Everything is unique at Gallery 809
Post Independent Arts Writer
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – They’re your neighbors, your co-worker, maybe your child’s former teacher. He may be your financial advisor. She may be your Realtor. Some are retired, and some make their living practicing their art full-time.
All of them live nearby, and all of them have a gift, whether it be with a paintbrush, a potter’s wheel, a sewing machine or knitting needles.
You know them, but you might not know what they can do artistically – until you step into their gallery on the 800 block of Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs. They’re the artists and artisans of Gallery 809.
On a day like today – Black Friday – a day that’s all about beating the crowds and scoring deals at big-box retailers, Gallery 809 is the antithesis of corporate shopping.
At the gallery, the pace is unhurried, and each piece of work is unique. Prices range from $15 for a pair of handcrafted earrings up to $1,800 for an intricate fused glass piece.
“Our work is all so different,” said Cynthia Thomas, one of the founders of the gallery, looking around the room at the muted representational paintings on one wall, and the splashy, colorful work on another.
“Something like Mount Sopris, it’s all how we interpret it. It’s all different. And it all works.”
Thomas said the gallery started in March 2010 after the building’s owners – Jim Mason and Mark Iddings – approached her about running a cooperative art gallery.
“They knew me through the Glenwood Springs Art Guild,” said Thomas, of her longtime association with the organization. “Jim and Mark are great landlords. They’re so supportive of us.”
“Us” are the 28 artists who not only own but operate the gallery (see box).
“We’re from Vail to Grand Junction, though the majority of us are from Silt to Glenwood,” said Thomas.
Here, everything is handled in an egalitarian way. All the artists are chosen to be part of the gallery, and pay an initiation fee. Each artist commits to two days a month to work at the gallery, and to help handle some aspect of running the business, be it office work, financial paperwork, or arranging displays. In addition, each artist also pays a monthly fee to have their work shown at the gallery.
“Everybody works here,” Thomas said. “There are no paid positions. We work together so well.”
The stories of how these talented locals became part of an artist’s cooperative are as varied as the artists themselves. Staci Dickerson was running a video store in Carbondale when the bottom dropped out of the video market.
“She took an art class, and now look!” Thomas said, pointing to Dickerson’s vibrant paintings.
Carol Murphy makes a living as a full-time artist, as has Thomas. And Arlene Law, well known through her association with the Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival, is truly one of the grand dames of Glenwood’s artistic community.
Sally Melia calls her bags made out of, among other things, horse feed sacks, “reconstructed.” And Roberta McGowan, the newest member of the co-op, carries the equine theme forward, with her horse- and western-inspired fine art photography.
The gallery’s more than two dozen artists will be on hand on Dec. 3, when they’ll host a holiday open house for the public that is sure to be a welcoming way to check out what’s new and available.
“We have so much fun,” said Thomas of the gallery’s members. “Most of us have known each other for at least 20 years. It’s great for us to be around other artists.”
Gallery 809 is at 809 Grand Ave., in Glenwood Springs, and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The gallery is also open until 8 p.m. every second Friday of the month for the Tour d’Art event in Glenwood Springs.
Karen Alldredge, Glenwood Springs – hand woven baskets
Laurel Astor, Glenwood Springs – pastel, watercolor, oil painting and other fine art media
Rande Price Brewer, Glenwood Springs – acrylic painting
Annie Brooks, Glenwood Springs – hand-thrown pottery, slumped glass
Heather Davis, Vail – oil painting
Judy Davis, Glenwood Springs
Lynne DeNio, New Castle
Staci Dickerson, Carbondale – multi-media painting
Portia Griefenberg, Glenwood Springs – oil painting
Bruce Knuth, Parachute – turned wood
Noemi Kosmowski, Glenwood Springs – oil painting
Lindsey Johnson, Rifle – sterling silver and bead jewelry, hand knit ribbon yarn scarves
Arlene Law, Glenwood Springs – acrylic, oil painting
Eileen Leland, New Castle – hand created jewelry
Joyce Mack, Eagle – oil painting
Nancy Martin, Glenwood Springs – abstract and representational water media, pastel painting
Sharon Martin, Rifle – acrylic painting
Roberta McGowan, Carbondale – fine art photography
Frank McGuirk, Glenwood Springs – hand thrown pottery
Sally Melia, Glenwood Springs – “reconstructed” bags and textile art
Carol Murphy, Carbondale – pastel painting
Diane Quarles, Grand Junction – fused glass, mosaic
Gary Russell, Rifle – iron wall art, furniture, accessories and sculpture
Debera Stewart, Silt – hand thrown pottery
Cynthia Thomas, Glenwood Springs – watercolor, oil and pastel painting and other fine art media
Sally Thompson, Glenwood Springs – watercolor and gouache resist painting
Tara Vetter, Rifle – watercolor and pencil
Cameron Williams, Glenwood Springs – oil painting and sculpture
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