By Charlotte Jusinski
A few months ago, I was perusing the upcoming exhibitions calendar at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos when something stopped me where I stood: Outriders: Legacy of the Black Cowboy.
Ever since enjoying a performance of traditional cowboy songs by Dom Flemons (of Carolina Chocolate Drops fame) at GiG Performance Space in Santa Fe back in 2018, I’ve wanted to explore the history and legacy of the Black cowboy. When I saw that this exhibition would not only feature historical information but also work from contemporary artists, I knew I had to get a story about it into El Palacio.
While the Harwood Museum of Art is not a Department of Cultural Affairs institution, I eagerly welcome information about this exhibition to our pages. While El Palacio does focus primarily on the exhibitions and programming of state-run museums and historic sites, I also know that El Palacio readers’ curiosity about the exhibitions of New Mexico doesn’t stop where the governmental department ends. While they’re planning a trip to the New Mexico Museum of Art, chances are they’ll also drop by the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art; while they’re taking in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, a walk around the block to the Albuquerque Museum is probably also on the list. And so on and so forth.
Besides, collaboration with outside institutions is not new for El Palacio. We have often worked with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum here in Santa Fe (see Summer 2019’s “When Georgia Met Sandro” by Kate Nelson), and it was a happy accident when Jim O’Donnell’s “I Change into My Levi’s That I Bought With Last Year’s Potato Harvest Money: Querencia and New Mexico’s Manito diaspora” (Summer 2022) dovetailed perfectly into an exhibition about the migrant workers known as Manitos at the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos. (And, even better: If you want to check out that exhibition at a DCA institution right now, head up to Los Luceros Historic Site in Alcalde, where it’s on view through spring of 2023.)
Not only are these collaborations a testament to our readers’ wide-ranging interests, but they are a perfect example of how institutions can and should work together. At the 2019 Mountain Plains Museum Association conference in Albuquerque, I was struck by just how imaginative, progressive, passionate, and even idealistic the museums professionals there were; they were eager to reach out to each other for information, educational materials, brainpower, and to form bonds. It was inspiring collaboration between folks who have the same interest at heart: Namely, all of it was rooted in their desire to get information to the general public in whatever way they could.
So, dear reader, thanks for trusting me as El Palacio takes you on a tour across the state and sometimes ventures into unique territory. My ultimate goal is to get you information that can help you happily plan your weekends and road trips, combining pleasure with education from Taos to Las Cruces. And if that sometimes leads us off the beaten path—well, all the better, right?