‘Looking back to past art movements, which have come and gone, I realize that the only works of a few outstanding innovators have remained,” the late Ted Egri said in a special publication on the Taos Fall Arts Festival in The Taos News on Sept. 3, 1970. “The movements in themselves were not the important factors. The outstanding art objects which resulted from the changing scene of man was what really had greatest significance.”
Taos Fall Arts Festival has been an annual event conducted in late September since 1974. Its purpose has been to showcase the best local visual art from the heart of Taos.
The festival featured two main exhibitions: “The Taos Open” and “Taos Invites Taos.” One was an open entry exhibition and the other a juried invitational exhibit – until this year.
The Taos Fall Arts Festival board of directors has made significant changes. The “Taos Invites Taos” section and jurying of artworks have been eliminated. This year’s show will feature only “The Taos Open,” an all-inclusive exhibit for every Taos County artist.
One work of art per artist will be accepted due to limited space. The entry deadline, including an image of artwork and fee, is Tuesday (Aug. 15). The popular “Small Works” section will continue as a feature of “The Taos Open.” As works are purchased, artists will be given the opportunity to replace their sold work with an alternate piece.
The exhibit will open Sept. 22 with a reception from 5-8 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Gymnasium, 205 Don Fernando St., just west of Taos Plaza. Afterward, it will be open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Oct. 1.
Since 2014, The PASEO has been seen as a vital addition to the Taos Fall Arts Festival opening weekend. It brought what many have called a welcome flavor to the festival with its outdoor, large-scale and often public participatory installations, mostly created by a number of out-of-town artists.
This year, Taos will showcase a scaled-down PASEO. The event will take place on one day only, Sept. 23, from 7-11 p.m., on Taos Plaza. Although we will see a little bit less of PASEO, organizers promise a larger event to return in 2018.
Taos Fall Arts President Paul Figueroa said he sees these changes to Fall Arts as necessary, inevitable and desirable.
“The Taos Fall Arts Festival has celebrated artistic expression and provided artists in Taos the opportunity to share their work with the public,” Figueroa said. “To achieve this successful business record over more than four decades reflects our ability to identify and act upon changes in the art community and Taos. We are a community known for 1,000 and more years of creativity in the arts and the establishment of an art colony in the United States for over a century. A paramount objective of the Fall Arts Festival is to market Taos as an art experience and destination for visitors and collectors. We must be aware of both macro and micro changes in the economy, the artistic interests of our visitors and ever-changing expression of creativity in all its art forms produced by the artists of Taos.”
Figueroa added, “By examining and acting upon changes, we remain vital and relevant to the community. The Taos Fall Arts Festival is important because we listen to the art community in meaningful ways. We value quality in creativity and opportunities for sharing with our residents and visitors both the current and future of Taos art.”
Ricky Pass, Taos Fall Arts vice president and marketing director, stated, “Taos Fall Arts Festival offers Taos County artists a well-advertised venue to show work that may not be available to them unless they are already in a local gallery. The festival is known as a great place to find emerging collectible artists’ work. Of course, many of our patrons come expecting to see famous, established artists, as well. This is a terrific draw for the art community and supports the Taos economy.”
Agnes Chavez and Matt Thomas, co-directors of The PASEO, explained the changes for this year’s exposition. “We’ve always felt that PASEO was an experiment,” they said in a prepared statement. “We wanted it to evolve according to what worked and what our community wanted and enjoyed. It’s necessary to adjust year to year to make improvements and to make it sustainable. With the feedback from our community we have a better idea of what installations are more successful and what demands are necessary to carry out a complete and sustainable event. This fall we are condensing the event to one night and only on Taos Plaza. One of the most common comments we get is about the positive energy that is created with PASEO and the strong sense of community that fills the streets. This year, we are filling the plaza. We are seeking ways to become more sustainable. By holding off on the larger festival for a year, this will allow us to get the financial support we need to make the event more sustainable.”
Chavez and Thomas said they believe The PASEO is important to the Taos community. “The reaction we have received, as well, feeds us to keep continuing and providing free, outdoor art experiences for our entire community. It’s important that we continue to provide art experiences to our greater community, and to enhance our public spaces with inclusive gatherings that bring us all together — art has a great way of doing that,” the joint statement continues.
“In addition to bringing new, cutting edge artworks to Taos, we also have seen the impact it has had on our youth and our local professional artists. Over the years we have worked with established artists seeking to ‘explore’ new medias and techniques. And, for the past three years we have brought our PASEO artists into the schools, inspiring students with 21st century skills with STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and math] workshops. The workshops culminate with the students work presented side-by-side with internationally known artists. How can we transform where we live with design and artful contributions? What would a community look like if we all gathered together for one or two nights and filled our public spaces? We’ve had fun placing art in unusual spaces, provoking people to look at where they live in new and exciting ways. People are excited about PASEO, it’s their town — highlighted!”
Updates to all changes and the entry form for the 2017 Taos Fall Arts Festival can be found online at taosfallarts.com. Updates to The PASEO 2017 are online at paseoproject.org.
Taos Fall Arts Festival schedule
Tuesday (Aug. 15), midnight: Deadline for submission to “Taos Open”
Sept. 15, 5-7 p.m.: Opening reception for “Pressing on 7,” a consortium of 21 Taos printmakers, satellite exhibition of Taos Fall Arts, at the Stables Art Gallery of the Taos Center for the Arts, 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte
Sept. 22, 5-8 p.m.: Opening reception for Taos Fall Arts Festival “Taos Open” exhibit at Our Lady of Guadalupe Gymnasium, 205 Don Fernando St.
Sept. 23, 7-11 p.m.: The PASEO, various multimedia installations in Taos Plaza
Sept. 27-Oct. 1: Taos Environmental Film Festival at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For details, call (575) 758-2052.