At Paseo 2017, Monsters Are Art

September 12, 2017 –A Monster Design Challenge is underway in schools across Taos County, New Mexico. Sponsored by The Paseo Project and implemented by STEMarts Lab, the competition is calling for artistic visualizations of environmental and personal “monsters” by youth aged 12 to 20. It will culminate in a community projection performance during the Paseo Party on the Plaza on September 23, from 7:00 to 11:00pm.

Motomichi in front of a monster projection in another city.

The concept for the challenge grew out of the work of Motomichi Nakamura, the lead artist for the Paseo Project’s 2017 new media art event. The call for entries has gone out to Taos County middle and high school students and is based on Motomichi’s Tiny People and Giant Monster series in which he incorporates the monster theme as a mythological character to explore environmental issues. Winners of the challenge will have their monsters projected on buildings around the plaza, alongside the artist’s work, and all entries will be showcased on the Paseo Project website.

Students at Anansi Charter School. Photo courtesy of STEMarts Lab.

To date, the Paseo Monster Design Challenge has registered over 500 students in Taos County. Nineteen middle and high schools and educational institutions are involved, including all public and charter schools. Each school has chosen a unique medium and style for its monster designs – which will manifest as acequia monsters, climate change and e-waste creatures, and even monsters of addiction. Jody McNicholas, art teacher at Rocky Mountain Youth Learning Lab, says her students will work with duct tape on canvas to create symbolic monsters of addiction. “The archetype of the addict combined with the archetype of the monster has some far-reaching possibilities!”

Motomichi says, “My idea for PASEO is that the various monsters will come visit Taos from various places just for the night and play around. Also, I always like the idea that the digital projection doesn’t leave any physical trace after the installation, which kind of reminds me of ghosts, spirits or mythical creatures.” The artist works in various media including, painting, sculpture, animation, as well as projection mapping. His work has been exhibited globally in museums and galleries.

Richard Archuleta at Pueblo Day School by Megan Bowers
Taos Pueblo Day School student

Agnes Chavez, director of STEMarts@ThePaseo, Paseo Project’s educational program, describes the Monster Design Challenge. “The challenge is an online platform that allows all Taos County school teachers the opportunity to explore Motomichi’s work and theme and guide their students in a unique monster design. We believe that the challenge and potential of STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math – education in the future is for all students to have access to the latest technologies and 21st century thinking. The Paseo is the perfect platform for teachers and students to use these tools to play, explore and imagine a better world. It has been amazing to see the creative responses coming out of each school.”

Monster Design Challenge entries from Rocky Mountain Youth Lab and Taos Middle School

About the Paseo Project
The Paseo Project is a 501c-3 nonprofit whose mission is to transform art through community and community through art. The Paseo Party on the Plaza is the Paseo Project’s fourth annual fall outdoor art event. It is again part of Taos Fall Arts Festival’s opening weekend events.

The Paseo Party on the Plaza at a Glance
Saturday, September 23, 2017, 7:00 to 11:00pm
Historic Taos Plaza, a free event, @paseotaos, #paseotaos,
Motomichi Nakamura, VJ mapping artist:
Fire artist Jamie Vaida:
The Illuminator:
Luster, virtual photo booth:

This event is sponsored by The Town of Taos, Taos County Lodgers Tax, the Lor Foundation, Taos Community Foundation, and many generous private donors. STEMarts@ThePaseo is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by the Martin Foundation, the Nina E. Nilssen Scholarship Fund, US Bank, and Americorps VISTA.

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