Arts & Culture
Bump your head on the same doorway as Kit Carson Taos history is filled with colorful characters who helped make Taos what it is today. From trappers and traders to wealthy heiresses, remittance men, legendary artists, and far-sighted entrepreneurs. Taos historic museums, many of which are National Historic Landmarks, offer a glimpse of how our early settlers lived. Portions of the Blumenschein Home and Museum were built in 1797. Ernest Blumenschein, co-founder of the Taos Society of Artists, brought his family to the home in 1919. The antique furnishings and original art remain just as when the artist and his family lived there for more than 40 years. In 1916, artists Burt and Elizabeth Harwood purchased a complex of buildings on Ledoux Street dating from the mid-1800s and remodeled them into a showcase of Pueblo Revival style. Today, the Harwood Museum of Art is home to the works of Taos’ best-known artists, past and present, as well as a collection of 18th to 20th century traditional Hispanic art. The Taos Art Museum is housed in the original home and studio of Russian-born artist, Nicholai Fechin. It features many of his hand-carved furnishings and art, as well works by more than 50 Taos artists including paintings by all of the Taos Founders.
La Hacienda de los Martinez is one of few remaining Spanish Colonial haciendas open to the public. Antonio Severino Martinez purchased the hacienda in 1804 and expanded it into a 21-room fortress. Period rooms and demonstrations recreate how the Martinez family lived 200 years ago. The Millicent Rogers Museum exhibits historic and contemporary Native American, Hispanic and Euro-American arts and crafts of northern New Mexico from the once-private collection of its Standard Oil heiress namesake. Museum Association of Taos: Buy one Combination Ticket at any museum and see all five. Valid for one year.
Original art is on the walls of our restaurants, banks, the hospital, and most all public offices. Artists can be seen at work along downtown lanes and in the countryside. Someone (no one remembers who but everyone agrees) once claimed that Taos has more artists per capita than any town in the world, even Paris. And if you add musicians, writers, and filmmakers to that list, everyone in Taos is an artist. Art in Taos; let us tell you more. We have over 80 art galleries. There are six museums in Taos that preserve and display historic and contemporary art. There are two major art festivals in Taos — Fall Arts and Spring Arts — several film festivals, a poets and storyteller festival, and four music festivals - classical, jazz, and rock - what’s your preference? Taos has art on the walls, literally. There are murals throughout the historic downtown that depict Taos life and history. Most are contemporary but the murals in the old county courthouse on Taos Plaza date from the WPA era. Outdoor sculpture abounds: look for the red steel horse and wild cowboy in front of Centinel Bank, the bronze of Padre Martinez in Taos Plaza, the kinetic pinwheels and water sculptures outside local art galleries. All provide unusual backdrops for visitors to shoot family photos to send to the relatives at Christmas time.