What to Do
Long before Georgia O'Keeffe arrived, two New York artists stumbled onto Taos by accident. Bert Geer Phillips and Ernest L. Blumenschein were traveling from Denver to Mexico on a painting trip in 1898 when their wagon lost a wheel near town. They found the land and light so stunning, they couldn't leave. The Taos Society of Artists, which they founded in 1915, set the stage for today's vibrant arts scene.
Harwood Museum of Art The permanent collection has works by 400 local artists dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, including the city's largest collection of paintings by the Taos Society of Artists. The world-renowned minimalist painter (and Taos resident) Agnes Martin has her own, octagonal-shaped gallery. Martin, whose 90th birthday bash was held here last March, may be a bigger celebrity in town than Julia Roberts. 238 Ledoux St.; 505/758-9826; www.harwoodmuseum.org.
Lumina Gallery Even in winter, this indoor/outdoor gallery is the ideal place to see some of the most interesting contemporary art in town while taking in spectacular views. The half-acre sculpture garden—with two bronze Buddhas—is shaded by 150-year-old cottonwood trees. (The gallery will be moving to a new location this spring.) 239 Morada Lane; 505/758-7282; www.luminagallery.com.
Millicent Rogers Museum This modest adobe house in the middle of the desert is more sanctuary than museum. Founded in 1956 by the family of wealthy Taos émigré Millicent Rogers, it now houses 6,000 objects—half of which are from Rogers's original collection: Pueblo jewelry, handwoven Navajo rugs, baskets from regional tribes, and vintage turquoise jewelry that is as muchin vogue today as it was 50 years ago. There's also a tranquil courtyard garden. Four miles north of Taos Plaza on Millicent Rogers Rd.; 505/758-2462; www.millicentrogers.com.
Navajo Gallery R. C. Gorman, who owns this spacious gallery, has been called "the Picasso of American art" by the New York Times.Gorman is known for his paintings, silk screens, sculptures, and glass etchings of Navajo women. Critics have called him brilliant, arrogant, and flamboyant. Judge for yourself here. 210 Ledoux St.; 505/758-3250; www.rcgormangallery.com.
Parks Gallery Artist Erin Currier is the gem at this gallery, which represents some of the best talent in Taos. Her canvases are collages of trash (such as Oreo cookie wrappers) collected from as far away as India and China. Painter and sculptor Jim Wagner also shows here. 140 Kit Carson Rd.; 505/751-0343; www.parksgallery.com.
Taos Institute of Arts If you prefer to create art rather than simply look at it, take advantage of the weeklong classes—in painting, metalworking, photography, ceramics—at the Taos Institute. Not surprisingly, many classes focus on Pueblo art. There's even a poetry-writing workshop with U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins. Fees range from $420 to $1,895 per week. 108 Civic Plaza Dr.; 505/758-2793; www.tiataos.com.