Dawn Mirabal’s Taos Mountain Gallery inside the El Monte Sagrado is a treasure trove of art, objects d’art, jewelry, textiles and so much more.
Dawn, the former wife (and manager) of Robert Mirabal and mother of his three daughters, has managed to fill the small gallery space that is tucked inside the El Monte Sagrado’s lobby, with an impressive collection of Global Art and crafts.
Dawn’s aquisition of the Gallery space was laced with Taos magic. At loose ends, her kids growing up and no longer 100% dependent on her, she applied for a job at the El Monte Sagado Resort and Spa.
The Resort’s former Gallery Director Jennifer Longo had left to persue other interests and Dawn proved perfect for the position which included a huge space off the ballroom, used for several years as a showroom by local artist Ed Sandoval, under the resort’s former ownership.
She would also be responsible for curating the art throughout the Resort including the guest suites, casitas and rooms. When Heritage Hotels And Resorts bought the property from the Kessler Enterprise, everything changed including the Art.
“Mr. Kessler took what belonged to him and the rest was then part of the sale.” Dawn explained. “Mr. Long gave me five minutes to decide whether I wanted to take on the Gallery (which would continue to operate as before but independent of the Hotel itself), I decided to take it.”
Aside from Sandoval’s art occupying the huge room adjacent to the ballroom – Dawn felt the responsibility was too great to bear – she still curates the art throughout the Hotel but the Gallery is its own entity.
It wasn’t really as much of an impulse move as it might appear on the surface; Dawn and her former husband, Robert Mirabal have had a long relationship with Heritage’s founder and owner, Jim Long. “After Music From A Painted Cave,(the PBS special which brought him National recognition and acclaim, when Dawn managed and handled Robert’s bookings) we met Jim Long who had followed Robert’s trajectory and wanted to showcase him at various events held at Heritage Hotels and Resorts around New Mexico.”
“We have a long history,” she smiles. And so, Taos Mountain Gallery (Inside the El Monte), was born.
It’s the perfect complement to Heritage’s vision; the New Mexico owned and based organization prides itself on showing a lot of local art and crafts among the International design elements evident in all of their gorgeously appointed properties. Dawn’s link to the Pueblo and its artists and artisans brings tremendous gravitas to the El Monte Sagrado’s walls and surfaces. Dawn (her father was from Taos Pueblo) joins her brother Dean (Smoke Signals) in the distinction of being the only two Native-owned Galleries in Taos, (outside the Pueblo village).Her California upbringing and Anglo mother gives her the unique perspective of walking in two worlds and her Gallery reflects it.
Along with incredible Native Artists (including Patrick Trujillo whom I recently profiled), and beautiful crafts from the Pueblo; drums, pipes (made by her brother Dean), and silk scarves from Patricia Michaels‘ Waterlily line, Dawn also shows other local artists and photographers including Kim Trieber, Michael Miro along with Heritage Inspirations’ Angelisa Espinoza’s beautiful cards, (shown in the image below, on the drum). Precious pieces from Modernist high-end jewelers are in cases above cases containing stunning turquoise and silver antiquities (and contemporary work) from this region. Embroidered textiles from India hang next to weavings from Peru. She is nothing if not inclusive.
And pragmatic as well.
“This was a storage closet.” She informs me as she shows me a tiny room to the side of the Gallery entry. “I kept getting requests for this stuff, so I ordered it,”
Sundries from toothbrushes to band-aids and batteries with everything else you might forget as you pack for a trip, Dawn also keeps brochures and maps here in this little Bodega she’s created, beside the table containing candy bars and packaged pastries.
As we were chatting a hotel guest came in and bought a pastry.
“See,” she smiled. “First sale of the day!”
“I’m also the concierge,” she explains, “I do the tours of the hotel as well, and I show people around as if it’s my home, I put a personal spin on it because I think people respond to that and besides, I do feel quite at home here.” She laughs.
“You can see the mountain from the grounds.” She beams.
Dawn can be reached at email@example.com
or by phone 575 737-9840
Do visit her Facebook page listed below
All photos by Bill Curry