Fine art

Have you discovered South Gusdorf?

Open house event shows off artists and entrepreneurs just minutes south of downtown


It’s been compared to a burgeoning “Bergamot Station” – that former rail station-cum-gas tank factory-cum-must-see arts center in Santa Monica, California, that now attracts more than 600,000 visitors a year. “Discover Gusdorf Arts” is the first open house event for this eclectic array of arts-oriented businesses that has been quietly simmering just minutes south of downtown for decades.

These participating arts and commercial businesses will open their doors Friday (Sept. 29) from 2-5 p.m. to invite visitors to check out the eclectic offerings of jewelers, glass and textile artists, a santera, a framer, a drum-maker, photographers, visual artists and body and performing artists, all within walking distance of each other.

Known locally as “Draperville” – because it was built by local developer Bob Draper with the intent to provide live-in art spaces to support and enhance the lives of Taos creatives – it is doing exactly that, according to Eric Andrews, artist and co-owner of 203 Fine Art Gallery, with co-owner and artist Shaun Richel.

“It’s this really cool commercial sector,” Andrews said, “a well-thought-out area that Bob [Draper] wanted to be really versatile.”

At the top of Gusdorf, where it joins Paseo del Cañón East, is the nearly iconic frame shop of Palette Framing, owned by Victoria Durán. Durán cut her art teeth 35 years ago at Tally Richards Gallery off Ledoux Street and at Cut Corner Framing, which is set back off Kit Carson Road. Since she’ll be welcoming visitors, ask her about the early 1980s with Ila McAffey’s cat or modeling for Ray Vinella’s art classes or just hanging out with Larry Calcagno, Larry Bell, Rod Goebel and many more.

The following venues will be welcoming visitors with demonstrations, film displays, exhibitions and, of cours e, refreshments and conversation:

Studios and lofts at 1335 Gusdorf Road

203 Fine Art Gallery

Suite I, call (575) 751-1262

The venue features contemporary fine art and collections of “Taos Moderns,” among many others, curated by owners Eric Andrews and Shaun Richel.

Born in Southern California, Andrews and Richel moved to Taos in 1997, where Andrews said he enjoys “interpreting the wonderful sights I see, as the light changes over the landscape and the objects amongst it. … I love to depict this real-life drama in my work by using rich bright color and high contrast with shadows and light. My approach is to simplify forms and shapes of the landscape, small farms and villages and cultural influences to re-create an early Taos Modernist feel to my work.”

Born in Canada and raised in Southern California from age 11, Richel earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in California. Richel paints and draws both landscape and nonobjective abstraction, seeking to express in her work “‘painterliness,’ the loose, rapid handling, or the look of it, with broken color, uneven saturations and also to show the densities of the paint. My approach is to be open at the start of a piece and to allow anything to happen.”

KH Studio

Suite H

Kim Henkel’s sculpture is the result of a physical process of “spontaneous digging and marking in clay,” with her hands, she says, “a blind act of faith. As I work, I create the negative void that is ever present in this life full of ambiguity. Removing my hands, I fill the dark, cold space with materials.” She peels away the soft layers of clay to expose a solid form, “like an excavation. … The result is an expressive object, like a fossil manifestation of the complexity of my desires, fears and expectations.”

Lynn Garlick Retablos

Suite D, call (575) 758-3033

“The diverse cultures and the landscape of this part of the country deeply and yet unintentionally influenced me both artistically and spiritually,” Lynn Garlick says. “I am nourished by Northern New Mexico’s rugged wildness and rawness. The profound devotion found in the different traditions and faiths here are unusual and inspiring.” In 2013, she began to include angels and blessings in her designs, as she felt “a responsibility to make the painting a prayer for healing, kindness and right thought.”

Aaron Garlick Studio

Suite D, call (575) 770-7272

Born and raised in Taos, Aaron Garlick, 28, became well-known to the Taos art community for his best of show in the 2008 Taos Fall Arts Festival’s “Taos Open,” as well as best in representational in 2009, among others. Though he does paint, his focus is drawing and representational work in conte and charcoal. He says he believes in cultivating himself through practice. “I’m trying to understand what I experience and how to relate and reveal that understanding.”

