By Jean Nichols, Art For the Heart owner/artist
High Road Artisans (http://highroadnewmexico.com/), Art for the Heart (http://www.fourcornersgeotourism.com/content/art-for-the-heart/) and the Peñasco Theatre (http://wisefoolnewmexico.org/penasco.html) (and others) along the High Road are coming together to collaborate on events and marketing, to avoid duplication and competition, and to reach out to visitors and invite them to participate in the creativity that permeates our communities. Literally we have and we are “Mountains of Talent”.
With so many diverse cultures, artists, mediums, different artistic and life styles, what we have is unique. Within our many differences, we have this in common: a love for our Sangre de Cristo Mountains. If we look around, we all have gifts and talents, some demonstrated and some hidden. Whether people have lived here for all time, for generations, or just moved in, we all share this love and respect for “place.”
“Take the High Road” is more than just a suggested diversion down a scenic byway. It is a way of looking at life, looking past the surface and into the heart. It is amazing what talents are hidden in these hills. Perhaps economic times have forced people to work at menial jobs or stand in line at food banks, but underneath it all, everyone has a gift and a creative force. The same is true of our visitors.
Prejudices are a part of human nature. This multi-cultural area has its share of prejudice, resentment, and fragmentation. When you look at what one can do to change that, to think outside of the box and to make a difference, you must look first at what the challenge is. Communities have lost their agricultural self-sustaining focus and been fragmented and divided. To get back to sustainability, we begin to reach out and bring the separate parts back into community.
Picuris Pueblo (http://www.indianpueblo.org/”>http://www.indianpueblo.org/) is the heart of our Penasco community (Penasco, New Mexico), surrounded by Hispanic neighboring villages with transplanted artists, musicians, organic farmers, spiritual seekers, and people wanting to live on the fringes of wilderness. We have the oldest ski area in New Mexico. We have a Buddhist nunnery. We are home to alternative people seeking a simpler lifestyle. We have different cultures all sharing a love for this place, these mountains and streams, the wildness and light. It is a recipe for art.
Out of this diversity, we formed a group of artists and began putting on Studio Art Tours (http://highroadnewmexico.com/tour.html). Year-round galleries sprang up. Art for the Heart was founded under the umbrella of an ambulance service as a place to foster health through creativity, graffiti walls became murals, a circus came to town and took up residency in our local historic theatre, a gourmet bistro followed, local traditions and fiestas continued and people came together through acequias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acequia) and artistic and athletic expression. Old traditions evolved and new ones were born.
This is the High Road, where we feel we live in the best of both worlds—close to Santa Fe and Taos and the culture and convenience these towns offer, yet nestled within our quiet and peaceful back woods and roads.
This is where we want to invite the visitor, to taste our lifestyles, to experience our art and culture, to enrich themselves and to enrich us because of their visit.
Take the High Road. Come pay us a visit. You won’t be sorry you did and it may just change your life.