org.
The Mural Room of the Old Courthouse on Taos Plaza, the Historic Taos Inn, and other downtown venues will host 100th anniversary celebrations from 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. on July 15 – the date the Taos Society of Artists was created. This date fortuitously falls right between a beloved Taos Pueblo event, Taos Pow Wow, and the Spanish celebration of Fiestas de Taos, allowing visitors to experience all three Taos cultures in a single week. As part of the Fiestas parade on Sunday July 19, a Taos Society of Artists “Broken Wagon Wheel” float will illustrate the story behind the alliance’s formation.
Throughout the year, theatrical readings, lectures, and walking tours centered on the 100th anniversary will be ongoing. A full calendar of events celebrating the 100th anniversary can be found at taos.org/100.
Other major milestone in Taos during 2015 include:
400th anniversary, Spanish colonization of Taos Plaza. Taos Plaza, considered to be the “heart of Taos,” was settled in 1615 by Spanish Colonists. It was built for defense – windows and doors faced the plaza and limited entrances could be barricaded. The plaza includes the Old County Courthouse, Hotel La Fonda, and local businesses. Taos Mayor Dan Barrone will kick off the annual Taos Plaza Live! on May 28 with a proclamation honoring “El Corazon de Taos” (“the heart of Taos”) as part of the plaza anniversary celebration. Taos Plaza Live! continues through September, and features free live music each Thursday on the plaza. Then from July 17–19, Las Fiestas de Taos will take place. It is a centuries-old annual celebration of Taos’ patron saints, Santa Ana and Santiago. Tasty local cuisine, traditional music and dancing are all part of the event which is complimentary to the public. Visit fiestasdetaos.com for more information.
300th anniversary, La Lovata Acequia. An “acequia” system of hand-dug ditches fed with water from mountain streams irrigates the lush Taos valley. The community irrigated by La Lovata Acequia has created a project to engage select Taos youth groups in acequia-based traditions with “master” instructors and hands-on activities of watershed/acequia practices and values. The Taos Historical Society will host a lecture, “Acequia Culture in New Mexico” on Sept. 12 at the Kit Carson Electric Boardroom. A public ceremony to honor the anniversary will also take place at Fred Baca Park on Sept. 20. A special exhibition on acequias will be held in the Mural Room of the Historic Taos County Courthouse during the Fall Arts Festival in September and October.
200th anniversary, completion of San Francisco de Asis Church. A National Historic Landmark and local treasure, San Francisco de Asis was built in 1815 and is considered to be one of the most painted churches in the country. The church, which is known to locals as “Rancho de Taos church” has drawn artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams who were attracted to its architecture – a combination of native and Spanish styles. The church is re-mudded each spring by the community. Inside, it contains a mystery painting, “Shadow of the Cross” which seems to change form once the lights go down. Painted by Henry Ault in 1896, it can be viewed for a small fee. Seven weeks of programming will take place at the parish building from Aug. 22–Oct. 4, and will feature photos and documents from the church archives. Lectures will take place every Sunday at 2 p.m. on topics relating to the church’s history. Visit taos.org/milestones for more information.
50th anniversary, opening of Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. The fifth highest bridge in the United States, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was built in 1965 to allow access to Taos from the west, eliminating the treacherous drive down, and up again, through the steep gorge. The bridge sits at approximately 650 feet above the Rio Grande and spans 1,280 feet. The bridge has appeared in many films and is a major attraction in Taos. A public ceremony commemorating that day will take place at the bridge on Sept. 10, 2015.
Other milestone birthdays in Taos include the 30th anniversary of the Taos Pueblo Pow Wow (July 10-12); and the 60th ski season at Taos Ski Valley, which recently opened its new Kachina Peak chairlift.
For complete information on all milestone related events in Taos, visit http://taos.org/milestones.