Nathanael Volckening Studio

Suite D, call (575) 770-7272

Nathanael Volckening is an American artist born in 1988, living and working in Colorado and New Mexico. His work seeks to explore archetypal and often feminine “formscapes,” which he describes as “windows into the sublime unconscious.”

Honuala Creative Arts

Suite N, call (575) 224-2288

Lynn Marie “Babe” Helvey makes beach glass and semiprecious gem jewelry using a wire-wrap technique obviating the need to drill. Raised in Hawaii, her designs often echo the colors and textures of the Pacific. “I like the idea of each piece of glass having a story. Each piece traveled in the ocean for a while, and now it will travel again.” Along with her husband, Chris Helvey, she enjoys working and living in their Gusdorf studio loft.

Chris Helvey

Helvey makes and sells drums and teaches drumming and recording music. He is a lifelong drummer. After a trip to Guinea, West Africa, to study indigenous rhythms, he began making drums. He and his wife are using their studio for many projects, he says. “The idea is to use this space to create whatever we want. For instance, I built an electric bicycle here.” Check out the drums he’s showing Friday night.

High Frequency Loft

Suite Q, call (575) 758-7852

The High Frequency Loft is a “high-powered training studio and spiritual community space” in Taos, started by Alana Lee and Colton Silva. After 12 years instructing at high-end gyms, corporations and studios in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, “personally training athletes, CEOs, princesses and celebrity clients,” they created a space in Taos for visitors to bring awareness to mind, body and spirit through mindful movement-based group classes and personal sessions for all ages. HFL also hosts music, movies and art events of all forms.

Studios and lofts at 1337 Gusdorf Road

Aurafitness Yoga Studio

Suite S, call (575) 758-9733

Aurafitness was born in September 2005, a holistic and nurturing workout space that is also a creative cradle for inspiration in whatever form it might take. The venue hosts theatrical productions, music concerts, ballet performances, gong baths and a myriad of workshops having to do with well-being. For owners Aura and David Garver, physical well-being and emotional happiness are inextricably linked and they are in the business of promoting both.

Robin Stanaway Studio

Suite N, call (575) 770-4426

Besides having master’s and bachelor’s degrees in fine art, glass sculptor Robin Stanaway also studied and was a teaching assistant at Dale Chihuli’s Pilchuck Glass School in the late 1980s. She has been adjunct faculty and guest lecturer in Ohio, Pennsylvania, California and Massachusetts. A Taos artist since 2005, Stanaway’s installations include the P.S. 1 Museum and Contemporary Art Center, New York City; the NIME Conference in Paris, France; Stein in Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Steuben Gallery, New York. Stanaway “perceives light and space as being beautiful and magical. I believe in the healing power of beauty.”

Sean Kelly Portrait Studio

Suite P, call (575) 770-4367

Sean Kelly will wow visitors with an in-depth look at his premier studio and portraits, both framed and with sample albums – including his specialties and wedding photography – with wine and cheese refreshment for visitors.

Wholly Rags

Suite L, call (575) 751-9862

Melissa Larson is founder and instigator of “Arte de Descartes,” the annual show of art made from recycled materials. Wholly Rags’ mission is “to piece together and rethread the fabric of our community by gathering the cloth of the past to conserve the culture of the future … provide relief for the needy and disaster victims who need clothing; and research new products made from textile waste including: papermaking, insulation and construction material.” Wholly Rags offers tools, materials and workshops to make fabric art, including quilting, doll- and puppet-making, as well as other creative projects.

Studios and lofts at 202 Paseo del Cañón at Gusdorf Road

Palette Framing

Unit 1, call (575) 758-7355

This fine art framing and shipping company has been owned and operated by Victoria Durán in Taos for almost two decades. She is a wealth of information and ready to share.

Nicki Marx Studio

Unit 2, call (575) 779-7097

Nicki Marx’s vast collection of feathers, artifacts, potsherds, bones, beads and more are indeed exotic, but her artistic soul bends the exotic to her purposes in compelling encaustics, assemblages and occasional jewelry. Her new work, “Elan,” is is more open, she said, with far fewer feathers; looser, with less of a color field than past work. “The things people need in hard times like these are beauty and inspiration,” Marx says. “They come from the same well of inspiration as all my work: a love of life and beauty and a celebration of the natural world.”