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Not everyone moves to Taos lock, stock and barrel after an inspired visit or two. For some, the journey emerges over many years in a delicate balance of career, family and geography.

On Thursday (Aug. 5) from 4-6 p.m. there is an opening reception in the Encore Gallery at Taos Center for the Arts (TCA), 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte for "Fleeting," an exhibit of work by artist Marise Riddell who lives in McLean, Virginia, and maintains a studio and home in Taos.

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Hanging an art exhibit involves more than brass nails, fancy lights, four walls and a level. In the hands of an aesthetically tuned curator, a museum can be magically transformed into a performance space and a compelling experience for the visitor.

Michelle Lanteri, the curator of Collections and Exhibitions at Millicent Rogers Museum (MRM), and her small team have done just that, transforming of Gallery 9 into a compelling experience of work by artists from the 29 National Pastel Painting Exhibition presented by the Pastel Society of New Mexico.

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For the first time since its 1989 inception, the Pastel Society of New Mexico has selected the Millicent Rogers Museum - and Taos - as the home of its annual National Pastel Painting Exhibition. It is a coup for both, noted MRM Executive Director Greta Brunschwyler and Nicholas Tesluk, distinguished member of the Pastel Society of New Mexico and chair of this year's juried show.

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'I don't want to talk about my background or my family or anything else about myself, I want to talk about play." Gretchen Ewert said to me when I asked to come see her studio, a spitting distance from my home on Arroyo Hondo Mesa. I would have never known we were neighbors had it not been for sheer curiosity to see her studio.

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The pandemic was particularly challenging for Taos Pueblo, but in its more than 1,000-year old history, it has faced far more dangerous perils, and has survived and thrived despite them. According to Taos Pueblo Director of Tourism Ilona Spruce, the year 2021 will be no different.

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Bob Richardson paints it like he sees it, and that means representing the light along with the dark.

“When I paint,” he writes on his website, “I work to capture an unrehearsed moment of someone’s life.” Unrehearsed is a quality that permeates much of his art. A latecomer to painting, he is largely self-taught. Nonetheless – or perhaps as a result – he does not shy away from challenging subject matter and introduces levity into scenes that might otherwise appear grim.

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With the July 1 reopening of the state of New Mexico from restrictions related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many artists are celebrating their reemergence on the gallery scene. For artists of Native American heritage, it has been particularly difficult since many tribes shut their borders to all outsiders. Taos Pueblo remains closed to visitors until further notice as a safety precaution.