An Essence of the High Road to Taos–The High Road Art Tour 2019

Written on 09/18/2019
Jeane George Weigel

Spirit Horse Gallery, Chimayo

The “High Road” for those of you who don’t know, is the old highway running between Santa Fe and Taos. It winds up and through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and past ancient Spanish land grant villages.

Sally Delap-John, Truchas

Over the centuries artists have been drawn to this place, and over the last number of decades, five at least, the High Road has become a bona fide artist’s colony.

Bill Loyd & Anna Karin Gallery

This coming weekend, September 21 and 22, as well as the following weekend, September 28 and 29, artists along the High Road will be opening their studios and meeting with visitors as part of the 2019 High Road Art Tour.

Oviedo Carvings & Bronze, Chimayo

You will find traditional and contemporary art; usable objects as well as fine art. You’ll see what you expect and quite a bit you may not. The Tour starts in Chimayo, winds through Cundiyo, Cordova, Truchas, Ojo Sarco, Chamisal, Penasco, Llano San Juan and ends in Vadito. We not only offer up the Art Tour, but an historical drive through the mountains as well. Here’s a map. And, BIG NEWS, here’s an app!

Centinela Traditional Arts, Chimayo

I’m posting some examples of what you’ll find as part of the Tour in no order whatsoever. Expect to meet artists whose work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian, and 7th and 8th generation artisans, carrying their family’s processes forward, as well as individuals who do what we do simply because it’s who we are.

Ghost Pony Gallery, Truchas

I’m reading a wonderful novel right now by Sofia Segovia titled, The Murmur of Bees. There is a passage I want to share with you because it paints a better picture of what the High Road is, what I’m trying to say, not about art and artists but about place, than I can. It’s rather long I’m afraid but lovely:

Mesdames Carton, Chamisal

“The house already smelled how it would smell forevermore. Its porous stones had absorbed the good aromas of three generations of hard working men and three of women who were sticklers for cleanliness with their oils and soaps…

Robert Dale Tsosie, Penasco Community Center

… The walls were impregnated with the family recipes and the clothes boiling in white soap. The sense of my grandmother’s pecan sweets, of
her preserves and jams, of the thyme and epazote that grew in pots in the garden, and more recently of the orange’s blossoms and honey. They always floated in the air… 

J. Chris Morel Studio, Vadito

… As part of its essence the house also preserved the laughter and games of its children. The scolding and slamming of doors past and present…

Hand Artes Gallery, Truchas

… The loose tile my grandfather and his 22 siblings trod with their bare feet and my father trod in his childhood, was the same one I trod as a boy…

Hand Artes Gallery, Truchas

… The house beams creaked for no apparent reason, the doors  squeaked, the shutters banged rhythmical against the wall, even when there was no wind…

Nancy Davis, Penasco

… Outside the bees buzzed and the cicadas surrounded us with their mad incessant song every summer evening just before nightfall…

Gaucho Blue Fine Art Gallery, Penasco

… It was a living house, the one that saw me born. If it sometimes gave off the scent of orange blossoms in winter or…

Birrell Jones Studio, Chimayo

… some unattributable giggles were heard in the middle of the night, nobody was scared. They were part of the house’s personality, it’s essence. ‘There are no ghosts in this house,’ my father would say to me… 

Charlee Newman Gallery, Ojo Sarco

‘… What you hear are the echoes of what it has kept to remind us of all those who have been here…’ “

eL Gallery & Studio, Truchas

That represents, well, the villages up here in these mountains. The old adobe structures, some of which have stood for 400 years, now house not only their families who have lived here for generations, many of them artists…

Light Mountain Gallery, Penasco

… but are also home to many newly arrived (meaning over the last 40 years) working artists, galleries and studios.

High Road Art Gallery, Truchas

We create our art within these ancient buildings taking, I suspect, some inspiration from what has gone before.

Santa Clara Pottery, Ojo Sarco Community Center

But it is not only the buildings that hold mystery within them. The villages themselves are abundant with a sense of spirit, of old-time community…

Nature Dyed Silk, Ojo Sarco Community Center

…a society of women who re-mudded every structure in their villages during the spring…

McGuire Gallery, Cundiyo

… of children gathering the family’s daily water from the acequia at the beginning of each day…

Kimberly Pollis, Penasco Community Center

… of men tending the fields, putting up stick fences, digging the ditches…

Ojo Sarco Community Center

… of alfalfa and fruit trees, sheep and goats.

Dreams were dreamed here and they remain in this place in the air we breathe, in the pine forests that surround us, the rock underfoot, in the old mud walls and spaces of our homes. This place exists because of those dreams–and hard work. It’s no wonder artists are called here. It is not just the light! It is the spirit of place.

Blair Brown, between Penasco & Vadito

It is impossible to live here without a sense of reverence and I believe that’s reflected in our art.

Fred Trujillo Traditional Carving, Truchas

And so please come and see us. We have so much beauty to offer. If you want to spend a night or two to really get a sense of this place, you could stay in my friend’s lovely B&B. She books through airbnb and VRBO.

Northern New Mexico Getaway

And for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just desert, don’t forget The Sugar Nymphs in Penasco. They offer unexpectedly sophisticated and delicious food.

Love to you all,


That’s my jewelry above. I’ll be selling at Hand Artes Gallery in Truchas during the Tour.