La Sala - a comfortable space to be together.
We are raising funds to complete renovation of a yoga and multi-use studio space in Questa, New Mexico. We are located in northern Taos County on the main road through Questa and north to Colorado, Highway 522.
Built in the 1950s by the Archuleta family, the building was originally a filling station. Since then it has evolved to serve residential and other commercial purposes. We acquired it in early 2018 and started substantial upgrades. Our current renovation will make it energy efficient, accessible, beautiful, and available for community uses that align with our mission.
The mission of La Sala is to support a culture of health. The space we are updating will host yoga, expressive arts, music and community-based work. The name contains the intention for our space. Across many languages, sala refers to special places.
- Living room or dance hall
- Sheltering place, sheltering sala trees
- Community space or house
Phases and Goals
- Phase I, 2018: Co-work and music studio space
- Phase II, 2019: Energy efficient Studio Space meeting ADA standards.
- Phase III, 2020: Commercial Kitchen: Phase II infrastructure will help with Phase III.
The purpose of this Kickstarter is to complete the studio space and associated facilities, i.e., Phase II.
Phase II - La Sala will be home to Yoga Sala, currently operating out of rented space at nearby art gallery and massage studio, OCHO. Yoga Sala got its start in December of 2016 and has been generously supported by the owners of OCHO, the local community, and by visitors to this rural northern New Mexico village.
Uses of La Sala
Studio Space: Completion of Phase II will provide a fully finished and usable space for yoga, expressive arts, music and community gatherings. Even during our ongoing work, we have hosted events in our future studio space: a community movie night, Day of the Dead celebration, chamber music concert, and Questa Creative Council's holiday celebration.
Outdoor Space: During Phase I and II we've worked on a backyard space, growing a garden and making room to relax and play. We'll keep improving this space and make long term plantings (trees, roses, and other perennials, plus garden food plants) and areas for meditation and reflection.
Co-work Space: Several organizations will use this space including the non-profit Localogy, specifically the collaborating projects, LEAP - Land, Experience, and Art of Place, and Questa Farmers Market. La Sala will be available for those working toward community health: musicians, dance teachers, individuals with a project that lines up with our mission, and organizations like Vida del Norte Coalition, a prevention program serving northern Taos County youth.
We updated this space (completing Phase I) last year, making a studio for two pianists and shared office space for non-profit collaborators. An old dirt roof was hauled out by bucket-load, new wiring and insulation were installed above the room's original vigas (ceiling support beams). New lights and fresh paint set the stage and we held an inaugural cello, violin, and piano concert with a full house in attendance; 20 people in our smallest room!
Commercial Kitchen: Phase III will be the main focus of 2020, and is beyond the parameters of this campaign, but many updates funded by this Kickstarter effort - the heating system, wiring, plumbing changes, general building compliance, and improvement of Phase II - will support the kitchen project. The commercial kitchen will further the mission - to support a culture of health - by making fresh, local, and healthful foods available in an inviting environment.
Who we are
Gaea McGahee purchased the property in February of 2018 with the vision that it could be renovated to serve as a space for health and connection. Originally from southern New Mexico, she moved north in 2012, and has a deep appreciation for the wild places and rural communities of northern NM. She established Questa Farmers Market, an authorized market able to participate in food benefit programs (EBT/SNAP, WIC, etc). The market's mission is to support the regeneration of the local food system, community health, and entrepreneurial endeavors after closure of the local mine. She is a yoga teacher and owner of Yoga Sala.
Ethan Jackson is a designer, builder, and visual artist. He has worked in construction and renovation for 20 years. He is overseeing and coordinating the improvements taking place at La Sala, focusing on plumbing, electrical and radiant hydronic heating systems. He coordinated the removal of the original dirt roof over the 1950s portion of the building, insulated these rooms and updated lighting. He and a crew have replaced 10 windows and two doors in the studio space, and are doing more to make this room energy efficient and improve the structure and flow.
Claire Coté is an artist, educator, gentle instigator, mother and radical homemaker. Her interdisciplinary arts practice and education work take her on local and international adventures into nature, classrooms, galleries and beyond. She is the founder of LEAP, board member of the Questa Creative Council and co-organized SEED Taos. Born and raised north of Questa, New Mexico, Claire now lives in Sunshine Valley with her husband and two daughters in their off-grid home. Her work as an artist and educator emphasizes collaboration to facilitate individual and community development.
Personal and private money has been invested in La Sala to remove an old dirt roof, install insulation, replace broken and inefficient windows, and to purchase materials for structural improvements and a new hardwood studio floor.
We are seeking an additional $30,000 through our Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of a new heating system, laying and finishing the wood floor, insulating and finishing the studio walls (interior and exterior) and ceiling, ADA accessibility upgrades, bathroom renovations, and completing necessary infrastructure with a view of future work (Phase III).
Phase II, the studio space, is the focus of our renovation and fundraising campaign. Once complete, this space will be a permanent home to Yoga Sala and will host a wide range of music and expressive arts activities. It will also serve as a community gathering place for celebrations and meetings.
Risks and challenges
La Sala is a new endeavor in a rural community with seasonal population flow. We know there are risks and challenges in any new endeavor and specific obstacles in under served communities. We have a track record of our resolve and growing successes. We have acquired our building and we bring a skilled core group to this project.
Core members are educators, artists, builders, makers, and musicians; they lead non-profit programs, install heating systems, have navigated federal and state requirements to form a local, regulated farmers market, are growing small businesses, and more. With your support we are able to overcome a major financial challenge through Kickstarter. With our individual investments and the capital from this campaign we will soon be able to invite you to a comfortable and beautiful space.
La Sala has a lot of energy behind it:
* an ideal location - easy to spot and access from the main road.
* determined partners - all involved are skilled and experienced in their areas of expertise.
* a guiding mission - based on a clear understanding of what we aim to do.
* doable phases - we're unfolding the plan in phases that we are capable of attending to, making rooms usable in wise ways as we move forward.
* long term commitment - we have purchased this building and are committed to the personal and economic health of individuals and community.
- (32 days)