On our recent photography tour, Lynn S. and I were heading to Taos, New Mexico, on the High Road on Easter Sunday, not thinking any galleries or shops would be open, but still hopeful. If all doors were shut, there would always be the gorgeous mountain scenery to photograph and maybe the exterior of a church. Apple trees were in bloom. An occasional lilac bush was a burst of purple along the road side.
We entered the little mountain town of Truchas, (Lynn at the wheel at the wheel of her car; I feel bad for not doing any driving…) on the lookout. We saw a little adobe church with a tin roof and tin bell tower. A sign said: The Montez Gallery. The church was now a gallery. Cars were in the parking lot. Could it be open?
Not only was the Montez Gallery open, but there was a reception for the gallery’s 25th year. Cake, coffee, cookies! The owner, Rey Montez, told guests about the art featured in his gallery and the history of the people in the area. His family has been in northern New Mexico for centuries. You can read more about him, the gallery and collectors in the links below. Many notable people have made the same stop at the Montez Gallery.
We also found an old mission church in Truchas, Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Holy Rosary) Mission Church, which was built in 1764. It’s open in June, July and August. We visited the town in April, so we weren’t able to go inside to see the two large altar-screens (reredos) by the renowned santero Pedro Antonio Fresquis.
Truchas was established by a Spanish Royal Land grant in 1754. The full name of the town is Río de las Truchas, which means “river of trout.” The first settlers built irrigation ditches from the trout-filled river to bring water to the town, which is at an elevation of 8,000 feet. Truchas is mentioned in Willa Cather’s 1927 novel “Death Comes for the Archbishop”; Book Two Chapter 2. Robert Redford’s “The Milagro Beanfield War” (1988) was filmed on location in Truchas. Several Truchas residents had roles in the movie.