Art helps us thrive — but artists need your support |

Art helps us thrive — but artists need your support

If you go

Wild West Photography

Through June Jeannie Jay Martin’s passion for the outdoors shows. See her images of wild horses and Colorado landscapes.

Artist Mercantile and Gallery, 720 Cooper St., Glenwood Springs | Free | 947-0947 |

Art, I believe, has been part of the essence of humans since the days when cavemen or women scratched images on the walls of dark, dusty caves. Do you remember the delight of creating art as a child? Or perhaps you remember your child or grandchild running up to you excited about a stick drawing they made or a little monster sculpture they created out of Play-Doh?

How did you react? Did you judge it to be inferior art, or were you supportive?

As an artist, I too need that support from my friends and community. It takes an enormous amount of work and vulnerability to be an artist, whether in the visual arts or the performing arts. We bare our souls and inner emotions to create our work.

I recently had an art opening in Glenwood Springs. I had waited several months for my turn to display my work. My excitement and anticipation heightened in the weeks before the show. I carefully chose from my many photos in an effort to display those I thought local residents would like.

In itself, photography can be time consuming and even dangerous. There is a lot to learn in the art itself: lighting, settings on the camera, types of lens to use, filters and even the weather.

Once I selected the images I would display, I had to make several trips to Grand Junction to get them enlarged and framed. Framing is one of the biggest expenses in photography. There are several components to framing: the wood used, the glass used and the matting. These affect the price for the artwork.

Two weeks before the show, I made flyers and walked the streets, talking to shop owners and inviting them to come by. I bought some Facebook ads and tweeted about my upcoming show. The next week I designed special invitations and sent them to some of the prominent folks in Glenwood Springs, some of whom were part of the Art Council. I even sent a few to local artists, confident thinking they would be supportive in my work. Like minds, I thought.

I prepared appetizers and drinks the morning of my reception. I packed up my framed artwork and headed into town. I was so excited. I felt my show was great. I had done all the legwork.

None of the people I invited showed up.

I was disappointed and rather sad. I took it personally, because it was personal. I wanted to show my work off. I wanted to share my joy in the photos I created.

Artists need us. We need them. We are sharing and baring our souls, for you, for the community.

Art is a beautiful way of communicating. Visual artists express themselves through their paintings, their sculptures and their photography. Performing artists need us as their audience, to feel what they feel, to understand and to laugh or cry with them. Art can enrich and unite a community. Art is essential, for we are art.

I hope the next time you hear of an art show or a performance you’ll stop by. You may be surprised. You may enjoy it.

I know the artist certainly will be glad you did.

Jeannie Jay Martin is a Rifle-based photographer.

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