The Millicent Rogers Museum, along with Taos Pueblo Tourism, are thrilled to present the first, virtual Millicent Rogers Museum Taos Pueblo Fall Showcase.
Business manager/event coordinator for MRM, Kathleen Michaels has once again teamed up with Taos Pueblo Tourism Director Ilona Spruce to create a space for Taos Pueblo artists to share and sell their work. Many Taos Pueblo artists have catapulted their careers through the opportunity Michaels and Spruce created first back in 2013. The duo planned the event around the Oct. 12 celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, and though COVID-19 prevented the Winter Showcase from happening, this year's event is shaping out to be epic.
The MRM Taos Pueblo Showcase has always been a momentous occasion for artists, collectors, appreciators and, of course, the museum itself. This year's fall showcase is especially momentous because its creators, in the face of a pandemic, have allowed the event to evolve into a new virtual aspect.
Highlighted works will still be featured in the Museum Store, while it's open, Thursday-Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., however, Millicentrogers.org will be the main point from which all products will be available for purchase and viewing.
In a statement released to Tempo, Michaels says, "We will launch an event on Facebook and Instagram Friday (Oct. 16) and Saturday (Oct. 17)." With the addition of a virtual platform, Michaels and Spruce are now able to expand the event to include many more Taos Pueblo artists.
Some of the artists on deck for this year's showcase will be internationally acclaimed potter Lorraine Lewis-Gala, celebrity designer Patricia Michaels, Maria Samora, John Suazo, Jacqueline Gala, Cassaundra Dukepoo, Ira Lujan, Luis Romero, Louisa Mirabal Murphy, DeAnna Suazo, Suann Davin - and the list continues to grow.
To gear up for the event Spruce and Michaels also shared some intro videos of the artists, starting with Dominic Beau, presenting his drums and sharing how he learned to make them. "He is very engaging and the content is educational," said Michaels.
The videos do vary as they come from a perspective that the artist has chosen to share. Tempo also learned that MRM was able to confirm that Gabriel Mozart Abeyta will be doing a live feed of his music, from his home in Barcelona Spain.
This year's event will also see the coming together of three generations of artists from one family. Angie Yazzie will be showcasing alongside her mother, Mary A. Archuleta, and her son, Eric Marcus. Michaels told Tempo, "She's [Yazzie] proud of her mother and also the progress that her son has made with his pottery - I recall back when he [Marcus] had his debut with us and it was so special for all of us."
Michaels admits that witnessing Taos Pueblo artists emerge from the showcase is one of the things she loves about it.
As the pandemic trudges along throughout our lives, this event presents a well-anticipated opportunity for Taos Pueblo artists. Although healthy, many Taos Pueblo artisans are suffering a significant financial impact without tourism dollars. It's a kind of uncertainty all artists feel, even when not under pandemic restrictions. When artisans are not able to sell their work, their production comes to a standstill; no sales means no new materials to create new pieces of art.
"It's been hard for everyone's place of harmony. It's important to be in a good place for one to be able to create beautiful objects," says Michaels. For Taos Pueblo artists, the closure of the reservation boundaries has further compounded the situation, as, throughout the spring and summer months, there has been no space provided for artisans to present and sell their work in a COVID-conscious manner.
Thanks to the undaunted efforts of Michaels and Spruce, who have been hosting and nurturing this event for eight years, the MRM Taos Pueblo Fall Showcase is sure to be a much-needed lifeline for the artists of Taos Pueblo.