203 Fine Art collaboration with the TCA | Gallery Guide – 71Bait

For those whose families have lived in Taos for generations, and for those who have more recently chosen to call Taos home, there is a deep understanding of how history underscores the nature of community.

From the iconic Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the Hacienda de los Martinez and everything in between, history uniquely permeates this landscape in a way rarely found in the United States and is a source of identity for Taosenos.

The history of Taos as an art colony has, of course, dominated much conversation.

This year, the dialogue will be complemented by a collaboration between the Taos Center for the Arts and 203 Fine Art Gallery when TCA 2022’s Encore Gallery becomes the home of 203 Fine Art Downtown at TCA.

With three curated exhibitions planned for the year – the first taking place in March – visitors to Encore Gallery will get a glimpse of 203’s collection, featuring works from the Taos Moderns, Mid-Century Moderns, American Abstract Expressionists and the Light-and-space, California-based artists, 1960s.

For each exhibition, essential artworks by key regional artists of the era are meticulously and impartially selected by professional guest curators, noted Eric Andrews, who co-founded 203 Fine Art with partner Shaun Richel and is widely regarded for his encyclopedic knowledge of Taos as an iconic American art colony.

What adds to the excitement of this collaboration is TCA’s own historical connection to establishing Taos’ reputation in the art world.

“The forerunner of the TCA was the founding of the Taos Artist Association in 1953,” when a collective of working local artists settled at the Stables Gallery, explained Colette LaBouff, executive director of the TCA. “Partnering with 203 Fine Art is incredibly exciting, an opportunity to learn more about the role of TAA and Stables Gallery in the arts in our communities.”

“Art history in Taos is a huge subject, with some elements more obscure than others,” Andrews added. “We are pleased to present the works from our collection along with some of the stories and the story behind the amazing group of artists who made this story.”

According to the Stables Art Gallery policy statement (revised copy of 1961), the

Initially, the requirements for entry into the gallery included that artists had to be members of the TAA. You must have been a legal resident for at least one year prior to applying; must have received awards in recognition of their chosen genre in New Mexico or out of state; and must have been passed by both the Screening Committee and the Gallery Art Committee.

Perhaps above all other requirements: “Art must be his vocation, not his sideline.”

From this typewritten, almost two-page document grew the heart of the art movement in the inner city. The Stables Gallery became a hub for the Taos Moderns and others ushering in another generation of creative energy, and provided a central gathering place for locals to view and purchase art.

The Stables Gallery “wasn’t a museum, but this was a birthplace for many artists who exhibited, collaborated, and lived in Taos before we became TCA,” LaBouff noted.

This isn’t the first time TCA and 203 have worked together; In recent years, 203 has presented exhibitions in stables dedicated to Taos Moderns and Ted Egri, the proceeds of which have been donated to the restoration of the aging gallery. What’s different this time is a long-term reinterpretation of how the Encore Gallery can serve as a similar venue.

Both LaBouff and Andrews agreed that this year will bring collections to Encore that would not otherwise be shared and of art that TCA could not get alone.

“We are excited for the opportunity to highlight some longtime Taos artists and creatives who continue this tradition: artists we know, respect and would like to share with the public in downtown TCA,” said Andrews.

LaBouff agreed. “TCA is excited to look for ways to highlight the history, the art and the artists associated with this organization. Partnering with 203 Fine Art is an opportunity to learn more about the role of TAA and Stables Gallery in art in our communities.”

As TCA celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2023, the partners are considering additional events such as lectures, readings and historically relevant films to maintain and expand respect for what TCA stands for.

“It’s a great opportunity to connect our theater to the rest of TCA and to make those connections visible,” she said, expanding the already inclusive program beyond its live performances and other cultural offerings.

And those artists who have participated in Encore’s open calls need not fear; They will return in rotation in 2023 and subsequent years.

“The Encore Gallery is always here to support the many hard-working local creatives,” said LaBouff.

There’s always something more to learn about art history in Taos, and chances are you won’t be disappointed with 203 Fine Art Downtown at TCA. Keep an eye on the calendar as dates will be announced.

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