New Mexico-based gallerist Ari Myers takes us through one summer day in Taos.

8:00 AM

I try to wake up around this time every day, but I’m really not a morning person, so sometimes it’s more like 9 am.

8:15 AM

First thing, I start with a cup of coffee and review my to-do list and calendar for the day. Then I spend some time on Instagram and reading some art news. This is how I keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the art world. It’s good to feel connected, even if it is digitally.

9:00 AM

I start in on emails, other writing, and planning for upcoming shows and projects. I try to set aside a few hours in the morning for focused solo work if I can. My dog Leo is usually right by my side.

11:00 AM

Call to check in with Amelia Lockwood. She’s been in Athens, Greece preparing for our presentation at Art Athina, and I’m excited to see some of her work that’s just come out of the kiln! Here’s a sneak peek detail…

12:00 PM

Break for a quick lunch.

12:30 PM

Drive into town and meet up with Celeste, my gallery manager, to take care of a few things at the gallery. It’s monsoon season in Northern New Mexico, so we wait out the rain inside while getting some work done.

2:00 PM

Drive to Sarah Rodriguez’s studio in Ojo Caliente, which is about 45 minutes away. Sarah is one of the artists that I’m working with who lives closest to me, and one of the few I can check in with in person regularly. A lot of my studio visits take place over FaceTime, or I’ll travel to where the artist lives to check in during the lead up to a project.

2:45 PM

Arrive at Sarah’s place and check out what they’ve been working on in the studio. Sarah’s research, artmaking, and work as an animal trainer are practices in interspecies communication, material experimentation, and generating new definitions of ecology. Their sculptural works often engage plants, animals, and other non-human life forms as collaborators. The sculptures in the studio are part of an ongoing series of three-dimensional cast aluminum forms; amalgamations of found objects from their environment such as shells, bones, branches, leaves, and seed pods. We will be showing Sarah’s work at NADA Miami in a few months, and they also have a solo show in March 2023.

4:45 PM

Drive back to Taos while listening to an essay from Terry Tempest Williams’ Erosion on audiobook.

5:45 PM

It's my turn to feed the horses in the evening. My friends and I board at a barn together and do all the care for our horses ourselves. We all take shifts for morning/evening feedings throughout the week.

7:00 PM

I love how long it stays light out in the summer. Plenty of time left to get a ride in before dusk. Happy trails.

Scott Fitzpatrick

You moved to Taos in 2020, relatively early in the pandemic. What first drew you there, and how would you describe life in the town now that you’re settled?


I had been visiting Taos and the surrounding area in Northern New Mexico for several years prior to moving here from Colorado in 2020. I had started to think seriously about moving to the area about a year prior and had begun to put a plan in motion. Then the pandemic hit and I lost the job that made up the majority of my income, which expedited the timeline and made it that much more clear that it was time to move on. 

I was drawn to the area because of the rich diversity of culture, the ability to live in close communion with the land and the seasons, and the fact that supporting arts and creative practices is a core value of the people here. There is a long legacy of artists who have called Northern New Mexico home–from the Pueblo peoples who have lived and worked here for centuries to more recent visitors from the coasts who came in search of solitude and high desert light. 

I’m really grateful that my life in Taos feels full and active, but also allows for a rhythm that is determined by my relationship with the land, something that I really craved while living in a larger city. My group of close friends here is primarily comprised of creative folks: musicians, songwriters, filmmakers, actors, artists and other kinds of makers. Some of them grew up here, but many are transplants from elsewhere who came to Taos in search of something similar–a reset of priorities or an orientation toward living in a smaller and more intentional community. A lot of my friends here have seasonal work to support their creative practices, or they still have a foot in a bigger city, or have travel built into the work that they do. With the gallery, I’m doing six exhibitions per year here in Taos and four art fairs, so I’m on the road a lot as well. When I’m here, I’m able to ground into and enjoy what the different seasons offer, spend time with friends and host visitors (most of our artists come to Taos for their openings), and work with horses, another big dream of mine that became a reality since relocating to New Mexico.


The art world hasn’t historically focused on galleries and artists not working in major cities. Do you feel like that’s shifting at all as people search for new or untapped talent?


As in a lot of industries, access to high speed internet has made it possible for certain types of work to take place outside of major metropolitan areas. As the art world globalized, I think the role of galleries outside of these areas was to steward regional art scenes and build regional collector bases. Galleries in larger cities might occasionally pull someone up from the network of regional galleries, but would primarily rely on artists located nearby for their programming as well, so that’s where artists headed if they wanted to be considered for these opportunities. I think this is changing, especially as many artists can no longer afford to live in bigger cities with rising costs of living and stagnating wages. So artists, always the vanguard, are finding other ways of working, and therefore galleries are having to look elsewhere for their talent. 

I see The Valley as part of this change because I'm interested in finding a balance between regionally-focused programming and remaining connected to the global contemporary art market. I think this serves the artists I work with dually–for those who are in the Southwest, there’s more visibility on a national platform that might have looked past them previously; and for those elsewhere, they are part of something that has a strong base outside of a major metropolitan area, which sets us apart and opens up other channels. The reality is that the largest cities will always dominate the art world/art market, but there’s a lot of freedom that comes with being able to create our own path forward and not feeling like we have to compare ourselves to galleries in larger metropolitan areas. 


The Valley’s website describes itself as having an interest in artwork with a focus on “magic and mysticism, craft practices, and connection to place.” What attracts you to those specific elements in the work? And is there something about Taos (and its history) in particular that makes it the right fit for that mission?


When thinking about the history and legacy of the arts in Northern New Mexico, some things that probably come to mind are Indigenous cultural or ancestral arts practices like pottery or weaving, Spanish colonial influenced folk art like santos and retablos, traditional landscape painting brought later on by White settlers, or more recent movements like the Transcendental Painting Group and the Light and Space Movement. Back to this idea of regionalism, I’m very interested in the idea of showing work that feels connected to the spirit of Taos (or my perception of it), regardless of the location where the artists I show live and work. To me that manifests in those three tenets that I use a lot in describing the connecting thread between the work we show: magic and mysticism, craft practices, and connection to place. 

On a personal level, those three tenets also encapsulate most of the work that I find compelling. I was raised in a religious environment and have always been very engaged with spiritual and esoteric practices. I love folk art, outsider art, artists who push the boundaries between craft/design and “fine art,” and artists who work outside the margins of the established art world in big cities. I value having a deep connection with the land and with animals, and enjoy artwork that speaks to those relationships too. 


What has surprised you most about starting your own gallery?


The immense support we’ve received from collectors, artists and other galleries has been a huge surprise to me! The gallery has been open a little under two years, and I’m so honored that in addition to a supportive community here in Northern NM we’ve also been able to reach so many people elsewhere. 


Are there any goals you have that you’re most excited about achieving?


The most pressing goal I have for the next few years is to find a bigger gallery space in Taos where we can host more than one show at once and have room for an apartment/studio to be used by a resident artist. I would also like to add on a small space in New York that we can use for mini exhibitions, events and gatherings, and residency opportunities for our artists who live in New Mexico and elsewhere in the Southwest–like a clubhouse of sorts, so we can have a footprint in a bigger city while developing our program and our space in Taos even further. I think this would be huge for our artists to have access to workspaces in both places as a resource and would help us to continue to build relationships with collectors, institutions and other galleries.