State of the arts

Arts roundtable discussion on town resolution with Taos Arts Council and ARTAOS

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About 21 community members attended the second Taos Arts Council and ARTAOS roundtable discussion Tuesday (Sept. 12) from 6-8 p.m. at the Mural Room in the Historic County Courthouse, which is at 121 N. Taos Plaza. Participants were invited to discuss and respond to the "Town's Resolution in Support of the Arts 17-41," Item 1, passed on July 25, as noted below:

"The mayor and council direct staff to identify ways in which the town can assist the nonprofit, public and private arts sectors to become more vibrant and successful and to provide the council with a preliminary report no later than Sep 30, 2017."

The first roundtable was Aug. 18, and 35 members of the nonprofit arts sector attended. Both roundtable meetings were intended to be proactive and provide the town with firsthand information from the private arts sector in Taos to suggest ways the town can support and add to a vibrant arts community.

Facilitated by educator Enrico Trujillo, media arts, University of New Mexico-Taos, participants introduced themselves and described their interest in the arts of Taos. Both groups then discussed what makes a vibrant and successful arts community. The groups then suggested ways the town could support the arts and prioritized suggestions.

Among the many and diverse observations about what works and doesn't work to encourage the vibrancy of Taos arts, everyone seemed to agree that more marketing dollars were key to solidifying the arts of Taos as a primary draw to the area and that all the arts - all the varieties of performing and visual arts - needed to be recognized and marketed appropriately.

Taos Arts Council President Paul Figueroa compiled the following three priorities from the first meeting: First, promote greater recognition of the arts community as vibrant and successful. Second, commit revenue to support the arts. Third, designate a town staff person for primary contact with the arts community.

Sarah Basehart, owner of Seconds Eco Store on Bent Street, announced the inaugural "First Friday" street fair, opening Oct. 6. At press time, an unspecified number of performing and visual artists are preparing to dance and give various art demonstrations all along Bent Street, the John Dunn Shops and Taos Plaza. Basehart is waiting to hear from the town if Bent Street can be closed for the event to encourage more foot traffic.

Janet Webb suggested the event be tied to the "First Saturday Art Walks," which are sponsored by the Taos Gallery Association and marketed as the first weekend of every month to be spent in Taos, thus competing with Santa Fe's opening receptions, which are historically held on Friday evenings.

For more on the Taos Arts Council and ARTAOS arts activism, see a related story in Tempo.

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