Saturday, April 7, 2012

2012 Remarkable Women of Taos year-long celebration launch -- Mabel Dodge Luhan makes the news

In mid-March the banners went up, announcing this year's  2012 Remarkable Women of Taos year-long celebration.

Taos Mountain sets off the new banners

And the news hit the press on a national scale.On March 14th Associated Press newswoman Susan Montoya Bryan's article, "Taos Embarks on Yearlong Celebration," appeared in the New York Times.Mabel loomed large in Susan's piece. Not only was Mabel credited with helping create a community where artists could thrive, by bringing writers Willa Cather and D.H. Lawrence, artists Georgia O'Keeffe and John Marin, and photographer Ansel Adams (among others) to Taos, she created an intellectual component. Speaking to this, Jina Brenneman, curator at the Harwood Museum of Art, said "We're seeing residuals of that today."

I've since discovered the range of newspapers that carried the article From the more local Santa Fe's New Mexican, the story spread to California's Bay Area News Group. In Texas it ran in Fort Worth's Star-Telegram and in the Houston Chronicle, and in Connecticut's Stamford Advocate, where you can see a variety of Taos photos including one of Millicent Rogers that provides a peek at one of the displays now on view at the Millicent Rogers Museum. Over the past weeks other gallery and museum exhibitions have opened that showcase women artists of Taos, both past and present. In future postings I will be sending you snapshots of these shows.

For now, however, I'd like to introduce the Remarkable Women of Taos special section published by The Taos News on March 22nd (now available on-line for your reading pleasure). In his introduction, Special Sections editor Andy Jones muses on such questions as "What is it about Taos that has allowed women to thrive for so long?" He speculates that it might have something to do with the area's relative isolation. In my own description of the Remarkable Women of Taos project, I state that women have long formed the backbone of this community. It interested me that Andy Jones' thoughts echoed my own: "If women weren't allowed to be creative and productive members of society, the fabric of the community would collapse."

John Dunn Shopkeepers: 28 women and 4 exceptional men. Photo: Gail Russell, © 2012

Business is one of the categories on the Town of Taos' remarkable women website. And since I wrote a profile on enterpreneur Polly Raye, I remembered her saying there was a high percentage of women-owned businesses in Taos. I phoned Polly earlier this week to garner her thoughts on this. Since she owns the John Dunn shops near Taos Plaza, I asked her how many of the 20 businesses were women-run. Polly replied that 16 were run by women and 4 by men. That sampling yields the equation of women owning and running of 4 in 5 or 80% of Taos businesses. That matches Andy Jones' statement about the long history of the Taos community's strong and inspiring business women: "In modern-day Taos the business world is nearly dominated by women."

As in so many other aspects, there's a thread that returns to Mabel, a woman who inspired Georgia O'Keeffe to create a full-blown life of her own. I find this fascinating.

Just recently I revisited an email from Canadian poet Kate Braid who responded to an e-blast I sent out in August 2010. In the e-blast I announced the intention of creating "The Year of Remarkable Women" and, with the help of many talented women and men, this has become a reality. After the successful March 22nd official media launch, I look at my own contributions to this year-long celebration.

As your blog host, I agreed to provide context and substance to the year's marketing campaign by helping generate exhibitions and events that currently run through December 8, 2012. Additionally, I researched and wrote nearly 40 profiles on remarkable historic and contemporary women (see above -- Town of Taos' remarkable women website and Taos News special sections links), and solicited nearly the same amount from our talented pool of  local writers. The long hours reduced the frequency of postings on this blog. However, I'm back and over the next weeks, you, dear readers, will reap the benefits of this work. And to think it all started with Mabel and this blog.

Adios for now,

P.S. Kate Braid and Lois Rudnick, Mabel's biographer, are headlining the Mabel Dodge Luhan House's workshop "Meetings with Remarkable Women" scheduled for June 1-3, 2012. There is still some room in this workshop. Go to the link for details.

*Photo courtesy of Polly Raye. Photo by Gail Russell, ©  2012.

1 comment:

  1. thank you, Liz....for the work you do. and the link to the taos news section. can't wait until august when i return to mabel's...always a highlight of my year.