Margo Beutler Gins is a fundraising force of nature in town, a mover and shaker and the steadfast protector of Taos historic landmarks The Blumenschein Home and Museum and la Hacienda de Los Martinez.
Margo Beutler Gins is a fundraising force of nature in town, a mover and shaker and the steadfast protector of Taos historic landmarks The Blumenschein Home and Museum and la Hacienda de Los Martínez.
For three years, she's been president of the board and volunteer executive director of the Taos Historic Museums, which oversees the aforementioned Blumenschein and Martínez Hacienda institutions. In her role she's been a stabilizing presence and guided the financially floundering properties to solvency. She said it's now time for her to retire because she wants to pass the mantle to a younger generation.
"I have worked very hard not only to restore the museums, but to build a multicultural board of directors and incredible staff." She continued, "Early on a wise friend and mentor, Mr. John Spears, told me, 'Don't stay too long.' I believe it's now time for fresh ideas and energy for Taos Historic Museums."
When Gins took over, her goal was to "make these museums viable for generations to come." As she steps down as the president, her vision "remains the same for the future … I believe Taos Historic Museums is where Taos history lives. We represent not only art but the history of all the historical cultures of Taos Valley."
Gins is reluctant to take sole credit for what she has accomplished as president. "I have been blessed to be surrounded by an incredible team of staff members, volunteers and a great community."
She said before she arrived the Taos Historic Museums was struggling. Since she took over, she said, "We have not only renewed the buildings and exhibits but we are now stable financially." She said maintaining a small nonprofit organization with historic structures is a never-ending challenge. "We are still in need of members, donors and volunteers. I feel my biggest accomplishment is bringing the right people together to accomplish the mission. The community [where] I was born and raised has helped to save and ensure the museums' survival."
It would be safe to say she is especially proud of the historic sites she has helped to preserve and share with the public. "The Blumenschein Home and Museum is a true treasure. This museum represents the Taos Society [of Artists] in a living way. When Bert Geer Phillips, my great-grandfather, and Ernest Blumenschein founded the Taos Society of Artists, they ensured Taos as a center for art and culture for generations. At the Blumenschein Home and Museum people can experience what life was like for the artists 100 years ago."
As for the Hacienda de Los Martínez, Gins said it is "a one of a kind and represents 400 years of history in Taos Valley. Our exhibits represent the cultures and lives of the time in the truest sense. Mountain men, Hispanics, Mexicans and many others have passed through the doors of the hacienda. We have strived not only to be attractions for visitors to Taos but to program events that are free and valuable to the community. In my humble opinion the museums are vital to what makes Taos, Taos."
Gins was born into the gallery business. Her father, Bill Beutler, owned Beutler Galleries in Taos and Scottsdale.
She was a child prodigy portrait artist, trained by Robert Daughters, Julian Robles, Rob Goebel and Lloyd Larson. After high school in Arizona, Gins said she "rebelled against art and began dancing." She received a degree in dance at Arizona State University and worked as an instructor trainer for Fred Astaire's International. She met her husband, Joshua Gins, who is a fourth-generation Albuquerquean and became co-owner of a small software company called Sunspot Broadcast Systems.
After the couple sold the company and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1989, Gins became a forensic sketch artist with the United States Secret Service in Beltsville, Maryland. Later, she returned to school and got her nursing certification, after which she worked in private practice for many years. This culminated in an assignment as a contract nurse with the 628th Medical Group at Charleston Air Force Base.
She has two sons - Parker Gins, a Nashville drummer, and Mitchell Gins, an executive with Lowe's Corporate.
Gins said she plans to stay active and will "continue raising funds, gaining members, writing grants to ensure the longevity of these institutions. It took me 30 years to return to my beloved hometown and I plan on enjoying all that I have so longed for. I love Taos and most all who dwell here. My grandmother called it 'the land of milagros' (miracles) and I agree."
Her parting presidential wish is "for all Taoseños to visit, volunteer or become a member-donor of these vital museums. Taos is a wonderful, magical place and in order for us to move forward we must protect our treasures from the past."
The Blumenschein Home and Museum is located at 222 Ledoux Street. It is open every day from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. except Wednesday and Thursday. Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $8; $7 for seniors. La Hacienda de Los Martínez is located at 708 Hacienda Way, off Lower Ranchitos Road (State Road 240), with the same hours and admission prices.
For more information, visit taoshistoricmuseums.org or call (575) 758-0505. For la Hacienda de los Martínez, call (575) 758-1000.
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