Fine art

Taos Fall Arts: 'Beyond the Horizon'

Taos Fall Arts Festival celebrates our creative life

By Virginia L. Clark
Posted 9/20/18

A special art experience awaits visitors this year to the Taos Fall Arts Festival exhibit, opening with a reception Friday (Sept. 21), 5-8 p.m., at the Our Lady of Guadalupe …

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Fine art

Taos Fall Arts: 'Beyond the Horizon'

Taos Fall Arts Festival celebrates our creative life


A special art experience awaits visitors this year to the Taos Fall Arts Festival exhibit, opening with a reception Friday (Sept. 21), 5-8 p.m., at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Sports and Recreation Center. Muralist David Vedoe has created a fresco of fiery reds on the center's back wall that embraces viewers as they enter the hall and draws them into the art space.

Vedoe is this year's Fall Arts Poster Artist whose"Harvest Dance" is the winning image for the 2018 TFAF poster. He surprised the show committee by specifically requesting the back wall for his work, demonstrating his unmatched mural skills.

Fall Arts is 44 years old this year and is recognized as a singular economic driver of Taos arts culture, second only to the original Taos Pueblo and Martinez Hacienda's historic trade fairs serving Native Americans, Hispanos and mountain men.

Taos Open

The Taos Open is an all inclusive, open-entry show of Taos County artists, either living here or represented in Taos galleries.

"Our mission is to celebrate the visual arts and artists in Taos County," Fall Arts vice president Ricky Pass told Tempo. "Most important is the fact that we had such an amazing response to last year's unjuried show that the board decided to keep the exhibit open. The 2018 theme, 'Beyond the Horizon,' was set to push the limit," Pass explains. "We're more than just beautiful landscapes. We're more contemporary too. We're all-media, including stone and ceramic sculpture, porcelain, beautiful metal garden pieces, chiseled marble, beautiful wood furniture."

Lifetime Achievement Award - Anita Rodríguez

Among the honors Taos Fall Arts bestows on Taos artists, the most exclusive is the Lifetime Achievement Award, this year recognizing the expansive career and life of Anita Rodríguez, as noted by TFAF marketing director Norlynn Coar.

"Anita Rodríguez was raised on Taos Plaza where her father, Alfredo "Skeezix" Antonio Rodríguez owned a drugstore," Coar writes. "Her mother, Grace Graham King, was from Texas and came here to study art with Walter Ufer."

Rodríguez is known nationwide for moving adobe plastering up to code for modern architecture. Traditionally done by Native and Hispanic women for hundreds of years, enjarradoras' historic practice is now well-recognized due to Rodríguez's 25 years practice as a licensed contractor in Northern New Mexico.

Rodríguez is perhaps even more well-known today for calavera, or skeleton, painting themes and her award-winning "Coyota in The Kitchen," penned, illustrated and published at age 75. Coar summarized this powerhouse with Rodríguez's own self-definition: "I am not a liberal or a progressive - I am a revolutionary!"

2018 Image Artists Awards

With such high levels of quality work submitted each year, the TFAF board initiated Image Artist awards in 2017 to share additional work with the community and promote Taos County artists.

Of the 86 images submitted for poster-image selection this year, the image artists awards go to Cathy Carey, for her oil on canvas titled "Miles of Clouds," and Stephen Kilborn's acrylic on canvas titled "Sunflowers and Gorge." In addition to Fall Arts print materials and advertising, Carey and Kilborn are given a shared, designated wall and enter two works in the show. They also participate in the TFAF exhibit at the Taos Ski Valley Art Festival in August along with Fall Arts poster artist Vedoe.

Visionary Artist Awards

Created through the Peter and Madeleine Martin Foundation for the Creative Arts, the award is given to working, exhibiting artists "who contribute to and invigorate the growth of the living art community in Taos," according to the TFAF website, "artists whose works innovate, challenge and bridge the boundary between the traditional and the cutting-edge … and shine a beacon of light upon both the history of the town's reputation and its movement forward into the future, their visions for Taos are extraordinary."

Nominated by local business owners and established artists, 2018's visionary artists are Maye Torres and Rob Nightingale.

The Taos Fall Arts Committee noted online, "Nightingale has owned and operated Wilder Nightingale for 28 years. The number of artists he has launched and promoted in Taos over almost three decades has not only offered support to each artist, but has grown the art community and invested in the economy of Taos. His gallery has been voted 'Best in Taos' repeatedly … Nightingale's paintings are deep, mood-evoking works that create as much the feeling of impending storm and shadow as a unique way of looking at the Taos landscape."

Maye Torres opened Studio 107-B in January, 2018, the same space her mother Cecilia Torres operated New Directions gallery for two decades.

"Torres' work is not only beautiful but evokes strong emotion around the traditions and history of Northern New Mexico," the selection committee states. "Her elegant drawings are often incorporated into larger works requiring the viewer to travel through the beauty of the piece to access its deeper meaning."

Visionary artists have a dedicated display wall at the festival, are featured in The Taos News, in radio interviews and in marketing and advertising for the festival. Each will also receive a cash award of $1,500, along with the visionary artists award certificate.

Kids Give Back Grants

Created in 2011, the TFAF Board grants an award to one or more children's art programs around Taos. Award recipients receive a cash prize toward their program and get to show at the following year's festival. Taos Charter School and Taos International School are the 2018 recipients.

People's Choice Awards

People's Choice awards are from Taos Open visitors voting for their favorite artists in the show and will be announced at the close of the exhibit.

The rest of Fall Arts Festival is punctuated with informal art demos and community performances as noted in the schedule of events below. This whirlwind of creativity fires visual, performing, culinary and film arts into a fury of activity and celebration, ensuring a vibrant arts and cultural community of Taos. For more information, see

2018 Taos Fall Arts Festival Schedule

All events will take place at the Guadalupe Parish Gym, 205 Don Fernando St.

Friday (Sept. 21)

5-8 p.m. Opening reception for Taos Open. "Beyond the Horizon," public reception and awards, entertainment by Christine Autumn & Jazz Trio.

Saturday (Sept. 22)

2 p.m. Ballet Taos

Sunday (Sept. 23)

10 a.m.-noon. Taos Portrait Painters, painting demo

1-4 p.m. Taos National Watercolor Society, painting demo

Monday (Sept. 24)

1:30 p.m. Los Vecinos Bailadores Dance presentation of Los Panos, traditional Spanish dance.

Wednesday (Sept. 26)

1:30 p.m. Puppet Theatre, Titiriteros

Thursday (Sept. 27)

1:30 p.m. Desert Moon Dancers.

Saturday (Sept. 29)

1:30 p.m. Los Niños Bailadores, colonial dancing by children.


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