Millicent Unplugged: A Virtual Panel Discussion Series

Millicent Unplugged will feature panel discussions on topics of cultural and art interest. Modeled after the “salons” of the past, artists and community members will join in lively, informed, honest, and homespun conversations. These live discussions will be on the Zoom platform with audience engagement through the chat feature.

The series is planned and facilitated through the MRM Education department with volunteer artist, photographer, and publisher, Sara Frances For information or to suggest a discussion topic, contact Karen Chertok, Director of Education, at

2023 Millicent Unplugged schedule:

The series is planned and facilitated through the MRM Education department with volunteer artist, photographer, and publisher, Sara Frances For information or to suggest a discussion topic, contact Karen Chertok, Director of Education, at

2023 Millicent Unplugged schedule:

Millicent Unplugged: Creative Aging: Supporting Vitality through the Arts

Thursday, February 2, 2023

6p – 7p

Please register here to join the discussion

As the museum sector gains momentum in bringing awareness, conversation, accessibility, and collaboration to the forefront of consideration in developing programs for older adults, this month’s Millicent Unplugged features the diverse voices of four program specialists in elder care and advocacy. Through community dialogue we hope to understand the unique needs of an aging population and explore the ways in which arts and culture contribute to vitality, and mitigate some of the challenges of aging.

Amber Carroll is the Senior Director of the Front Porch Connection Programs that include: Well Connected, Well Connected Español, and Social Call – virtual creative aging programs that aim to decrease loneliness and social isolation for older adults by increasing the opportunity for meaningful social connections. These programs welcome older adults as participants and/or volunteers to learn, chat, teach, and share – all from the comfort of home.  Before coming to Front Porch in 2015, Amber led the San Francisco Transitional Care Program, a CMS-demonstration project that successfully decreased hospital readmissions for Medicare recipients.  Her career in aging services began at the San Francisco Aging and Disability Resource Center which provided information, referral, and assistance to nearly 10,000 seniors and adults with disabilities each year.  Before finding a home in aging services, Amber was a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco.

Marj Becker I am a Colorado native, a wife, a parent (three daughters and two grandchildren), and an educator. I am also an artist (watercolor and book maker) and a poet.

Before and since retiring, I’ve had opportunities to volunteer at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico with Pomona Hallenbeck, the Watercolorist-in-Residence.  Working with Pomona enhanced my ability to paint, and it was there that I began to write poetry.    So, I found myself writing and painting.  I have been so pleased to also have had two other artist mentors - Marie Siano Ungemah (Littleton, Colorado) and Henry Fukuhara (California’s School of Watercolorists).  My art is considered abstract expressionism; a not-so-easy task for a watercolorist; although, realism is also available to me.

My writing, as I have said, involves poetry, as well as children’s stories and adults short stories.  I write a blog - - that is published every Wednesday.

Léonie Rosenstiel’s passion for helping people navigate the maze of the elder care system began when she watched several of her relatives become incapacitated. She has spent over 19 years researching the problems within the system in order to help herself and her clients create positive outcomes.

She is the author of Protecting Mama: Surviving the Legal Guardianship Swamp. She also created the Dayspring Empowerment Summit and the Dayspring Empowerment Course.

Léonie has a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and six master’s level degrees, in subjects ranging from pastoral counseling (The New Seminary), to Acupuncture (Tri-State College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture), to public health (Walden University). Regardless of what and where she studied, no program came close to mapping out the real-world options or explaining why family members often seemed to be shut out of their loved ones’ lives at crucial moments.

Kathleen T. Burg, Director of Artstreams: From the Well of Memory received her M.A. from Goddard College 1978. She brings her extensive background in non-profits, program development, advocacy and cross-pollination to her work for an underserved segment of the aging Taos community. She developed Artstreams: From the Well of Memory as an innovative program for family caregivers, usually seniors themselves, of those with memory impairment that offers an immersion in art and creativity not only for them but also for their loved one. In collaboration with Taos’ museums, the power of art collections is used as a tool to engage minds damaged by dementia in ways that are both meaningful and educational.

