PASEO 2021 Festival Cancelled Due to Rising COVID-19 Risks
Organizers weigh risks to community with goals of the event
The Paseo Project is deeply disappointed to announce that the 2021 PASEO Festival has been cancelled.
“After a week of extremely challenging conversations with partners, artists, municipal leaders, and our board of directors, and of envisioning a universe of alternate possibilities, the Paseo team feels that our hands are tied and the only responsible path forward is cancellation,” says Matt Thomas, Executive Director.
Originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday night, September 17th and 18th, The PASEO 2021 was slated to bring over 25 artists and collectives to the streets of Taos. Since 2014, The PASEO has brought the community together, invigorating public spaces with projection, installation, and performance art. Last year’s PASEO festival was scaled down and turned into a drive-thru due to COVID-19.
Over the past weeks COVID case rates have been steadily climbing, including breakthrough cases among vaccinated people. Any significant influx in patients in any hospital in New Mexico would create a significant stress to the hospital system. The medical, emergency, and municipal professionals the Paseo team has spoken with all say the same thing: the system is overburdened and the community risk posed by a big event is too great.
The very nature of PASEO involves the free, inclusive, open stroll of discovery and celebration around our historic core. With artists starting to pull out and the threat of new regulations on the way, the board and team determined that efforts to pull off a safe and successful event that remains true to the PASEO Festival experience were finally not enough.
“As I’m sure you can imagine, we are all heartbroken,” says Matt. “We’re determined to find a way to continue bringing art and inspiration to our community, and will make an announcement once we have recuperated.”
The PASEO Team is working with all the artists and collaborators to reimagine how they can reschedule or adapt. “In this current climate of uncertainty, we have to be even more nimble and creative,” adds Thomas. The Paseo team believes we need art and creative interventions, now more than ever — interventions that recognize the seriousness of the pandemic and honor the efforts of first responders and front line workers, while helping us turn together, joyfully, towards the future.
It has been quite a year for the Taos-based non-profit arts organization. Despite all the uncertainty, The Paseo Project has managed to accomplish a number of community arts events this year. “We are grateful for the opportunities we have had to bring art to our community in these crazy times. We started the year with the burning of Capsule, helped revamp Taos Spring Arts, and had a summer full of artist residencies that included Jessica Blinkhorn and Juan Carlos Hernandez. This year we even introduced a new internship program and online education programs. While the annual festival is our flagship event, there remains so much to be proud of this year.”
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