Friday, September 14, 2007


Article submitted to The Taos News:

My Turn by John Staple

TAO-Taos Artists Organization-mission statement: To recreate a powerful community of visual artists who joyfully create and grow together.

In recent articles in both of our newspapers, area Studio Tours have been featured. Noticeably lacking was a comprehensive Taos County wide tour. Of recent vintage we’ve had smaller Studio Tours; i.e. The Watercolor Society, the Taos Canyon and the Ranchos de Taos/Talpa Studio Tours. Others have come and gone. Of necessity all have been small in design and focus, with lack of numbers to sustain any sizable clout.

Artists, it is rumored, generate a fair amount of income for the town and its’ business community. Art is at the core of why visitors come to share this hallowed environment with us. Many, after their initial visits, have returned to settle here permanently. Yet the artistic community seems scattered and adrift. Other areas throughout the United States of comparable size and numbers have art infrastructures which Taos lacks. There is no Arts Center catering to children and adults through their Arts and Crafts programs. There is no Arts Council to supervise and initiate grants and Public Arts Projects. There are no Artists or Poets in the schools programs here, much as our large presence would suggest there should be.

A Taos County wide Studio Tour is not in and by itself a solution to the inertia, which underlies our artistic community, but it is a step in the maturation process. At this time we have no accurate appraisal as to the number of artists residing here or how we impact the region economically, educationally, politically or socially. Because of this we have very little empowerment in any of these areas.

Mabel Dodge Luhan doesn’t live here anymore and what of necessity pertained to her reality doesn’t necessarily pertain to ours. In particular, over the course of the last twenty years, artists report a disintegration of their esprit d’corps. Elders who set the stage for our foundations report a disappointment in how their accomplishments have been undermined and eroded.

Taos has everything it needs to reinstate itself as a vibrant and nurturing arts community and refuge. 80% of what is needed is already in place. Location, name recognition, and a simpatico social milieu and attitude. All that’s needed is to connect the scattered dots. When looked at from a small and limited perspective the task seems daunting and monumental. But when seen from the larger vision of a united community, nothing is beyond our grasp. By working together our remaining 20% of connective tasks will coalesce in no time.

To that end six meetings have already been held for next years Taos County wide Studio Tour. A couple of the meetings have been intense and discursive, as we’ve hashed out the details of the Tour. Birthing is not supposed to be an easy process. As a result, we have a seven-member steering committee and we have established the parameters of the Tour. Our ad hoc committee has named the organization the Taos Artists Organization or the TAO.

The profile for the Tour is as follows:
1. All Taos County visual artists are invited to participate.
2. The Tour will take place on the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October 2008.
3. Cost will be $100.00 entry fee per artist. This will cover minimum publicity and catalogue print costs.
4. The first Friday evening of the two weekends will be a Preview where each artist will exhibit one representative work.
5. A catalogue with a corresponding photo, statement and coordinated map will be published.
6. Though artists countywide are eligible, the geographical locations for Studios will be between Llano Quemado and Arroyo Hondo and the Taos Canyon Ridge and the Gorge.
7. Artists outside the map area will be asked to share a space with others in the map area. Also, Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, Restaurants, etc. are all potential exhibition venues.
8. Each artist will be expected to pull a small part of the communal load as per their expertise and enthusiasm, be these refreshments for the Preview or publicity via connections in NYC, Seattle, LA, Atlanta or international connections.
9. This is a not for profit creative process. Nobody gets paid. All for one-one for all is our mantra.
10. The working title for the Tour is: The Taos Open Artist’s Studios-TAO.

Please bring your talents and expertise and join in the excitement. Next meeting is Sunday, October 7, 2007, 4:00pm at the Touchstone Inn. Call us at 751-1109.


Sunday September 9, 2007 4:00 PM


Touchstone Inn, Spa & Gallery
110 Mable Dodge Lane
(Just East of Lota Burger in El Prado)

For more Information Call:

John Staple
Phone: 505 751-1109

Sunday August 19, 2007 4:00 PM


William Panzer's art studio
"Contemporary Today"
(Look for the Tire Signage)

62 St. Francis Plaza - Ranchos de Taos

Pot-Luck & Bring a Chair


Thanks to All that showed up for the First Meeting!!!
(See previous Post)

The SECOND MEETING is Sheduled for

Sunday July 22nd 4:00 PM

Location: T.C. Lillick's Art Studio
1581 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte

(Approx. 1 Mile North of the Overland Sheepskin Ranch
on the Right side of the Highway)

It is a Pot Luck Event - So bring a dish! - and a chair.