As Director of the Taos Jewish Center’s Chesed Program for Taos County Seniors, Kathleen co-developed Apoyos Para LosCuidadores, a 2008 recipient of the national Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s disease Caregiving Legacy Award, Diverse/Multicultural Communities.

Kathleen has written over two dozen published articles on aging. See

Millicent Unplugged: Community Wellness: Outreach and Resources

Thursday, January 5

Click here to enjoy the recorded session.

 Community wellness is everybody’s business. How do we care for each other during challenging circumstances and what are some of the ways we measure community wellness? It begins with dialogue. Museums are places where dialogue can foster community wellness through arts and culture. Museums can expand the use of resources and public spaces to engage in community- wide efforts that support vitality. We can seek intersections of outreach with other nonprofit organizations to strengthen community responsiveness. Join us for this first museum conversation with guests from impactful organizations concerned with community wellness.

Siena Sanderson is the director of the Taos Behavioral Health Nurturing Centers located at the Enos Garcia, Ranchos and Peñasco Elementary Schools.  The NC's were created to support students' social and emotional well-being and to provide family navigation services for parents including support for relatives who have taken on kinship of children.  Siena has been providing support for parents and students for nearly 25 years in Taos and continues to be inspired by children every day.

Gina M. Cordova, MSW/CPSW is the case manager for Taos Let Everyone Advance with Dignity (L.E.A.D.). Gina has a master's degree in Social Work and is a Certified Peer Support Worker. Her background includes working with at-risk youth and individuals with substance use disorders.  Gina is passionate about supporting the Taos community.

Juliana directs the northern Health Extension Rural Office (HERO) of the University of New Mexico-Health Sciences Center, where she is faculty in Family & Community Medicine. Dually-trained in community development and public health education, she’s worked across prevention, health promotion, disease management, and quality improvement for nearly 40 years in diverse settings – as a direct service provider, health professions trainer, program developer, and in leadership roles. Through her work she aims to advance health and health equity by building local health capacity and infrastructure, improving primary care, addressing community-identified health priorities, and strengthening the health professions pipeline. 

Whitney Lake, LCSW, SPT, Psychotherapist, is the Clinical Coordinator and a psychotherapist at Community Against Violence. In my practice I’m committed to compassionately walking with adults, adolescents, children and families in creating a path to healing.  Whitney's work focuses on trauma informed and client centered approaches through relational approaches, somatic therapies, mindfulness, play therapy, movement, art, EMDR, TF-CBT, Sand Tray Therapy, and is heavily influenced by Neurobiology and Nervous system integration. "I believe healing is a deeply personal experience and trust in the client’s own
wisdom and fostering empowerment."

2022 Archives:


Millicent Unplugged: Liquid Celebrations: Holiday Food + Wine Pairings

Virtual Program Thursday, December 1st, 6pm-7pm

View the recorded session here:

Join us as we embark on a conversation of seasonal food and wine pairings envisioned by our   guest experts on grape and grain in New Mexico. Festive ideas for any holiday table are sure to emerge through this dialogue with Advanced Sommeliers, Michele and Jesse Padberg, co-owners with Jesse’s brother and his wife of Vivác Winery in Dixon, New Mexico, and Chef John Vollertsen, known as Chef Johnny Vee, Santa Fe's premier private chef and consultant on the development of Taos Cooking School.


Vivác (pronounced Vee Vok), a mountaineering word meaning “high altitude refuge”, is seated at 6,000 ft. making it one of the highest altitude wineries in the world. Their old world style wines showcase the elegance of high altitude & cool climate farming. Jesse & Michele are 2 of the 4 owners with us today. Jesse and his brother are the winemakers, Michele and her sister-in-law Liliana run the business side. Both families are raising their families in Dixon, where the winemakers grew up. Michele is also an International Wine Competition Judge, Wine Writer and educator. Jesse has been the NM Wine Association President for the past 3 years, stepping down this past year in order to travel extensively with their family. Both are certified Advanced Sommeliers.

