Camille Silverman
Cultural Confidential Contributor

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February 24, 2012
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Art Center to open three major exhibits March 2

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Works of art by national and local artists will adorn The Art Center for a March 2 opening exhibit. A free reception is planned for 6:30 p.m. with introductions and then continues on with music and viewing from 7 to 9.

Colorado Mesa University faculty will have its first group exhibit under the institution's new name. Two galleries will house the center's permanent collection of paintings by Harold Bryant, Navajo rugs and Native American pottery, and the third exhibit showcased is the Western Colorado Watercolor Society National Juried Exhibit.

CMU Art Department faculty are all active producing artists who are committed to teaching in their field and sharing their passion in their classes. This exhibit of the full-time faculty and selected part-time faculty at CMU features paintings, printmaking, sketchbooks, drawings and ceramic artwork. The Art Center and sponsor/collectors Jan and Truus Leedertse believe the collaborative relationship between The Art Center and university is one of the most important ways to grow a vital arts community from generation to generation.

An exhibit that brings forward the artworks of past generations and their traditions is "A Collection of The West," highlighting the paintings of Harold Bryant, Navajo rugs from the Gould Collection, and Native American pottery. "The Collection of the West" is a focused survey of craftsmanship by artists working in different media and coming from vastly different backgrounds who have so well mastered their discipline that it is no wonder the works have deservedly come into a permanent collection.

Bryant loved the West. He wanted to be outside and in the constant company of horses. Bryant lived in a cabin close to Enoch Lake in Glade Park. He studied and painted in New York City as well as Chicago, where he attended The Art Institute of Chicago. When he could return to Colorado, he did and became the painter he truly wanted to be. As with most great artists, he lived what he painted. This is true of all the works in this exhibit; the works grew out of a tradition of place, and an appreciation of culture.

The Art Center holds the second largest collection of Bryant works with a count of 10 oil paintings and one India ink drawing; Texas Tech University currently holds the largest collection. Sponsors Chuck and Patti Shear will add to the exhibit with their own Bryant painting "Saying Goodbye."

Also on exhibit in "A Collection of The West" will be the clay vessel works of Maria (Poveka) Martinez and the Navajo weavings of Mae Jim and Angie Mahoney among others.

The third exhibit is the Western Colorado Watercolor Society presenting the 20th annual National Watermedia Exhibition. WCWS brings to the Western Slope the only juried national watercolor show in western Colorado. This enables viewers to see some of the top nationally known artists in the U.S.

The watercolor juror this year is Grand Junction's own Frank Francese, who juried 80 artists into the exhibition. Artists from 27 states entered the show with a total of 80 works selected. Artists accepted from this area are from Grand Junction, Palisade, Delta, Hotchkiss, Whitewater, Montrose, Ridgway, Glenwood Springs and Moab. Artists receiving Best of Show and Best Colorado Artist will each be awarded $1,000. Frank Francese will give a brief talk on art, and awards will be given out during the 6:30 introduction period.

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Camille Silverman is executive director and curator of The Art Center.


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The Post Independent Updated Feb 24, 2012 06:48PM Published Feb 24, 2012 06:26PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.