Art Scene: A Small Beginning |

Art Scene: A Small Beginning

Christina Brusig
Staff Photo |

Charlie was just 2 years old when he made his professional debut as a singer on the Haden Family radio show in Shenandoah, Iowa.

As music essayist Malcolm Jones said about this legendary bass player, “He began his career with Ornette Coleman’s rambunctious jazz quartets and then spent his life expanding our idea of American music.

The case can be made that Charlie Haden was the ultimate American musician. Certainly few musicians so effortlessly spanned so many different styles and genres.

This was music without a road map, but if you listened to what Haden was doing, you never got lost. He always took you home.

Vincent Van Gogh took the Impressionist Movement to the next step when he filtered the beauty and drama of the natural world and the human experience through the complexities of his emotional palette of color and breathtaking concepts.

He believed a good painter started with drawing and his small but complex early renderings would take us to a ‘starry, starry night’ and there was no going back.

Martha Graham would change the course of the river by casting a small pebble into the prevailing stream of tradition dance.

The daughter of a physician who treated nervous disorders by diagnosing through the study of physical movements raised Martha’s awareness of the complexities of the body and the physical expression of emotion.

She said, “I wanted to begin not with characters or ideas, but with movements. … I wanted significant movement. I did not want it to be beautiful or fluid. I wanted it to be fraught with inner meaning, with excitement and surge.” And so she did for over 70 years and 180 original choreographies.

Like Picasso’s painting, Stravinsky’s music and Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, Graham’s dance is still informing our lives.

Revolutionary game changers that began small were certainly not confined to the arts, and I could spin yarns about the tiny LEGO brick that surfaced in 1932 or the microchip in 1952, but I want to bring this home to the Art Center.

In 1985, four artists wanted to formalize the artistic ideals and enrich the lives of everyone in the community.

They brokered their idea for a designated center for the arts with the city government and the empty former hydroelectric plant became the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts producing a new kind of power and light. Small classes and exhibits grew to hundreds of opportunities to create art and enliven the emotion center of our town.

The best example of growing from a small seed happened last weekend in Denver at the 2016 Showbiz National Dance Competition where they bestowed top honors to our competitive dancers who began studying here when they were the “littles.” Here’s how it played out:

Megan Quinn, Skylar McLaren, Olivia Arnhold, Cheyenne Stoner, Cadie Harrison, Bailey Barnum and Sophie Carnoali performed 12 original dances and took home top honors with 10 High Gold and 2 Platinum awards. Bailey Barnum was lst Runner Up for the dance with the highest level of stage presence and overall technical quality. Our dancers accomplished this difficult feat against a field of 600 performances performed by 300 dancers. Brava!

6 x 6

When words like “cut backs” and “financial redistribution” enter the nonprofit world from government funding and other financial support opportunities, we double our efforts to find ways to replace shortages and keep the quality and quantity of our offerings at their peak best.

Tonight’s launch of the 2016 6×6 Exhibit is a great example of our best fundraising efforts and your opportunity to support a very good thing. This community art exhibit has the most submissions we have had since we began three years ago and the talent and artistic variety is out of this world.

Be here at 6 p.m. tonight and take home a one-of-a-kind masterpiece for just $20 and no tax. Your friends and neighbors will be here, so don’t miss the fun.

But wait. There’s a bonus. Purchase an Individual Membership/$30 or a Family Membership/$45 tonight and take your pick from two original Noemi Kosmowski prints. This is an easy way to support the arts, and it’s a peach of a deal.

So, I’ll see you tonight but first, take a moment and see what became of little Charlie Haden.

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

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User