Friday, March 1, opens three signature exhibits at The Art Center which will showcase artists locally, nationally and internationally.Sixty years ago founders like Al Nestler, Conway Nolan, Verona Burkhard, Clarence Prinster and Ruth Moss painted the beauty and brutality of the terrain around them. Today, artists still grab their plein aire packs, throw on their mosquito net hats, grab their cameras or sculpt variations on plants and formations. The faster the open spaces disappear the more emphatic the need to record the spaces and our complicated relationship to them.This preoccupation with landscape has been a dominate theme throughout The Art Center's history and is the focus of "Ocean of Desert, Sea of Forest," which will be exhibited in two of the galleries starting on First Friday. Traditional to contemporary, this exhibit brings together wildly diverse artists and outcomes. Sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography and drawing are all represented in this exhibit focusing on recording the environment around us.A new focus at The Art Center has been looking at creatives in the realm of design. The inaugural "CO2: International Poster Biannual" is the creation of Colorado Mesa University student group, Mesa Emerging Designers (MED). The primary goal is to bring the world of poster design to Grand Junction. From its inception, CO2 is intended to be a biannual show, running every spring of odd-numbered years. This exhibit explores the worldwide interest in visual language through poster design.Also showing is the 21st annual Rockies West National Exhibition in the lower gallery at The Art Center. This exhibit brings together top water media artists from around the country in combination with an intensive three-day workshop with Durango artist and juror Laurel Covington-Vogl. Rockies West National is organized annually by the Western Colorado Watercolor Society. First Friday is free and open to the public. Openings are always a great opportunity to meet local and visiting artists. There will also be live music by Rosewood and Ivory, a top-notch local piano and clarinet duo.