Every year around this time the High Road Art Tour winds art enthusiasts from studio to studio through tiny little villages in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. Last year, Covid prevented the long standing tradition from taking place but this year the show is on.
Starting this weekend and extending through the following weekend, artists along the infamous high road to Taos will open their studios to visitors and potential buyers. A unique experience, the art tour gives the buyers a chance to interact with the artists, and in most cases, see where the magic happens.
The enchanting landscapes of New Mexico have inspired talented and famous artists for many years. Most of their stories mimic those of many New Mexico transplants today, the author included. Captivated by the vast open skies and the unexplainable creative energy surging through the mesas, countless artists have found their way to the area by happenstance and just couldn’t bring themselves to leave.
Among the most famous of them all, Georgia O’Keefe’s story is just the same. Headed to Colorado without plans to stop in New Mexico, her train stopped in Santa Fe. She too fell in love with the enchanting views and would eventually make Northern New Mexico her home.
Taos also pulled in the hearts of wandering artists.
In 1898, two painters from Denver, Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Geer Phillips, decided to move to the town after just a brief encounter. The inspiration that made these two abruptly change their lives is the same inspiration that lives in the villages on the high road to Taos today. Art tour visitors get to see and feel first hand the same enchantment that the artists feel.
The energy surging through the area is visible in the art created in these communities. The tones and textures mimic the flow and smoothness that only the New Mexico sky can offer.
For years, the High Road Art Tour has supplied local artists with a way to sell and display their work but the true magic of the event lies in what it allows it’s patrons to experience.
Life in Northern New Mexico moves at the pace of a creative person. Every day there is something new to see. The sunrises and sunsets burn through the uninhibited sky. The view of the hills and the mesas change by the minute as the clouds move and the shadows add drama to their faces. Welcoming adobe homes pepper canyons along winding mountain roads. The air is different and everyone can feel it.
The artists harness it into their work and everyone who purchases art from an artist in New Mexico takes home a piece of this enchanting place.
The Taos High Road Art Tour gives people that opportunity. It follows the high road to Taos, a magical artists haven. Along the way, patrons stop at galleries and studios owned by local artists. Following a color coded map, they can easily find what types of art they are looking to buy on the tour. Artists sell paintings, fiber arts, weaving, sculptures, wood carving, pottery, jewelry, and art in a variety of other mediums.
Other popular stops along the way include community centers, which often have several artists set up to sell their work, and local galleries that are part of the tour that is open year round.
Many patrons will also love the eats at the local café, Sugar Nymphs. A kitschy spot boding sweet treats, sandwiches and sometimes brunch. Be prepared for a wait that is well worth it because this place can get pretty busy during the tour. A local hotspot, Victor’s is the place for a milkshake and diner style burger. Just down the hill from Sugar Nymph’s, it’s a good alternative if you don’t want to wait.
In rural areas such as these, many local artists and businesses depend on revenue from the art tour patrons to keep them afloat so make sure to buy local while you’re there.
These lands are sacred to the Pueblo people so locals ask that patrons of the tour respect the lands. Taos county reports only a few cases of Covid each day and would like to keep it that way. Visitors for the art tour are expected to follow all safety guidelines pertaining to Covid. Many indigenous elders live in these enchanting hills and protecting them is imperative for these communities.
For anyone looking to find an inspiring piece of art to add to their collection, the High Road Art Tour is a coveted experience. Join the artisans of beautiful northern New Mexico at their studios from 10 am to 5 pm on September 18 & 19, and 25 & 26. A full list of artists and pictures of their work is available at highroadnewmexico.com.