John Vollertsen (aka Chef Johnny Vee) is the director of the Las Cosas Cooking School and freelance food writer for New Mexico Magazine and the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is also a "Super Chef" working with "Cooking with Kids" in local schools where he mentors young chefs as he shares his knowledge and love of the wonderful world of food.

 Texts of History: Diaries, Reports, Oral Histories, Outfits + Objects

Join us for an informal conversation with historians as we discuss the various ways in which historical narratives are preserved, presented, interpreted, communicated, and questioned. From the written word to oral histories, from anecdotal accounts to public reenactments and historical fiction, history held and shared in many forms presents us with challenges as we search for thoughtful authenticity.
Robert Kidera is a retired teacher and award-winning author of several books including The Gabe McKenna mystery series which began with Red Gold in 2015 and culminates with A Long Time to Die in 2021. Robert is a member of  Southwest Writers and makes his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Robert's books can be found on his publishing company's website: 
Dianne Layden is a semi-retired college professor and writer in Albuquerque. She came to New Mexico in 1969 to complete a doctorate in American Studies at the University of New Mexico. She has taught at the University of Houston and University of Redlands in Southern California, among other institutions. Research interests include New Mexico history and culture, public violence, and social justice. Writing achievements include a first-place award in 2018 from the National Federation of Press Women. In 2021, Dr. Layden was selected by the New Mexico Humanities Council to portray Ruth Bader Ginsburg in its Chautauqua program.

John Steinle, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, received a Master’s Degree in Museum and Archival Management from Wright State University. Steinle worked as a Curator and Archivist at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Historical Society.  He then served as Director at several Ohio museums before emigrating to Colorado in 1992.  In 1994, Steinle became the Administrator of the Hiwan Homestead Museum in Evergreen, Colorado, working for Jefferson County Open Space. He was later promoted to History Education Supervisor and Region Supervisor for the Bear Creek Region. He retired in 2016. 

Millicent Unplugged: Taos Pueblo: International Ambassadors of Dance + Drum

October 6, 2022
Taking the beauty and spirit of dance and drum abroad is an act of courage, skill, and deep friendship.  Join us for an informal conversation featuring three Taos Pueblo members who will share their experiences of international travel from Italy to Japan and places in between. 
Below is the recorded discussion.:
Sonny Spruce is renowned for his beautifully crafted jewelry. His signature style of heirloom quality bracelets are treasured artworks for the wearer, steeped in Sonny's knowledge and skill as a silversmith. Sonny is the owner and operator of Sonny Spruce Indian Shop at Taos Pueblo. His work can also be found at 
CornBringer Kathleen Michaels has worked in the artworld as both beadwork / jewelry artist and gallerist. She has traveled worldwide with her family of dancers. The Millicent Rogers Museum is honored to have CornBringer on staff  in her role as business manager. 
Benito Concha has been sharing the lessons of singing, drum, and dance for nearly his whole life. As one of Taos News' Unsung Heroes in 2021, Benito shared his philosophy of peaceful intentions in every endeavor. His video can be viewed here.

Painters with Grit: The Art of Soft Pastels


If you would like to view the recorded discussion, please check it out here.

This month Millicent Unplugged connects with three prolific and honored artists from the current MRM exhibition of New Mexico Pastel Society artists participating in the Society's 30th National Pastel Painting Exhibition. Join Millicent Unplugged for a vibrant conversation featuring artists in dialogue about the art, the materials, the challenges, the inspiration, and the timeless appeal of pastel painting.


