Paseo Project Party

It’s that time of year again!

The PASEO  Project is back – a smaller version this year – centered on Taos Plaza and Teresina Lane, making it simple and easy to connect with the art and community aqui en Taos.

When J Matthew Thomas and Agnes Chavez first conceived the idea of bring art to the (Taos) streets, they had no idea of how huge an undertaking it would be. While both are enormously accomplished artists and academics, neither had organized anything of this scale prior to their first year on the “PASEO.”

Their intention was to create a platform for experimental, interactive, ephemeral and as Agnes put it,  when the three of us met recently, “context responsiive.”

“We wanted to encourage a conversation on contemporary art that was relevant both locally and globally.” Said Matt.

I met the two brains behind this extraordinary Festival at the Manzanita Market, earlier this month. They were kind enough to spare a little time from their busy schedules to fill me in on this year’s Paseo Project Party on the Plaza.

“We’ve taken a step back and downsized this year.” Matt said. “We needed to catch our breath and rethink everything.”

The PASEO was founded in 2014 as an offshoot  of the Taos Fall Arts Festival. It’s original intent was to connect the multiple venues of Fall Arts’ exhibitions with street activities to keep visitors engaged and moving. The first Paseo was for one day (September 26, 2014) only, and approximately 3000 people attended. There were 15  installations by 26 artists.

In 2015, The PASEO happened over two days (September 24-25, 2015). 30 installations were produced by 70 artists. 16 installations were by artists living in New Mexico, 5 of those from  Taos County. 4 artists came from elsewhere ( Brazil, Berlin, and Japan.). All of  the artists were paid for their work from funding received from grants and contributions from individual supporters.

The PASEO is not simply an Art Festival, thanks to Agnes Chavez’ groundbreaking work, bringing her knowledge of art and technology into local schools. She initially created the SUBE kit, designed to assist teachers to inspire children to learn English and Spanish interactively. Sube allows educators to use a multi-sensory approach to teach language through art music and games.

Agnes is also the founder/creator of STEMArtslab, which brings science, technology, engineering and math and art projects to young people in schools and festivals.

In 2015, 12 artists presented prefestival workshops  in Taos middle and high schools through a program titled STEMarts@ThePASEO which exposed students to cutting-edge technologies, science and art. Approximately 200 students from 12 schools participated in these workshops, and presented their creations during the festival.

Between 10,000 and 12,000 people shared the PASEO experience that year—and the other (Fall ARTS) events in Taos over that weekend.

In 2016, the PASEO team took the leap into a more sustainable model and became a 501c-3 nonprofit, The PASEO Project. The PASEO 2016 festival once again  took to the streets of Taos’ Historic District on September 23 and 24.

This year, although the festival itself is condensed into the Plaza, featuring one major artist (Motomichi) who is of Japanese origin, but lives in Brooklyn, the core values and inclusion of youth in Taos remains the same.

“This year we are including other young people in their twenties, through a new program, the PASEO Media Arts Internship, as well.” Agnes told me. 

At the center of The PASEO Project are three core values: Art, Education, and Community. The PASEO Project’s vision of  community is both local and global, respectful and inclusive.

Tomorrow, in conjunction with The PASEO, there will be a host of art related events happening in Taos. Please check out the program/sites linked below for more information.

The Harwood will be hosting Motomichi from 2-3pm during the afternoon. The  PASEO artist will talk about why he uses monster figures in his work, as well as his projection mapping techniques. Free with admission to the museum ($8 – $10). Free for museum members.

Motomichi, in collaboration with DJ Kanizzle, will choreograph a pulsating 4 hour score to accompany his signature red, black and white patterns and giant monster characters projected on the facade of Hotel La Fonda de Taos, during the PASEO Party on the Plaza, from 7:00 to 11:00pm.

Dine artist Jay Smiley and Hopi artist Orlando Allison, both showing locally at FaraHNHeight Fine Art Gallery, will do a live art performance at the Farmers Market on Saturday morning of the PASEO Party, September 23, 2017. They will paint the fire organ installation by PASEO artists Jamie Vaida and Alvin Session, which will be located at the McCarthy Plaza.

The Silent Disco returns and Twirl’s Eye Play will be located on Teresina Lane.

For much more information about the event and who will participate, please visit the Paseo site linked below this post, and we’ll see you out and about tomorrow and on the Plaza for the Party!


PASEO Project

PASEO program guide

Stemarts/PASEO Project

Harwood Museum

Photographs of PASEO founders J Matthew Thomas and Agnes Chavez, taken by Zoe Zimmerman, the official photographer for The PASEO.