Art Scene |

Art Scene

Christina Brusig
Staff Photo |

The Visual Choreographer

When you meet Steve Vanderleest, you’re in for a new experience. Steve is composing a picture in his photographer’s mind. It has become an unconscious habit, the product of the left-brain engineer and the right-brain artist. You are part of the context, the composition, the history of the moment.

Steve, currently on the board of directors at the Frontier Historical Society, brought a piece of Colorado history to life. He took John Schutte’s 1949 photo of the Christmas tree at 9th and Grand and, working with Boston based photo color expert Dana Keller, created a wonderfully imagined version of the original piece. “We made the photo into a dusk scene, which allowed us to add some lights to the tree and decorations, as well as light up some of the neon signs along Grand Avenue creating a new artistic vision.” This particular work is the purest example of the collaboration of talent and point of view.

Steve’s philosophy, and that of any true community supporter, is to pay it forward. And like everyone involved in the artistic life of our town, he knows that it is vital to honor and preserve our history, learn from it and inform our present and future decision with that knowledge.

Every day, the staff and students at the Art Center live that kind of exploring life. Students discover and put in the hard work to develop talents that will serve them no matter their future path, each as individual as their fingerprints. The gifted staff leads the way and pays the kind of attention a master gardener gives to the seed so it can grow where it is planted.

Like Steve’s work-in-progress “Then and Now” a series of photos of the area – inspired by John Fielder’s Colorado 1870 – 2000 book, we keep the linkage strong between the past successes of the Center and built on the components of those designs to pay it forward in emerging talent, educational outreach programs, community events and gallery exhibits.

Winterfest 2015

When you come by the Center for the Arts to see Steve’s marvelous visual choreography in “Christmas Tree on Grand 1949”, you are stepping into the living history of our 128 year old building that was the original provider of power and light to the valley. We still provide the power and light you’ll enjoy in some of the most beautiful paintings, jewelry and glass works we have had in the 26 years we have presented this holiday gift gala. It’s all about the art.

Look for the work of Steve Vanderleest in Headwaters magazine, the Grand Junction Sentinel, the City of Glenwood Springs’ website, and the Glenwood Chamber of Commerce Visitors Guide. He is a partner at the local artists’ collective art gallery, Cooper Corner Gallery and has had his work displayed downtown at Alpine Bank, Treadz, Bluebird Café, River Blend Coffee House, City Hall, Corey Johnson Dental, and Barnes and Noble in Grand Junction. Visit Steve’s world at

Paying It Forward

This is the centerpiece of our core values. We know that what we accomplished yesterday informs the results today. You have always been an important part of that and you continue to do so with your end of the year tax deductible gift.

From $500 to $5000, you will provide a scholarship for a semester for a child in need, support our general operating expenses, and allow us to maintain our quality programming. You will help us to sustain our collaborative partnerships, undergo building improvements and continue to

market to under-served populations. You will help us reach our sustainable financial goals, like setting up our first ever donor database and supporting our development and grant-writing processes. You will help us grow and improve internal processes as well as expand the number of cultural events and art experiences we can offer our community.

Any amount you choose will make all of the difference – one child, one event, one exhibit, one initiative at a time.

Thank you for being part of the history we make everyday!

Christina Brusig is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. She can be reached at

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