Marilyn Drake "Among the many reasons I moved from New York City to New Mexico was the dramatic landscape --- the vistas, the light, the unusual geologic formations and native plants. That fascination awakened my desire to be a fine artist, after years spent operating my own graphic design business. Eventually my earlier figurative training prompted me to begin painting figures and portraits. Now, concentrating on painting people and places, I strive to capture a likeness, evoke a mood, and create visual harmony." --Marilyn Drake

Nicholas Tesluk Having been involved in some art form his entire life, including music, drawing, and performance arts, Nicholas began fine art painting in the late 1970's, and was active in exhibitions for the next several years. He moved from oils to pastels exclusively in the 1990's. Nicholas is in his ninth year serving as the Pastel Society of New Mexico's National Show Chair. His body of work includes botanical, still-life, and sunset paintings. He has recently been inspired to include figure painting as part of his oeuvre of pastel artworks. --Nicholas Tesluk 

Paul Murray "I’ve been making my living as an artist since I was 19 years old. First as a commercial artist and illustrator and then owning Murray’s Design, my graphic design business in Albuquerque for over 35 years. I transitioned into fine art in the mid-90s. In that time I’ve won several international awards including two Best-of-Show awards. I currently live in La Cienega, NM, with my wife and our cats.

If I could say one thing about being an artist, it would be that I’m most interested in learning how to become better at what I do. Since the creative process is infinite in nature, I’ll be able to work at improving my skills for the rest of my career." –Paul Murray

Millicent Unplugged: New Mexico’s Starry Nights: Science, Spirit, & Space Flight

August 4, 2022  enjoy the recorded discussion here:

New Mexico is a hub of interest and intersecting perspectives on the beauty of the universe as seen through many lenses. Join us in conversation as we embark on a journey of inspiration and aesthetics, science, and wonder. Note: The Millicent Unplugged photo features artist Wilson Crawford’s Regulus metal sculpture designed by Millicent as part of her Running Star series. (Photo by Sara Frances).

Joyce Guzik has been a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 35 years. She earned a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Iowa State University in 1988. In addition to research in support of Los Alamos’s national security mission, she has continued astrophysics research, modeling the interior and oscillations of the Sun and many other types of pulsating variable stars. Since 2009 Joyce has focused on analysis of photometric data from the NASA Kepler and TESS spacecraft. She occasionally gives lectures about her research for the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) in Los Alamos, and currently is vice-president of the Pajarito Astronomers amateur club.

Michael Alberts is a passionate explorer and researcher contemplating human spirituality and its relation to the Cosmos. He is a long-time student of Vedic and Western astrology, Vibrational Radiesthesia,, and BioGeometry [forms of energy medicine], with a focus on the ancient mysteries of Egypt.  Michael is president of the Sangre de Cristo Anthroposophical Group, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the path of knowledge guiding the spiritual in the Human Being to the spiritual in the Universe. Residing in Albuquerque since 2001, he works in the health care information technology field.

Loretta Hall is the author of six nonfiction books about human space exploration. She especially enjoys highlighting New Mexico’s valuable contributions to getting astronauts to the moon and supporting the development of the commercial space industry. She also has a particular interest in the history of women in aeronautics. Loretta’s most recent books are adult and children’s versions of the life story of Wally Funk, a Taos native who holds the record as the oldest woman to travel to space. Loretta is a Space Ambassador for the National Space Society, a board member of New Mexico Press Women, and recipient of the National Federation of Press Women’s Communicator of Achievement Award. Having lived in Albuquerque for forty-five years, she considers herself an “honorary native New Mexican.”

Rings on Your Fingers: Jewelry Rare and Regional


July 7, 2022 enjoy the recording here:

Joe and LeJeune Chavez are award-winning jewelers who blend traditional Pueblo practices with inspiration from their Indigenous connections into their contemporary designs. The couple have a deep commitment to visual impact, design, and structure, carefully designing and creating wearable pieces of art that are described by customers as truly one-of-a-kind. Joe and LeJeune Chavez attend several juried art markets like the Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum, Santo Domingo Pueblo art show and also sell their jewelry at the Palace of Governors Museum in Santa Fe.