A Taos Wide Studio Tour is in the planning stages.
Taos Artists are invited to the first planning meeting

SUNDAY JULY 1st. 3:00 PM

At Touchstone Inn, Spa & Gallery
110 Mable Dodge Lane which is an extension of Upper Ranchitos
where it crosses Pueblo del Norte – east, toward the Mountain

For more Information Call:

John Staple
Phone: 505 751-1109

David Vedoe
505 779 3789


Calling All Taos Area Artists:

A number of artists in and around Taos have shown interest in a Taos Studio Tour. (TST) To futher explore how this could be implimented and what it would look like, a meeting has been called for Sunday, July 1st at 3 p.m. We will be meeting at Touchstone Inn on Mabel Dodge Lane (not Mabel Dodge's place on Morada Lane) i.e. on the north side of town, across the street and to the right of where Upper Ranchitos Rd. meets Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

Though ostensibly a sales opprotunity this should be seen as a means to facilitate a community-wide artistic event. When Satre spoke of anomie or the aloneness and compartamentality of our world, implied was the responsibilty to create antidotes. Many artist's who have lived in this area for the last 30 years speak of a time when a more cohesive artistic atmosphere existed, this would be a small effort to reinvigorate such a feeling once again.

Preliminary details shape up like this: TST would be open to any and all interested area artists, it would encompass the area between Llano Quemado and Hondo, it would take place on two consecutive weekends with a north and south division at Kit Carson Road. A catalog would be published and a preview nite would occur on the Friday evening before the first weekend.
Nothing is set in stone this is only a suggested prototype to work off of.

Each artist would be given an equal display space at the preview venue where and whenever this take's place. The catalog would list each artist with an accompaning artist's statement. It would also show a picture of the artist's work and be numbered to correspond with that shown on the artist's studio map and the artwork shown on preview nite.

A map showing where the artist's studios are located would be included in the center of the catalog. For those artists without a host space or who are at the edges of accessibility every effort would be afforded to facilitate sharing studio's with others, i.e. by pairing more mature artists with less mature ones a natural mentoring process would take place. All for one, One for all is the underlying vision of this project.

Motels, Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Galleries, Museums, Restaurants, Schools etc. would be encouraged to participate either as supplimentary exhibition spaces or designated instant studios in their own right. Schools might even have their own mini-classroom open studio tour as well.

Of an initial 60 artists contacted 40 showed an interest in this concept. It is based on a model used by artists in Oakland, Santa Cruz and Chico, California. (which is similiar in size to Taos)

Approximate cost would be 50 dollars per participant, which would pay for catalog print costs, advertising, etc. The minimum artists needed for the first year would be 80. There is no maximum. In conjuction a web-site, blog space and related links will be set up to publicize this project. Check out: TAOSSTUDIOTOUR.BLOGSPOT.COM

This is a voluntary, participatory and hands-on event. Though some artist's may reap fame and fortune those values are not per se what this project is about. Committees will be formed and jobs delegated according to participants expertise and levels of enthusiasm. There are no paid positions or any hidden agendas. Literally what you see is what you get.

Our target audience would be thruout the So. West; Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona etc. This is not seen as an exclusionary venture. All communitities and pursuasions are to be allowed within the wide net of acceptance. Levels of competency would range from those at peak career to beginners. The time of year has yet to be chosen and would not be scheduled to conflict with other established events such as Fall or Spring Arts, Labor or Memorial Day Fairs etc.

This is not meant as a means to supplant the already existing Gallery scene in Taos but rather as a compliment to said scene. It is meant to increase the dialog between artists, the greater community and visitors from the world at large. This is nothing new, artist's have been doing 'Show and Tell' since nursery school, though it does shift responsibility towards the artistic-wide community much as the Stables and the Ruins Galleries attempted to do in the past. It was afterall the Artist's, the Actor's and the Writer's who put Taos on the map.

It is a not for profit venture, i.e. any and all sales and taxes will be the responsibility of the artists themselves. No commission will be charged by TST. Any existing agreements between artists and galleries are not superceded by this event.

A teaching and education component is envisioned as well. For our world is changed not by us alone but by the manner of the stewarding we do for the generations to come. Such is the understanding inherent in the realm's of Beauty and Expression which we pass along from one generation to the next. Non-artists and volunteers will be invited to help as per their enthusiasm levels warrant. If all works out this is to be seen as an on-going annual event.

DETAILS: Ad-hoc TST Meeting--Touchstone Inn, 110 Mabel Dodge Lane
3 p.m.--Sunday, July 1st.
Questions? 751-1109

Bottom line this should be fun for all involved.
P.S. Please bicycle or walk to the meeting if at all possible.

John Staple



This site is a work in progress
so check back again and help get the word out
to our fellow Taos Artists!

P.S.: so far -
There has been great feed back from the community
of artists as foreseen, also support of the concept
from Taos Regional Business Alliance, Real Estate Agents,
Art Institutions, Bed & Breakfasts,some galleries/gallery
owners, the area radio stations, news/print media and others
that can see the great potential benefits for the Taos community.