The Harwood: A journey of the mind, a life of the imagination
The Harwood Museum of Art brings Taos arts to the world and the world's arts to Taos. That statement is far more than a catchphrase in today’s world of global commerce, communication, and interdependence. At the intersection of art and technology, we look to a new direction for the future, across dynamically shifting terrain. From there, we reach higher.
From the plow to the stars. The core of the Harwood Museum experience is object-based learning, in which personal interaction with original works of art provides meaningful links to a vibrant legacy. This is education: the encounter with art develops visual skills and learning styles; it opens multiple vistas on diverse cultures; it empowers visitors to translate such rich, creative encounters into a lifelong experience. That experience begins with the Harwood’s art collection, maintained in the Museum’s historic buildings. It is a vital learning experience.
Art teaches. A core aspect of our mission is to interpret our collection for the Taos community and for northern New Mexico. By telling its story, revealing its ideas, engaging with its imagery, we relive its experience; we release the power of its art to convey its values, values that nurture a life of the mind, a journey of the imagination.
The Harwood invests in the future of northern New Mexico. We are stewards of our region’s arts, the complex narrative of which was shaped over centuries by the confluence of Native American, Hispano, and Anglo cultures against the towering landscape of Taos, beneath what Frederic Remington described as “the great blue wall of the Sangre de Cristo range.” By advancing the region’s artistic and cultural legacy, we align with the University of New Mexico’s overall commitment to higher learning and service to the community.
As a living legacy, Taos arts are an enormous cultural and educational resource to be shared with the Taos community, now and for future generations. The overarching narrative of Taos arts has been shaped by an ongoing exchange between the ancient traditions of its indigenous artists and the mainstream influences of its artist émigrés, past and present.
The Harwood strives to be the preeminent museum of northern New Mexico. At the Harwood, we enhance learning, creativity, and cultural life by educating the community and all our visitors through exhibitions, educational programs, docent tours, and public events that celebrate the abiding artistic heritage of Taos and the people of New Mexico. We seek community enrichment through global engagement.
Dr. Richard Tobin, Director
The Harwood Museum of Art
The University of New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico
With the appointment of a new Director in early May 2016, The Harwood Museum of Art entered the last phase of the process leading to submission of the HMA final report to the Accreditation Commission of The American Alliance of Museums in early December.
This strategic plan is the core document of the final report. It addresses in detail the issues identified in the Site Visit Report and listed in the tabling letter of November 2, 2015, and in the July 6, 2016, letter in response to the HMA April progress report.
The actions taken by the Harwood to address those issues are summarized here, detailed in appendices, and referenced in the relevant sections in the strategic plan:
Evidence of the strategic planning process (see Appendix I)
June 2016: As the tabling decision noted, the 2010 five-year strategic plan had expired by the summer of 2015. The initial planning meetings with the staff in June of 2016 covered two aspects: 1) the strategic plan format and 2) the planning process.
July 2016: Based on the initial planning meetings with staff, a Planning Retreat was held at an off-site location on July 18, 2016, facilitated by the manager of UNM Human Resources Employee and Organizational Development (EOD), to review our success, mission, institutional plan, and resources.
July–October 2016: The focused special-session format of the Planning Retreat was carried over in a series of follow-up planning sessions that included board members.
November–December, concluding timeline: The outcomes of the planning sessions were integrated in the final draft
o Security firm hired for May–September 2016 exhibition was retained in November as permanent security for HMA
o Security now supervised overall by senior management
o September: reviewed and increased security upgrades already in place
o October: reviewed and enhanced staff protocols for alarm and notification
Staff Capacity and Compensation
The following actions were taken to increase staff capacity to meet the needs of the enlarged facility and new acquisitions in the collection:
o Open positions filled since July 2015:
§ Registrar (Oct. 16, 2015)
§ Director (May 1, 2016)
§ Curator of Collections/Collections Manager (Oct. 11, 2016)
§ Collections Assistant/Administrative Assistant (Sept. 27, 2016)
§ Collections Associate/Photographer (to start Dec. 5, 2016)
§ Preparators (two: Oct. 3, 2016 and Dec. 12, 2016)
§ Education, Museum Learning (to be filled Feb. 2017)
This success in hiring is notable, given that the University of New Mexico has instituted a hiring moratorium and is allowing only the most critical hires to go forward. Due to reductions in state funding , the UNM allocation to HMA has dropped to roughly 34 percent of the Museum budget. Despite those challenges, our efforts toward competitive staff compensation have had some good results:
§ Facilities senior tech position compensation approved (27 percent)
§ Admissions/Museum Store hourly raise approved by UNM (15 percent)
§ Competitive salary for Curator of Collections approved
In addition, the Board has designated endowments for staff positions as a fundraising priority for 2017–2018
HMA Governance: Relations and Structure
o The HMA Governing Board was established in 2005, replacing the Advisory Board as the governance body. The Advisory Board became the Advisory Council.
o The role of the current Advisory Council is being redefined to separate it clearly from the Governing Board yet allow it to continue as a means to attract future Museum stakeholders.
The Harwood Museum Alliance is the membership arm of the Museum, whose purpose is to support the Museum through fundraising events and goodwill initiatives.
o A governance challenge is to attract members that reflect the diversity of the Taos community. Last spring, the Director visited with a Taos Pueblo education leader as part of an initiative to attract Pueblo membership in the Alliance, on the Advisory Council and on the Governing Board.
These issues were addressed within the larger framework of the strategic-planning process. Critical to that process were the staff planning sessions that were also attended by Governing Board members. These sessions were part SWOT (assessing our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), part self-study, and all affirmation of the staff’s dedication to The Harwood Museum of Art. Their commitment is a testament to the Harwood as a remarkable cultural and educational resource for the Taos community and for all who experience it.
See entire Strategic Plan (33-page PDF, 583kb)