The arts

Celebrating Taos creatives

Taos Arts Council hosts inaugural arts forum, award gala

By Virginia L. Clark
Posted 3/22/18

A three-day weekend dedicated to all the arts and artists of Taos takes place this Friday through Sunday (March 23-25). Whether visual, performance, digital, culinary or other, if …

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in
The arts

Celebrating Taos creatives

Taos Arts Council hosts inaugural arts forum, award gala


A three-day weekend dedicated to all the arts and artists of Taos takes place this Friday through Sunday (March 23-25). Whether visual, performance, digital, culinary or other, if it's creative, it is celebrated this weekend in the first Taos Arts Council Arts Forum and Winter Arts Award Gala.

This highly anticipated event begins Friday with a brisk, interactive art business forum, and continues Saturday with open discussions of the state of the arts in Taos. It culminates Sunday with a sold-out benefit award gala honoring Taos artist Peter Chinni, featuring a culinary extravaganza and evening performance at the new Salt+Wine restaurant (formery El Mez) in El Prado.

"This will be a very special event for Peter Chinni, who turns 90 this year," TAC President Paul Figueroa said. "The board decided a nomination for the annual Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts is definitely something the Taos Arts Council should do. Plus, we thought, let's go one step further and give Peter our own award," thus inaugurating the Taos Arts Council's Preeminent Artist Award, starting in 2018.

Interactive Free Friday

"This will be a very interesting format - not a lecture," forum leader Maggie Hanley emphasized about Friday's 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. business program. "I start with questions. I talk to their concerns."

Hanley is program coordinator for New Mexico Arts, whose mission is to stimulate opportunities for artists, arts organizations and other groups with activities or projects to provide artistic or cultural services to the state, to maintain and encourage artistic excellence and to promote awareness of and access to the arts for all of the people of New Mexico.

Titled "Artist to Artist: Art Is Your Business," Hanley first gave the workshop in Gallup in 2017, attended primarily by Zuni and Navajo jewelers. She said the greatest thing was that they identified their strengths and ultimately "became a beautiful network made up of people who had never met each other before."

Preregistration is required for this free program. RSVP with Taos Small Business Development Center at (575) 737-6214.

State of the Arts Saturday

Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Town Manager Rick Bellis, among others, will present and discuss what the town and county of Taos and the state's New Mexico Arts is doing with lodgers tax funds and state arts grants to support the arts and artists in Taos. A question and answer period following the morning forum is planned.

A lively and thorough going-over of the arts education in Taos schools will be addressed by teachers Megan Bowers Avina, Christine Autumn, Tanya Vigil, Michael Hensley and Joella Montoya. Their presentation is also followed by a Q&A, all before a break for lunch at noon.

How to find grants to fit your organization's needs will be presented after lunch by nonprofit specialists Helen Forte, Thomas Romero and Bill Whaley, with a Q&A thereafter. Saturday wraps up with a roundtable presentation and discussion of Taos artists residencies: "Then and Now," presented by Peggy Chung of Lama's Herekeke Art Center; Parse Seco's Joel Meinholz; and Wurlitzer Foundation's Nick Knight.

Sunday Awards Gala

The awards gala at Salt+ Wine honors distinguished Taos artist Peter Chinni (b. 1928), who is a highly regarded sculptor spanning Europe and North America. Chinni studied at the Art Students League, New York and Academia di Belle Arti, Rome, Italy.

"Settling in 2003 in Taos," press materials state, "Peter Chinni's art was featured in two solo exhibitions: 'Merge/Emerge' at 'Elements of Nature 1' at the Grand Bohemian Gallery at El Monte Sagrado in Taos and Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe."

Chinni's work is represented in numerous museum collections, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and Denver Art Museum among others. Recently, he placed on loan a major cast bronze sculpture, "Persian Wall" (2004), in the front courtyard of the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos.

The gala begins at 5 p.m. with appetizers by Seattle Fish followed by a four-course dinner. The culinary artists represented are Chef Johnny Ortiz (Taos Pueblo) of the Shed Project with amuse bouche, Chef Gabriel Farkash from The Bavarian, Andy Lynch from Common Fire, and dessert by Salt+Wine. Complimentary beverages include wine by VARA Winery and beer by Sierra Nevada.

Performances during dinner will be classic Spanish guitarist Claudio Tolousse, dance and song by Christopher and Emileah Lujan of Taos Pueblo and Taos youth performances by Ballet Taos and Metta Theatre.

The Taos Arts Council is a nonprofit organization established in 2012 to promote awareness, understanding and appreciation of the creative arts to enhance the quality of life in Northern New Mexico. The Taos Arts Council activities are supported in part by a grant from New Mexico Arts and division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by U.S. Bank Foundation and Taos County Lodgers Tax Fund grant. For more information, visit


Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.