While the nation dealt with the changes wrought by President Donald J. Trump over the course of 2017, Taos had challenges of its own. For the artists and art galleries, it had to do with the persistent specters of a still-fluctuating market, and for museums, it was the threat to agencies like the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts.
“The president’s budget will have a deep and devastating impact on New Mexico – especially when it comes to funding for arts and cultural programs,” U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) told Tempo back in April. “The budget utterly ignores John F. Kennedy’s vision for America, which has guided our nation for more than 50 years.” While the ramifications have yet to ultimately play out, the challenges remain daunting in the face of the new tax-cut legislation the president signed Friday (Dec. 22).
As hard as all that sounds, Taos has lived through worse. Our past is a comingling of trails that lead far beyond Taos Pueblo’s first encounter with Hernando de Alvarado and his detachment of conquistadors commanded by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1540. Since then, these cultural interactions have drawn upon the rich traditions of the Native people as wave upon wave of newcomers sought, at first, to change and then found themselves assimilating with Taos ways.
In this year’s photo essay of Tempo images, we were witness to traditions such as the Taos Pueblo Powwow, the Fiestas de Santiago y Santa Ana, the Mother’s Day Music Festival and the Music on the Mesa Festival, plus events such as the big Dwight Yoakam show in Kit Carson Park, Music on the Mesa, Taos Fall Arts Festival and The PASEO, as well as Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival.
Of course, there was also the Michael Franti cancellation due to an amazing amount of rain in the park.
In looking at these images, one might suggest the thing that singles out Taos creative people the most is their heroic effort to find innovation amid everything around them that cries out conformity. Time marches on and the challenges will continue, but the creative spirit here will continue to burn no matter what.