Keeping kids excited about creating art is the point of Taos Fall Arts Festival's "Kids Give Back" program. Giving student artists the means to express themselves creatively is the goal of this …
Keeping kids excited about creating art is the point of Taos Fall Arts Festival's "Kids Give Back" program. Giving student artists the means to express themselves creatively is the goal of this annual Fall Arts grant program for Taos youth art projects, first begun in 2011.
Supporters turned up Wednesday (Aug. 28) in the garden of the Farmhouse Café for a locally sourced and totally organic luncheon, featuring the music of Ry Taylor and a talk by Marie Reyna of Taos Pueblo's Oo-oo-nah Art and Cultural Center.
After a lunch of kale-feta salad and a choice of entrées of quiche or shepherd's pie, TFAF board member and Kids Give Back coordinator Lisa Harris introduced program guests, Farmhouse Café owner Micah Roseberry, co-developer with Nikki Cain of Growing Community Now, and Reyna.
"Food is art," Roseberry reminded the gathering, pointing out the "art" of historical acequia and farm traditions of Northern New Mexico. This year Growing Community Now will be serving 700 meals a day to Taos County school kids as a result of a USDA grant that allows six new area schools to be added to the organic food program.
Cain briefly reviewed the Farmhouse Café's school lunch program, the seed-to-harvest activities teaching cooking classes and much more to local schools. Students will be preparing chicos in the Enos Garcia horno this fall and preparing to harvest squash they seeded in the spring - just two of innumerable culinary arts the students learn and bring home to their neighborhoods.
"We're all involved in educating children about the arts," Reyna said. Her presentation, "History of Art in Taos Pueblo, Past and Present," made clear how the pueblos of Northern New Mexico and beyond have an art history of more than a thousand years.
"The art of Taos Pueblo is culturally tied," Reyna said. "From the beginning of time, art has been a major community effort," specifically utilitarian, she notes, like the corrugated and pinch-pot pottery, micaceous cookware, the metallurgy of projectile points like obsidian arrow tips and other weaponry and the vital weaving of blankets and clothing.
Reyna said Taos Pueblo used to create "black-on-white" pottery but when Santo Domingo Pueblo also made it, she said Taos people didn't feel the need to re-create what another pueblo was doing.
She mentioned well-known Taos Pueblo artists like renowned potter Virginia Romero (1896-1998) and contemporaries such as sculptor Ralph Suazo, one of the first to pursue art full time; drummakers like Mike Reyna and potters Sharon Dry Flower Reyna and Jeralyn Lujan Lucero; the Track family potters Jeri, Bernadette and Soge; artists Dawning Pollen Shorty and Dakota Concha, to name just a few.
"We are creating self-sufficiency through art. I want my students to do the best they can do. It's up to us to provide art experience for cultural reasons, and for the fun of it - both traditional and contemporary arts," Reyna concluded. "We are responsible as a people for the well-being of this part of the world."
Two grants are funded as of press time, according to Harris. "We have two and hopefully three grants if people donate more funds. And we will also generate more money at the silent auction," during the Fall Arts opening reception taking place Friday evening (Sept. 20).
Oo-Oo-Nah Art and Cultural center is one of the applicants for 2019 funding from TFAF Kids Give Back program. Previously awarded programs may reapply every three years. To donate or for more information about applying, contact Lisa Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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