To me, visiting art galleries is like going to a museum with incredibly varied collections mostly by contemporary working artists. Unlike a museum, however, you go outside between “rooms” — and of course, you can touch many of the works and buy any of them. How fortunate that the North American SnowSports Journalists Association ‘s annual meeting at Crested Butte coincided with town’s Art Walk Evening. It is held on the last Thursday of every month except for April, May, October and November. Sponsored by Artists of the West Elks, it provides visitors an opportunity to stroll through picturesque downtown Crested Butte, meet gallery owners and artists, sip some wine and nibble on the appetizers that individual galleries put out.
The Paragon Gallery, a local coop, features the works of 14 member artists and two local guest artists. The varied media include polished stone jewelry by Jeff Klein, traditional Scandinavian rosemaling by Jane Berglund and ceramics, earthenware, raku and other pottery by Steve Belz. Paragon also sells endearing original notecards by local schoolchildren. Proceeds from sales buy art supplies for area schools — not just little things like paper, watercolors, clay and chalk, but major equipment like a kiln and a photography darkroom.
The Rijks Family Gallery shows more than a dozen artists’ work, including Dawn Cohen’s powerful watercolors both of the mountains and of the harbor of Savanah, GA, where she once lived; scenic and action photographs by Nathan Bilow, functional and decorative pottery by Macy Dorf, and the ornate, spiritual and multicultural-inspired pottery by Donna Rozman.
The Lucille Lucas Gallery and Old Print Center specializes in graphic arts. The owner’s father was the first American publisher of Salvador Dali’s lithographs, and she carries some examples of the Spanish painter’s work. Local photographers Xavier Fane and Sandra Cortner’s were on hand for the March Art Walk Evening. Fane’s photograph of the start of the annual Alley Loop Cross-Country Marahon race on snow-covered Elk Avenue should hang on every Nordic enthusiast’s wall. Cortner’s sensitive black-and-white images of Crested Butte depict both town and surroundings. The gallery also features a fine assortment of original and reproduction posters.
Area artists recently lost one of their own with the passing of photographer Gary Lee Wolf on March 17, and this evening was, in a sense, in his memory. I bought just one lovely pottery bowl, a colleague from Washington, DC, picked up a poster for her beach house, and a Denver friend ordered a vintage ski poster reproduction in a size suitable for her space.