Lyle and Islin Wright are father and son silversmiths from Taos Pueblo. Lyle’s art practices are passed from father to son through apprenticeship and a shared passion for the materials and the land unique to Southwest jewelry design. In addition to apprenticing with his father, Islin is also an accomplished sales associate at the MRM store where he shares his knowledge of the stones, the structures, and the designs of Indigenous artists, past and present. View Lyle’s video profile here:

David Anderson has deep connections to the Taos community and the Millicent Rogers Museum. David is the grandson of the Anderson’s who donated their house to the MRM in 1968. In his own words, David shares that, “the traditions and history of Taos and other cultures are expressed in my designs. Many of my fabrication techniques are based on Old World traditions, yet I also embrace modern technology. I make many of my own tools and alter existing tools to make them work better. I am fascinated by the vast array of techniques involved in making art jewelry.”


Millicent Unplugged: From the Ground up: Seeds to Solar Ovens

June 2, 2022, 6-7PM 

What better time than early June to have a discussion on southwestern, high desert, organic gardening and cooking. Each of our guests brings a perspective of earth stewardship grounded in the common desire to seek sustainable practices and share them. Master gardening, cookbooks, seeds, succulents and more! Join us for what is sure to be an informative and expansive conversation.

Panelist Bios

Linda Engel’s first cookbook, Garden to Table Cooking, won first place in the Colorado Independent Publisher’s 2021 EVVY™ Award in the entertaining/cookbook category. She lives and gardens in the front range of Colorado where her love for organic gardening inspires her recipes and cooking. Before retiring, Linda enjoyed a successful career in international sales and then technical and marketing writing. Visit her website to learn more and to sign up for her newsletter.

Rose Marie Kern is known around the world as a Solar Chef, an organic Master Gardener, and an expert on garden microclimatology. Recently she was interviewed by Luther Kreuger, head of the Big Blue Museum of Solar Cooking and her classes on creating microclimates for high desert gardening are an educational staple for the Master Gardener Programs in New Mexico. The International Sun Oven Corporation has sent copies of her cookbook "The Solar Chef" along with their sun ovens to 4 continents.

Rose is on the board of directors for SouthWest Writers and a lifetime member of the New Mexico Solar Energy Association. She has given classes on solar cooking for the University of New Mexico, the Bernalillo County Extension offices and dozens of local groups focused on sustainable living.

You can learn more about Rose Marie on her website:

These books by Rose Marie Kern are available on Amazon:

The Solar Chef
Creating Microclimates for High Desert Gardening
Stress is Relative: Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller
Air to Ground: A Guide to the World of Air Traffic Control

Bob Pennington and his wife, Jen, are owners of Agua Fria Nursery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This organic nursery and garden center came to fruition in 1975, and has been a thriving part of the Santa Fe landscape ever since. With a growing understanding that the nursery and garden industry was laden with toxic chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, Bob and Jen set out with a mission to “Save Planet Earth, one organic garden at a time.” From aphids to zinnias, Bob’s 40+ years of organic gardening experience is a treasure to encounter. More information can be found at



Millicent Unplugged: Passion for Fashion: Diné Couture Design

Join Karen and Sara for a conversation with Navajo (Diné) fashion designers Penny Singer, and Felix Earle, owner and creative director of Earle Couture. This conversation will explore inspiration and process as we look at the world of fashion through a lens of land and identity expression. Designs, materials and practices found in the wearable works of these artists bring alive the voice of the Southwest, Diné style.

Enjoy the recorded virtual discussion here!


Millicent Unplugged: Stewardship of the Land: Preserve, Protect, and Enjoy

Join Karen and Sara in welcoming guest panelists Erik Stensland, nature photographer and CEO of Nature First: The Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography; Glory Penington, artist and activist; and Karl Sommers, Santa Fe based land and real estate attorney for an informal conversation on land stewardship. A big topic to be sure, and one which merits creating spaces and opportunities, such as this, for unlikely voices to join together in consideration of nature. The environmental issues we face as a planet today, require a multitude of perspectives to engender responsibility and caring for the land we call home. Unfolding, unofficial, unafraid conversations…a trifecta of community building. We hope you’ll join us!

Enjoy the recorded discussion here!


