Janet Webb was born and raised in Los Angeles.
That’s where she went to art school and began her early career as a fashion illustrator, before moving to New York where she kept a home for several years, even after moving to Taos with her second husband, the artist, Larry Bell.
“I felt Taos was a better place for the children,” she says, when asked why she finally settled here full-time, leaving behind a successful and lucrative career.
She adds that it was also a compromise with Larry who was an L.A. artist, and the City was just too far.
Larry and Janet have three children, including Rachel, whom you’ve already met here, on taoStyle.
Arriving in Taos during the 70’s, with no opportunities for fashion illustrators on the immediate horizon, Janet quickly appraised the situation and deduced that if she was going to work, she’d need to create her own opportunities and business .
“When we got here I had to create my own business opportunities, but It was an opportune time.” She tells me.
She started Webb Design in partnership with Nancy Pantaleoni, and says the early years were a learning curve.
“People would come to us and I would say ‘oh yes, we can do that.’ Then I’d go and figure out how to do it.”
She figured it out pretty quickly and before long (after Nancy left to go back East) single-handedly created one of the most succesful businesses in the region.
Janet has defined the art of running a business in Taos. For the past 35 years, Webb Design, a graphic design and marketing firm that served communities all around New Mexico, was really the only game in town, setting the precedent for others that would follow.
In April of this year, Janet was presented with an award at the New Mexico Governor’s Conference on Hospitality, and inducted into the New Mexico Hall of Fame. This is the highest honor for the state’s most distinguished tourism industry leaders.
When she closed the doors to Webb Design soon after, she’d already reinvented herself many times and shows no sign of slowing down.
BeyondTaos.com, was originally conceived as a way to connect the art community in New Mexico through the myriad museums and studios in the state, but it has evolved quickly into a tourism-based site that includes several communities beyond Taos on its radar. With an app in the works, soon to be available on the site, Janet remains on the cutting edge of Tourism based marketing in New Mexico.
TaosArtCalendar.com , Janet’s “newish” site – begun two years ago and still expanding – is a definitive arts calendar. It pulls events from the Harwood, TCA (Taos Center for the Arts) and SOMOS (Society of the Muse of the Southwest), and people can submit their own events.
Both of these sites have been added to Taos Links on the blog’s sidebar and are a great resource for anyone planning on visiting the region as well as for those who reside here.
Janet’s new office is in the room once designated to her three grandchildren (their toys, games and anything left behind, now occupy a closet), she has another office space in town where she works with her tech team, and she’s as busy as she ever was.
Janet is also on the board of the Paseo which promises to explode this year!
Bill Curry and I visited Janet last week at her lovely home in town, filled with fabulous art and memorabilia (Larry Bell on the cover of Sgt Pepper’s, Larry’s art on her walls along with other extraordinary works collected over a lifetime) where these photographs were taken.
Photographs by Bill Curry