An update from Valerie, a junior majoring in studio art and journalism, with a minor in French, who is interning at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos:

Harwood Museum of Art

Having already spent two weeks in this mountain town, it is hard to pinpoint a specific moment or experience to call my favorite. In fact, much of this time has been spent learning about the culture and people of Taos as a whole, both of which are very different when compared to the lifestyle in Dallas. I don’t think I had ever properly seen a true hippie until I came to Taos. Nor had I eaten green chile on absolutely everything – which apparently is possible, too. In Taos they’re pretty fond of it.

In addition to the Nonprofit Communication course I am taking with Professor Nina Flournoy in Taos this semester, I’m interning at the Harwood Museum of Art. A lot of what I do consists of handling the art in museum storage, which allows me the unique opportunity to learn all about the artists of northern New Mexico and the history of the region. In my spare time I have been exploring the town, which is a melting pot of art in itself.

A ristra

Here are just some of the things I have learned while in Taos:

1. Ristras are garlands of dried chilies you see hanging everywhere. A local said this is simply because Taos has a lot of chilies.

2. Taos is home Taos Pueblo,  the oldest continually inhabited community in the United States, and the home of the Tiwa Indians.

3. Just a few miles out of town lies Taos Gorge, a huge and stunning natural crevasse running through the Taos valley, which hosts many natural hot springs.

The gorge

4. The Taos Cow in Arroyo Seco is hands down the best place to get ice cream in town.

5. Taos is home to the St. Fransisco de Asis church – which has been photographed and painted by famous artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Every year, the community gets together to re-adobe the outside surface of the church.

St. Fransisco de Asis

6. New Mexico sunsets are amazing – bring a camera with you!

7. Just outside of town are the “Earth ships” – a community of sustainable houses built out of recycled products such as glass bottles, rammed earth and cans. As a result, they cost almost nothing to build. And they are very interesting to see.

Stay tuned for more about Taos!