Emergence from lockdown

Two Graces' Cafazzo and Sievers back on board

Posted 5/28/20

Taos' new normal is happening apace - small retail shops opening here and there - but all with new precautionary measures.

Two Graces Gallery, for instance, opened quietly Tuesday (May 26) and plans a more official open-door policy June 1 - assuming Gov. Lujan Grisham doesn't change plans.

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Emergence from lockdown

Two Graces' Cafazzo and Sievers back on board

Posted

Taos' new normal is happening apace - small retail shops opening here and there - but all with new precautionary measures.

Two Graces Gallery, for instance, opened quietly Tuesday (May 26) and plans a more official open-door policy June 1 - assuming Gov. Lujan Grisham doesn't change plans.

"We're reorganizing the store and putting things together in different ways," co-owner and artist Robert Cafazzo said by phone last week (May 21), clearly nervous about the whole reopening scenario. They just moved to the Barela Lane location near Taos Plaza intersection on May 1, 2019. So there's been a lot of change in their lives even before the pandemic turned the world upside down mid-March.

"I'm trying to be more cautious than others," Cafazzo said. "I made plastic barriers for the sales desks, kind of like the post office is using, not those sheets of acrylic plexiglass. I think it will make people feel safe. We'll also have some masks for people who don't have one."

Cafazzo said artist Holly Sievers, his life and gallery partner, has been productive during the lockdown, putting her charcoal-pastels and small oils up on Instagram. They've been moving so fast he feels there won't be any to put in the shop.

"We just had three people fighting over a piece," he said with a laugh. "Her sister is mad at her, asking, 'Why didn't I get the first choice?' We've been selling on social media and on the website through this whole thing."

Fine, but no cakewalk

Though in some ways lockdown has been a blessing for her art, Sievers said it hasn't been a cakewalk.

"It affected us a lot because we had to close our business and income became very sparse," she said. "For the first few weeks we were scrambling to get PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] stuff and filing for the stimulus-package funding."

But the downtime has had its perks, she admits.

"We get along really great so it was fun being together," Seivers added. "Because I had a lot of time, it's been really easy to buckle down and get work done. I've got someone cooking for me and I have more time to do my art. Robert's been doing repair work on kachinas and other things. We did the morada walk, in Ranchos de Taos, and we've been able to be outside, to go on a hike together, and picnics."

Sievers was at death's door a few times last year with a bacterial respiratory infection that hospitalized her for three weeks, and when she couldn't do anything at all but survive.

"Being in a hospital for a long time has been devastating, so this has been a really good jump-start for getting me back into my work," she said, noting that normally she and Cafazzo split gallery time, each taking a week at a time. She also handles rental, cleaning and advertising of their Airbnb. But since vacation rentals are also closed down, she's had even more time for her art and their personal time together.

"It's been a real restart of my art career. I've been gasping to do more," she said and has some new approaches. "I figured out a few things, figured out what I've been doing with my drawings, the little bug drawings, I'm finding how much I like them."

She's been experimenting with simplifying color, "so they have more power," she says, such as adding one single swath of color to the charcoal drawings. "I'm peering into things deeper. Like the bugs or abstract landscape - I don't want to do 'precious' things."

Located at 105 Barela Lane, Two Graces gallery was once a woodworking shop, "where classic Spanish Colonial Northern New Mexico furniture was created," Cafazzo said. The front door - a spectacular, carved "sunburst" of wood and glass that they believe was created in the woodworking shop - was placed on the New Mexico Historic Registry as a work of art in itself.

As far as their official open-door policy starting June 1, Sievers said Two Graces will be open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m-ish, basically Taos time. To see imagery of her new small oils and charcoal pastels, go to Instagram @flowerchildren.3.

For more information about the current due diligence of distancing in Taos County, call each venue to be sure what's required. For updates on Two Graces, visit twograces.com, check Facebook or call (575) 758-4101.

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