Angelisa Murray is the Founder and CEO of Heritage Inspirations. She spent over twenty years of her life as an active travel guide for a variety of premiere adventure companies exploring and wandering all over the world, and yet no matter where she went, New Mexico always called to her. She explains, “This is my home and after spending years excavating and learning from this wild place of heritage, culture and natural wonder, there is no greater inspiration to me than to share it.” Angelisa focused on developing tours that are about unveiling the other truths that are often not known or seen. Heritage Inspirations is a culmination of my travel exploration while working as a guide in different environments and elements. It is also a celebration of my connection to New Mexico through my heritage, just north of Taos the surname Espinoza, my maiden name’s lineage, can be tracked from southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley and extends throughout northern New Mexico. In Taos, there is an intersection with the cross streets, Espinoza and Maestas, which are my grandparents surnames. This is a constant reminder how blessed I am to share in this culturally rich land through part of my family’s ancestry.

Ilona Spruce is the Director of Tourism for Taos Pueblo. Being in this position brings much responsibility as a representative of the community to the external world. A member of the Taos Pueblo tribe and community, the world of tourism is a fine balance between educating visitors and protecting her home. She has been with Taos Pueblo Tourism for 10 years and holds her BA in Indigenous Liberal studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Carolyn Schneider grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from New York University. After working in art galleries for some time, she fell in love with hospitality and started at the ground level in restaurant and event management at Ace Hotel in New York.  From there, she joined the team at Vikram Chatwal Collection (management company of Dream Hotels), leading Sales and Marketing for their properties in Times Square. When Ace Hotel Group opened in Downtown Los Angeles, they recruited Carolyn to move back to the West Coast to join the pre-opening team, where she built accounts from the ground up in a culturally emerging area of Los Angeles. Proper Hospitality, created by the owners of the Viceroy brand, then recruited her as Director of Sales and Marketing for their luxury high rise, designed by Kelly Wearstler in the heart of Hollywood. Next, excited to work with a historic building again, Carolyn jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with Sydell Group to open The NoMad Hotel Los Angeles, formerly the bank of Italy built in the 1920’s, where she served as Director of Guest Experience. In addition, Carolyn co-founded a consulting company, where she helped emerging hospitality companies build their brand, and developed comprehensive service training programs for employees. Carolyn co-founded Casetta Group with a passion for hospitality, management and service, and a specific interest in revitalizing small boutique properties. In addition, she serves as a Board Member of the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association.  

Enjoy the conversation here.



The West is Our Muse: A Literary Conversation


This live panel discussion features a literary conversation with MRM guest panelists and award winning authors J Michael Orenduff, The Pot Thief mysteries ; Corinne Joy Brown, Hidden Star, Come and Get It!; and Randy McNair, #BarPoets series. Join Karen and Sara as they welcome MRM guests in a conversation about regional inspiration in the writing of the West.

Please enjoy the recorded discussion here.



Millicent Unplugged: HANDLE with CARE: Stewardship of Indigenous Art in Your Home

Please view the recorded discussion here.




Indigenous Foodways

Friend and caterer to the museum, Chef Karin Snowflower, of Taos Pueblo, and Jicarilla Apache potter, Shelden Nuñez-Velarde will join Karen and Sara to embark on a discussion of the fusion of art, earth, food, and culture. Chef Karin specializes in a fusion of French pastries with traditional native ingredients and prepares such stellar offerings as bison empañadas and squash cheesecake with chokecherry sauce. Shelden draws on the legacy of his ancestors to bring forth a merging of function and beauty in creating traditional micaceous bean pots and other vessels intended to infuse the culinary experience with a deep sense of Southwest history.

Check out the recorded discussion here.


Dias de Los Muertos " Day of the Dead"

Sugar Saints, Sweets and Marigolds

October 7, 2021


 Homage to Jim Wagner: Hippie Cool to Hip Waders

Friends of the late Jim Wagner, beloved and legendary Taos artist (1940-2021), will join in this discussion to share memories, reminiscences, laughter and a fishing story or two. Join Karen and Sara as the MRM welcomes acclaimed adventure writer, Peter Heller, and gallery owners Max Jones and Tony Walker. Recorded link below.

View the Unplugged  Homage to Jim Wagner here.