Ways to Make Your Taos Vacation a Learning Experience

By Janet Webb, December 14, 2014

Taos has long been a place people go to be creative, to explore their artistic side.


Using Taos as a source of artistic inspiration started in its current incarnation one hundred years ago when six Parisian-trained painters from the eastern USA signed a manifesto forming Taos Society of Artists. Their intent was to market the paintings they created in Taos to the urban centers of New York, Chicago, and the Midwest and to organize traveling exhibitions to those cities. Their work documented the landscape and native culture of Taos and in doing so they were unintentionally marketing tourism to Taos.

Artists and art-lovers began visiting Taos, many permanently relocating here. Soon Taos became known as an art colony, a place art-types came to make things. A gallery scene developed and Taos also became a place to buy art. But at its essence, Taos is about making art.

There are a number of places that allow visitors to Taos the opportunity to try their hand at learning a new art form or enhancing their skills at a favorite creative endeavor – painting, music, writing, photography. Here are a few highlights:

Ghost Ranch
Located less than an hour southwest of Taos, Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center offers several winter workshops. They offer eight Three-week Intensives, which run from January 2 – 24, 2015 and five options for Two-week Immersives that run from February 16 to March 1. Both options are priced to include lodging (private, semi-private, or communal baths), all meals, materials, and of course instructor fees. There is a Valentine’s Weekend couples retreat scheduled for February 13 – 15 to allow couple as chance to renew their relationship in a creative environment; $399 for lodging, 5 meals, and guided tours. GHOSTRANCH.ORG

Taos Clay
Just a few miles north of Taos Plaza is an amazing facility that offers local potters access to wheels, kilns, and gallery space. Visitors can use the facility in a 2.5-hour private or group workshop with instruction and clay included for $125/single or $175/couple. There are workshops designed for kids as well. One just calls ahead to reserve a time: 307-272-8388. TAOSCLAY.COM

Weaving Southwest
This gallery/store/training center was founded by Taos weaving legend Rachel Brown many decades ago. It is now operated by Rachel’s granddaughter, Teresa Loveless from a compound in Arroyo Seco, nine miles northeast of Taos Plaza. There are many weekend workshops offered in disciplines including dyeing, weaving, and spinning. WEAVINGSOUTHWEST.COM

Geraint Smith
Master photographer Geraint Smith is offering a three-day photo workshop with colleague R. David Marks on January 15 – 18, 2015. The class will explore “the hinterlands” of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Smith is available for private “photo safaris” that introduce participants to little know points of great beauty throughout the are with tips about equipment and proper lighting. GERAINTSMITH.COM

Other sources for art workshops:
Mabel Dodge Luhan Conference Center
Taos Art School

More about these upcoming visitor-friendly workshops, and others, can be found at BeyondTaos’s Taos Art Calendar.

Pottery workshop photo above is by Geraint Smith.

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