The Taos Center for the Arts has a lot to celebrate. Back in April, the center’s board of directors was told that former board member Christine L. Wells, who died in February, had bequeathed the local arts organization a sizable monetary gift, according to board president Kandace Nachtrab.
The Taos Center for the Arts has a lot to celebrate. Back in April, the center’s board of directors was told that former board member Christine L. Wells, who died in February, had bequeathed the local arts organization a sizable monetary gift, according to board president Kandace Nachtrab. Then, in June, the amount was announced as being $250,000.
Wells was a board member for more than five years and was actively involved in projects related to TCA facilities and diversity initiatives, Nachtrab stated in a press release.
Wells, who passed away at the age of 80 on February 20, “was an avid skier, hiker and an environmentalist. She earned degrees from the University of Michigan, Smith College and a PhD from Pennsylvania State University. Her teaching career spanned many years and many levels beginning with middle school in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, continuing at Smith, Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia, Canada), Temple University (Philadelphia), and culminating as a full professor at Arizona State University from which she retired in 1977,” Nachtrab explained.
Nachtrab said Wells authored more than 100 research papers and three books on physical education, wellness education and exercise science (kinesiology). She also was elected to professional offices, often being the first woman in those positions. She distinguished herself by winning many national-level awards such as the Wonder Woman Award, the Billie Jean King Award (Women’s Sports Foundation), the Alumni Fellow Award (Pennsylvania State University), Distinguished Alumna of the University of Michigan College of Education and the Citation Award of the American College of Sports Medicine.
According to the announcement, the TCA board “devoted significant time and effort” to determine how to use the funds. According to Nachrab, there were “no specific wishes … stated in the gift. We followed her interests as a board member to guide our decision.”
So, after much discussion, the board decided to use the money to “complete the much-needed renovation of buildings within the TCA campus and to preserve the rest for a fund that will generate income needed for replacement and refurbishment of the property.”
This “building reserve” will provide funds “in perpetuity to maintain the three buildings of the TCA campus”: the Manby-Thorne Building, the Stables Gallery and the Carriage House.
“The TCA board believes that this stewardship of Ms. Wells’ gift aligns with her interests,” a statement reads. The funds will be targeted to address structural repairs to these buildings. The renovation is projected to cost between $50-60,000 and will begin in September, according to Nachtrab. The funds are expected to be received by the TCA this month.
Nachtrab adds, “I served with Chris Wells on the board and knew that she was a proud and active member. Leaving us this bequest is a sign of her belief in our mission and our ability to carry it out. It also signifies her confidence that it will be used in the best possible way to ensure the ongoing success of the TCA.”
Deborah McLean, TCA’s former executive director, said in a statement, “having worked with and spent time with Chris over my six-year tenure at the TCA, I am confident that she would be thrilled to know that her legacy contribution will be used toward the conservation of TCA’s historic properties — a gift not only critical to the TCA’s operations but a gift to the historic district of Taos.”
This bequest will also be used to launch the TCA Legacy Community that will encourage others who share a love for the Taos Center for the Arts to consider a gift that can assure its future.
For information about the TCA Legacy Community, visit tcataos.org/join-give or call Executive Director Colette LaBouff at (575) 758-2052.
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