New Glenwood Springs gallery weaves together art and community | PostIndependent.com

New Glenwood Springs gallery weaves together art and community

Sharill Hawkins
Special to the Post Independent

For this month's Friday Night Out in Glenwood Springs from 5-8 p.m. tonight, Art on 8th: Gallery of Fine Craft and Weaving Studio will celebrate its grand opening and become part of the art community in downtown.

Mountain Valley Developmental Services — a nonprofit organization providing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities — originally started offering weaving in the mid-1980s at the suggestion of Erica Murray, who was a well-known Aspen weaver. Following Erica's death, her family endowed Mountain Valley with funding to expand the weaving program. For the first few years products were sold through local craft fairs. The organization soon recognized the value of the weavers becoming involved with the community and receiving recognition for their talents from the general public.

In 1995, the Mountain Valley board of directors decided to provide the weavers with a studio in downtown Glenwood Springs. The new building would enhance downtown as well as provide a pleasant site for the weavers to produce their work and interact with their customers.

Mountain Valley has always seen the project as providing a unique opportunity for the human services and the arts communities to cooperate for their mutual benefit. Now, with the opening of Art on 8th, the program has evolved, and the retail space will be devoted to fine woven products but also as a venue for regional artists to display and market their work.

The gallery will highlight the creativity of artists from the Roaring Fork Valley and the West. Jewelry, pottery, glass, fiber, wood, mosaics, baskets, mixed media and wearables will be exhibited.

Merry Cox, a "maker of objects" from Salida, is one of the new artists who will be represented. Merry has combined her skills as a studio potter with the use of discarded items to create her mixed media pieces. Merry's pieces evoke smiles. "The use of the discarded and found items lends itself to a good story," she said.

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Other artists exhibiting during the grand opening include Deb Stewart, Annie Brooks, Sharill Hawkins, Michelle Zinanti, Lynn and Mary Shoger, Sharon Schaffner, Melissa DeHaan, Karen Alldredge, Maggie Beyeler and the Mountain Valley weavers.

The Mountain Valley weaving craftsmen and staff Nan Walter, Jeanette Mittenzwei, Cindy Warkentin, Deb Martin and art manager Melissa DeHaan invite the public to attend the grand opening of the gallery from 5-8 p.m. tonight. Refreshments will be provided by Johnny McGuire's Deli. Art on 8th is located at 209 Eighth St., just west of Grand Avenue.

Fine craft artists interested in showing their work at the Art on 8th gallery may email art manager Melissa DeHaan at msd.dehaan@gmail.com or go to http://www.mtnvalley.org/art.aspx to download an application.