By Dena Miller
'Taos is Art." These powerfully succinct words describe our town as one of the remaining authentic locations in the United States in which to experience and collect art.
In celebration of the heritage of Taos as a destination for artists and those who wish to support them, the town of Taos has released the names of the winning artists in its inaugural Lamppost Banner Competition, banners which will greet everyone along our main roads and pave the entryway into our premier art colony.
"The Lamppost Banner Competition set out to celebrate and acknowledge living artists and educate visitors that Taos' art scene, while historic, is very much a vibrant art market for present artists," a press release states from The Waite Company, the Albuquerque marketing firm hired by the town of Taos.
"Our creative team came up with 'Taos is Art.' Taos is so many things, including art," explained town of Taos Marketing and Tourism Director Karina Armijo. "In this case, we are defining Taos as a piece of art itself and highlighting it as not only home to a long, rich history of arts and culture, but as a current haven for a living, breathing, vibrant arts community and home to many diverse and talented artists."
In fact, the call to artists for the competition resulted in more than 200 submissions, representing most every artist and gallery in town. Of that pool, 66 winners were chosen to have their works featured on banners hanging throughout the town during the height of the tourist season from April through October, 2018.
"The amount of incredible art that was submitted truly speaks to the talent in Taos County," said Armijo. "I am so thankful to all of the volunteers who helped judge the submissions. Having the support of the community behind such an endeavor highlights what makes living in Taos so special."
Photographic entries of all media were accepted, including painting, pottery, sculpture, printmaking, photography, dance, projection, and installation. Entrants were to be artists of at least 15 years of age and currently living and working in Taos County. Works needed to be less than 10 years old, with current work highly encouraged.
"I think an extraordinary effort was made to include people from different corners of the community, a diverse group with varying perspectives," noted Armijo. "It is a tough process to judge something as subjective as art and with so many [to choose from]. We started with the members of the marketing committee and added volunteers from there."
Of the 66 winners, 41 will have their work featured on 30-by-60-inch lamppost banners lining Paseo del Pueblo Norte and Paseo del Pueblo Sur while the remaining winners will be represented on 18-by-30-inch banners located along Bent Street, Kit Carson Road, Teresina Lane, Scheurlich Lane and Juan Largo Lane.
In addition to the competition winners, 18 Taos Plaza Invites artists, including world-renowned artist Larry Bell, were asked to have their work showcased on banners in Taos Plaza.
Armijo continued, "Taos Plaza Invites aims to honor accomplished artists who've made a unique contribution to the arts in Taos represented in banners located within Taos Plaza in significant locations. This was an idea suggested by members of the art community."
All banners will be installed by April 1. A welcoming reception for the artists is planned for April 6 at town hall, located at 400 Camino de la Placita. Images of each winning banner will grace the walls. Details for the reception are available by calling (575) 751-2000, or by visiting taos.org.
The winners for banners along Paseo del Pueblo Norte and Paseo del Pueblo Sur include John DePuy, Charlotte Miller, Ed Sandoval, Rosemary Ryan, Stephen Kilborn, Diane Scott, Jill Sanger, Carroll Griesedieck, Mary Dolph Wood, Robert Gonzales, Anna Magruder, Allegra Sleep, J. Matthew Thomas, Anäis Rumfelt, Zoë Zimmerman, T. J. Mabrey, Scripture, Leigh Gusterson, Linda Rauch, Pat Pollard, Holly Sievers, Sara Basehart, J. K. Lamkin, Chris Bundy, Elizabeth Jose, Tanner Williams, Denice Weinberg, Terry Davis, Anee Ward, M.A. Warner, Valerie Graves, Debbie Lujan, Lydia Johnston, Sasha vom Dorp, Charlotte Shroyer, Daniel Brown, Nina Anthony, Diane Ainsworth, Meredith Garcia, Rupert Chambers and Teruko Wilde.
The winners for banners along the side streets downtown include William Panzer, Steve Immel, Mimi Chen Ting, Peter Chinni, Steve Bundy, Joe Mueller, Rob Nightingale, David Vedoe, Tera Muskrat, Thom Wheeler, Margaret Nes, Jonathan Sobol, Kimberly Webber, Susan Folwell, Donna Dufresne, Tom Dixon, BJ Briner, Melinda Littlejohn, Deborah Rael-Buckley, Robert Cafazzo, Laura Brzozowski , Tracy Turner Sheppard, Eric Andrews, Dorothy Lampl and Greg Moon.
Taos Plaza Invites will host the banners of Larry Bell, Ron Cooper, Gustavo Victor Goler, Randall LaGro, Miguel Martínez, Paul Pascarella, Christina Sporrong, Christian Ristow, Maria Samora, Ronald Davis, David A Leffel, Angie Yazzie, Ira Lujan, Maye Torres, Sherrie A. McGraw, Jonathan Warm Day Coming, Anita Rodríguez and Land Eagle.
Clearly, the competition focuses our vision upon a true "Who's Who" of the finest living Taos artists, spanning a multitude of genres, visions, and ideals. It's a distinct reminder of what makes Taos unique and very special.
For more information or to see images of the winning banners, you may visit taos.org/winners.