In the summer of 1919, visionary artist Mabel Dodge Luhan moved to Taos, where she began a literary colony, hosted many influential artists and married a Taos Pueblo Indian, Tony Luhan. ---
Next week, filmmakers Mark Gordon, Tom McCarthy and Jill Drinkwater present a special preview of their new documentary Awakening in Taos that profiles the influential life of Luhan as an artist and social activist.
For the last five years, documentary filmmakers have been poring over Mabel Dodge Luhan's life. From her columns on social and environmental reform published in Hearst newspapers to her autobiographies and interviews with artists influenced by her work, Luhan's life story is rife with noteworthy accomplishments and cries for change in the world.
Executive Producer Mark Gordon has dedicated his time to researching the life of Luhan.
"I've read just about every conceivable book by or about Mabel Dodge Luhan," Gordon says. "It's a love story; it's about the history of New Mexico...it's about an early feminist 100 years ahead of her time."
When she first visited Taos, Luhan instantly knew that it was the place for her. The vast, beautiful landscapes paired with the ways of the Native people keyed her in that this really is a land for artists. In her memoir, Edge of Taos Desert, Luhan describes the feeling of release she experienced after moving to the Southwest.
"The relief at coming back to the reality of the bright, confident day was overwhelming. I could feel my quivering nerves and my loud frightened heart gradually compose themselves after a lifetime of concealed apprehension and alarm," she writes.
With the establishment of a literary colony, Luhan brought many influential artists, writers and poets into the small town. For decades, she invited artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Willa Cather and Marsden Hartley into her small home.
"Luhan brought the greatest artists and writers of her time to New Mexico," Gordon says. "She's responsible for bringing [Georgia] O'Keeffe out here in the first place."
In additional to encouraging art in the changing industrial world, Mabel Dodge was an active player in social revolutions. Among the racial prejudices of 1923, Luhan's marriage to a Taos Pueblo Indian typified her affinity for change.
"Luhan confronted issues women are still dealing with today," Gordon says. "She struggled with finding her voice in the same way women do today."
The preview for Awakening in Taos is a 10-minute snippet profiling the life of this influential figure in New mexico. Filmmakers Mark Gordon, Tom McCarthy and Jill Drinkwater will be hosting an hour-long discussion with audience members alongside KNME Executive Producer Michael Kamins following the presentation.
Awakening in Taos Preview Event
Wednesday, Nov. 10
Free (donations accepted)
La Fonda Hotel
100 E. San Francisco St.