The PASEO’s History
The PASEO was founded in 2014 as a project of Taos Fall Arts Festival. J. Matt Thomas and Agnes Chavez formed a core team that included Janet Webb, Molly Robertson, Anita McKeown and David Mapes and together they established the enduring mission, guidelines and ethos. It’s original purpose was to connect the multiple venues of Fall Arts’ exhibitions with street activities to keep visitors engaged and moving. That first festival was one day (September 26, 2014) and approximately 3000 people attended. Fifteen installations were presented by 26 artists.
The PASEO 2015 occurred over two days (September 24-25, 2015). 30 installations were conceived and produced by 70 artists for The PASEO 2015. Sixteen of the installations were by artists living in New Mexico, five of those from within Taos County. Four artists were international in origin—from Brazil, Berlin, and Japan. All the artists were paid for their work, thanks to funding received from grants and contributions from individual supporters.
Twelve artists presented pre-festival workshops in Taos middle and high schools through a program titled STEMarts@PASEO which exposes students to cutting-edge technologies, science and art. Approximately 200 Taos youth from 12 schools participated in these workshops, which resulted in art presented during the festival.
In 2015, 250 volunteers helped pull off the multi-venue event. The PASEO planning team consisted of 7 unpaid staff members and an advisory board of 11 art experts.
Taos Fall Arts Festival (TFAF), the nonprofit umbrella for the PASEO 2015, hosted indoor art exhibits in five spaces during the PASEO (389 Taos artists were included). Nearly 1000 people were counted at the opening reception of TFAF’s Taos Select exhibition on Friday evening.
The PASEO team estimates between 10,000 and 12,000 people shared the PASEO experience—and the other art events occurring in Taos over the weekend. (They were Taos Fall Arts exhibits, Old Taos Trade Fair, Taos Fall Arts and Crafts Fair, and Quick Draw.)
In 2016, the PASEO team took the leap into a more sustainable model and became a 501c-3 nonprofit, The Paseo Project. The Paseo Project is excited to introduce year-round programs and events in addition to hosting the annual fall PASEO festival.