News & Events / News - Announcements
- Read our NOTES AND NEWS electronic newsletter, Spring 2020
- See or download an electronic copy of our print LEGACY newsletter, Fall 2019
SPECIAL NOTICE: CSHS TEMPORARY CLOSURE
To help our community limit the spread of COVID-19, Couse-Sharp Historic Site will be closed and will not offer tours from March 12 through July 15, 2020. Our front office staff consists of two people, so the office may or may not be staffed depending on circumstances. Deliveries and volunteers should knock on the office door and/or call the office for admittance.
We will continue to monitor outbreak news and official advisories and will update our policies as warranted. We regret any inconvenience. Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation in these public health efforts.
The Board of Directors of The Couse Foundation at its June 2020 meeting instituted a National Advisory Council and adopted the initial slate of eight members. “We are delighted that nationally known authorities and experts have enthusiastically agreed to be available to the board to advise us as needed,” said Tim Newton, board chairman.
The council broadens the geographic reach of leadership for the Foundation, provides access to areas of expertise that otherwise might not be represented among board members, and ensures that key former Foundation officials can remain involved and available to share their experiences and institutional knowledge with the board, its committees, and Foundation staff.
Members, who serve on a year-to-year basis, will be kept up to date on Foundation and Couse-Sharp Historic Site activities and issues and invited to attend board meetings as warranted. Carl Jones, who served as board chairman until this year and is a former president, will serve as the initial liaison between the board and the council. The three former board members who are now serving on the council were those who served the entire nine-year maximum board term as established in the bylaws.
“The fact that these eight outstanding individuals are associated with us is a great asset as we build and navigate the future of the organization,” Newton said.
The inaugural eight members are:
Caroline Jean Fernald, PhD
Executive Director, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
University of California at Berkeley
McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture/Curator of Cowboy Collections and Western Art
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma City, OK
Former Board Member, The Couse Foundation
Former President and Chairman, The Couse Foundation
Arroyo Seco, NM
Founder and Former President and Chairman, The Couse Foundation
Palm Desert, CA
Dean A. Porter, PhD
Former Director, Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame
Thomas Brent Smith
Director, Petrie Institute of Western American Art, Denver Art Museum
Marie Watkins, PhD
Professor Emerita of Art History, Furman University
Groundbreaking kicks off new research center in Taos
The Couse Foundation announces start of principal construction
for facility focusing on early Taos artists
TAOS, NM, May 21, 2020—Principal construction on The Lunder Research Center at the Couse-Sharp Historic Site commenced on May 18, another key milestone in The Couse Foundation’s drive to open a research center and museum facility dedicated to the early Taos art colony and the Taos Society of Artists (TSA). The Foundation chose to forgo the traditional groundbreaking ceremony to limit exposure of potential participants to COVID-19.
The new center will reside in a 5,000-square-foot building on Kit Carson Road and become an archive for documents and art created, and artifacts collected, by the 12 members of the TSA. Materials will include original documents and correspondence, photographic prints and negatives, sketchbooks, original works of art, an extensive library, scholarly papers relating to the group and Native American art and ethnographic items. The state-of-the-art facility will include an exhibition gallery and curatorial space.
“The Lunder Research Center is the culmination of many years of dreaming, planning and fundraising,” said Carl Jones, chairman of the Board of Directors of The Couse Foundation. “The fact that it is being created within the walls of the former Mission Gallery, a large portion of which had been the home of Joseph Henry Sharp, is a stroke of serendipity that will provide an appropriate history-laden environment for thousands of documents and artifacts related to the Taos Society of Artists. We are delighted that every member of the project team is Taos-based. The Lunder Research Center will be a significant addition to our community created by our community.”
The Couse-Sharp Historic Site (CSHS), owned and managed by The Couse Foundation and located in the historic center of Taos, is a 2-plus acre campus that includes the homes, studios and gardens of E. I. Couse and J. H. Sharp, two of the TSA’s founders. The Couse home and studio remain largely as they were during Couse’s lifetime, with his original artwork, Native American art collection and Spanish Colonial art and furniture.
“The site’s nearly unique authenticity of place affords the visitor a powerful experience of this inspiring corner of the country, which continues to influence American art,” said Davison Koenig, CSHS executive director and curator. “The completion of The Lunder Research Center will create a living campus dedicated to the early Taos art colony and their social and artistic impact that continues to reverberate today.”
The Foundation’s capital campaign to fund the project received momentum in 2018 from a $600,000 grant from The Lunder Foundation—Peter and Paula Lunder Family. “We are very pleased to be able to support this project, which we feel is an important addition to the resources available for the study and appreciation of American art,” Peter and Paula Lunder, principals of The Lunder Foundation of Portland, Maine, said in a statement.
Partial financing for the project has been secured through Centinel Bank. “Centinel Bank is proud to partner with The Couse Foundation bringing the dream of the Lunder Research Center to fruition. We are inspired to support the legacy of the early Taos art colony and Taos Society of Artists. The Lunder Research Center will be an invaluable resource for our community, attracting art enthusiasts and scholars from all parts of the world. Congratulations to The Couse Foundation on their vision, supporting local business and creating much needed economic development for our community,” said Angel Reyes, president/CEO of Centinel
Bank of Taos.
“As we work to fulfill our expanded vision and secure a sustainable future in these challenging times, we now reach out to our local community and the larger national community of people and organizations that recognize the importance of the early Taos art colony to the development of American art and culture,” said Rich Rinehart, president of The Couse Foundation.
“We appreciate our relationship with The Couse Foundation and their efforts in bringing The Lunder Research Center to Taos,” noted Paul Espinoza, vice president of Los Alamitos, LLC. “This is a signature project for Los Alamitos, LLC. We are excited to be part of the team as a Taos-based, local general contractor using local subcontractors, carpenters and laborers. We are a family-oriented company and many of us have been working together for over 20 years.”
“It is crucial that precious economic resources are kept within our small northern New Mexico community,” added David M. Henry, AIA, of Henry Architects, which is providing both architectural services and project management. “Kudos to the Couse Foundation and its talented staff for engaging a local team of architects, tradespeople, engineers, and designers. The Lunder Research Center and TSA archive will be a showcase for the world to view Taos’s incredible talents, history, and deep cultural roots.”
“I believe the genesis and creation of The Lunder Research Center at the Couse-Sharp Historic Site in Taos is providential,” said Michael R. Grauer, McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture/Curator of Cowboy Collections and Western Art, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. “There are no coincidences; everything happens for a reason. Therefore, there is no more appropriate place for this library and archives—the spiritual home of the Taos Society of Artists—than at this site, in this town.”
Josh Elliott, an artist working in the Western genre who resides in Helena, Montana, said, “The Taos Society of Artists has inspired several generations of artists with their respectful depiction of Native Americans and their iconic interpretation of Taos and surrounding areas. It is a pilgrimage of sorts for living artists to visit Taos, like going to Paris to see what the Impressionists saw. I can only imagine the impact that the research center will have on countless generations of artists to come.”