Bishop Emeritus Arthur Tafoya was not only an avid collector of Santos, the images of saints created in New Mexico and southern Colorado, but after his retirement became a student and artist himself. In 2011, the Bishop gifted the majority of his impressive collection to the Arts Center to compliment and augment our Ruth Gast Collection of Santos. His donation more than tripled the Arts Center’s Santos collection. The Bishop’s donation includes excellent examples of both historic and contemporary bultos, retablos, crucifixes, and nativities. When the Bishop retired, he began working with noted Santeros, including Maria Romero Cash to learn to create these unique artworks. He became a Santero. This exhibit highlights his generous donation to the Arts Center and features some of his own creations.
Bishop Tafoya was appointed the third Bishop of Pueblo, Colorado, by Pope John Paul II on July 1, 1980. He retired in 2009 and passed away in Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 24th of this year.