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April 6th 2014
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Arts & Culture
Taos is steeped in history and culture - Immerse yourself in the experience
Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years. Our people have a detailed oral history which is not divulged due to religious privacy. Archaeologists say that ancestors of the Taos Indians lived in this valley long before Columbus discovered America and hundreds of years before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. Ancient ruins in the Taos Valley indicate our people lived here nearly 1000 years ago. The main part of the present buildings were most likely
constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. The appeared much as they do today when the first Spanish explorers arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1540 and believed that the Pueblo was one of the fabled golden cities of Cibola. The two structures called Hlauuma (north house) and Hlaukwima (south house) are said to be of similar age. They are considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the USA. The Pueblo is generally open to visitors daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm, except when tribal rituals require closing the Pueblo. Late winter to early Spring the Pueblo closes for about ten weeks. Please call ahead if you’ll be visiting during this time. 758-1028. We welcome you to visit our village when you travel to northern New Mexico. For other information, call Taos Pueblo Tourism at 575-758-1028
Historic Taos Plaza has been the center of local trade and gossip for centuries. Today, old mercantile stores house galleries, restaurants and shops. Kit Carson Road, Bent Street, and Ledoux Street lead to even more historic shopping areas.
The Governor Bent Museum and Gallery was once the home of Charles Bent, New Mexico’s first territorial governor who was killed during the Taos Uprising of 1847. Inside you’ll find memorabilia and relics of the uprising, including a hole in the wall where some family members escaped. From there, you can head east on Bent Street and cross North Pueblo Road to Kit Carson Park and Cemetery. Many famous Taos citizens are buried within the 25-acre grounds, including Kit Carson, Padre Martinez and art patroness, Mabel Dodge Luhan.
San Francisco de Asis is an old adobe Spanish Mission church a few miles south of the Town of Taos, in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico and is one of the most painted buildings in the world. While the front is a beautiful example of Spanish Mission architecture, it is the back of the church that is the subject of so many paintings. Void of doors and windows, the leaning and curved lines of the adobe walls provide a simple form of freeform shape against a big sky background. The image changes dramatically throughout the day and season. Formally called the The Saint Francis of Assisi Church at Rancho de Taos, the church is made of sun dried mud bricks with a layer of mud stucco. While this style of building is durable in sunshine, during the rainy season it suffers significantly. The annual mudding requires an army of volunteers who apply a new outer layer to the entire church. This gives a secondary theme to the painting: a religion that is constantly being built - a church as a living architecture dependent on members to continually maintain the physical, community and spiritual structure.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is located eight miles northwest of Taos. At 650 feet (200 m) above the Rio Grande, it is the fifth highest bridge in the United States.
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.