Taos, NM–Harwood Museum of Art of The University of New Mexico is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2023. To mark the museum’s role as a steward of Western history and American art, Harwood’s Centennial celebration is underway through Jan. 28, 2024 and will include a major exhibition, publication, and a full calendar of educational and community programs.
Burt and Lucy Harwood identified art and education as the soul of the Harwood experience when they purchased the property on historic Ledoux Street in 1916. The Harwood Foundation was founded in 1923; since then, the museum has become an international destination for tens of thousands of visitors each year. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and the second oldest museum in New Mexico, Harwood celebrates Taos’ artistic legacy, cultivates connections through art, and inspires a creative future.
“This is a great milestone for Harwood, which has been a cultural anchor in Taos,” said Juniper Leherissey, executive director. “As the museum has evolved and changed, what endures is the strength in art and creativity that we hope to continue to inspire long into the future.”
From June 2023 to January 2024, the Centennial exhibition will fill all nine galleries and will take visitors on a journey through the museum’s rich history, including 200 works of art from Harwood’s collection and 200 books from the former Harwood Public Library along with significant works on loan by artists such as Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, Margaret Bourke-White, Elaine de Kooning, and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Touchstones will include the cultural history of the land where the museum now stands, and the many roles the property has served since it was purchased by Burt and Lucy Harwood. The property was the site for Taos’ first library and art gallery, including a permanent art collection from donors such as Mabel Dodge Luhan. It housed the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) Taos County Project, The University of New Mexico Summer Field School of Art, and served as a nexus for the Taos Moderns. Today, as an internationally acclaimed museum, Harwood provides support to emerging and established contemporary Taos artists, preserves its permanent collection, and curates exhibitions of national and international significance.
The Museum of New Mexico Press is designing and publishing an illustrated publication titled Harwood Centennial: 100 Works for 100 Years, highlighting key works from the Harwood collection that provide an in-depth understanding of Harwood as a cultural anchor of the enduring Taos art community. Written by Nicole Dial-Kay and Emily Santhanam, the publication essays emphasize the voices of artists, curators, directors, and others who played a key role in the formation of the Harwood.
"Harwood Museum of Art has held an important role in different eras of international art history as the center and steward of art in Taos. For the museum’s Centennial, the intricacy of that role will be unearthed via a full museum exhibition and accompanying publication," said Nicole Dial- Kay, curator of Exhibitions and Collections.
Harwood Museum of Art will provide a robust calendar of educational programs and community events such as lectures, guided on site tours, and oral history events to celebrate untold and personal stories from the community.
“Our education programming aims to expand on the stories from the last one hundred years, inviting everyone to be part of sustaining a thriving creative community in Taos,” said Gwendolyn Fernandez, curator of Education and Public Programs. “Whether you’ve been coming to Harwood for years, or it’s your very first visit, we aim to offer a variety of ways to connect, learn, and create.”
In addition to celebrating and contextualizing Harwood's story, the museum has embraced this milestone anniversary as a unique opportunity to comprehensively assess its exhibition and collecting practices. Harwood is committed to ensuring its practices are equitable and inclusive of the creative voices of the diverse community it serves. In particular, the Centennial exhibition and publication seek to more fully integrate the narratives of the Hispanic and Native American cultures of the region into the story of Harwood. This will be accomplished through extensive archival, academic, periodical, and oral history research and is linked to Harwood’s Equity and Engagement Initiative to advance key strategic goals of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI). This narrative will provide a foundation for defining the institution for the next one hundred years and beyond.
Harwood Centennial is made possible by the generous support of The Henry Luce Foundation, Joyce and Sherman Scott, The University of New Mexico Office of Academic Affairs, JLH Media, and Invisible City Designs. Additional funding is provided through the Betty Thom Foster Special Exhibitions Endowment, and the Beatrice Mandelman and Louis Ribak Legacy Endowment of the Harwood Museum of Art.
Harwood Museum of Art, located at 238 Ledoux Street in Taos, N.M., “inspires a thriving creative community connected through excellence in the arts.” For more information, call (575) 758-9826 or visit harwoodmuseum.org.