Fall Art Festival packed with paintings, pottery, sculpture | PostIndependent.com

Fall Art Festival packed with paintings, pottery, sculpture

Heidi Rice
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS,Colorado – Portia Griefenberg loved to paint in oil colors when she was young and took art classes in both high school and college.

But then she became a wife and the mother of five children, which put her artistic endeavors on hold for a time.

At 28, she picked up her paintbrush again when her family moved to Colorado.

“I was looking through the Colorado Mountain College brochure and saw an oil painting class in Carbondale that was during the daytime,” Griefenberg said. “I thought, OK, I can do this. And I got started again.”

Now 73, Griefenberg has since been a member of the Glenwood Springs Art Guild for the past 30 years.

“I love to paint – painting is my therapy,” she said. “I have a studio and I paint during the day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The art guild members also get together at someone’s home every Thursday.”

Not only do they gather, they also take an annual eight-day trip every May to paint their landscapes, traveling to places such as Moab, the Tetons and the Grand Canyon.

As usual, Griefenberg will be displaying her artwork at this year’s 49th Fall Arts Festival, with pieces in the main competition and two special exhibits, as well as a light show piece in the festival’s Bargain Bin.

Held every year since 1962 during the last week of September, the Glenwood Springs Art Guild’s Fall Arts Festival will feature the work of nearly 300 artists this year.

The downstairs level of the Ramada Inn turns into an extensive art gallery, displaying oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, sculpture and pottery. The non-juried show is one of the largest in Colorado, according to the art guild.

“We use every ounce of space down there,” said Cynthia Thomas, president of the guild. “Every room down there is full of art and demonstrations.”

The work of Glenwood Springs Art Guild members, as well as non-members from around the state and as far away as Europe and South Africa, will be on display.

The exhibit opens on Tuesday, Sept. 20, for an invitation-only Patron’s Night Reception. The doors open to the public from Wednesday, Sept. 21, through Sunday, Sept. 25.

The show is divided in two – the Main Gallery and the Bargain Bin. The Main Gallery is where work is displayed by medium and subject, as well as by artist classification as amateur, advanced or professional.

A special Portrait of Glenwood Springs display gathers the entries in the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s annual greeting card and calendar competition. The winning entry used on the chamber’s 2012 greeting card and calendar. The painting itself is purchased by the chamber and awarded to next year’s Citizen of the Year.

New this year is a members-only exhibit under the theme of “Light Show.” Sharon Martin won this category for a painting of a horse on her ranch in Silt titled “Winter’s Glow.”

Bargain Bin works are sorted for display if they are framed and in the bins if they are matted, but not framed. There are more than 1,000 pieces of original artwork, all priced at $125 or less.

“There are tables of beautiful ceramic work, pottery and paintings,” said Tana Leonhart, an art guild member who oversees the Bargain Bin display. “It’s our own special area that is separate and a great place to hang out. Everybody is represented at the Bargain Bin – from the professional to the amateur.”

Both exhibits are free of charge and visitors are encouraged to stroll through the galleries at a leisurely pace. Work purchased at the Bargain Bin can be taken home at the time of purchase, but those bought in the Main Gallery must remain in place for the duration of the show and can be picked up when the festival closes.

There will also be free demonstrations by noted local artists such as Liz Thele, a Carbondale artist who has become a national and international award-winning “plein air” oil painter, Mark Silvers of Fort Collins, a nationally recognized watercolor artist, Mary Zimmerman, an award-winning bronze sculptor from Paonia, and clay artist Terry Shepherd, the top award winner in 2010.

Fall Arts Festival awards include the coveted “Popular Choice Award.”

Judging will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 21, for first, second and third place ribbons, along with honorable mention. Thele, Silvers and Zimmerman will be judges for the show.

Bonnie Daniels, chair of the judging committee and a 10-year member of the art guild, takes the judges around and shows them the various pieces of artwork and paintings in the 30 different categories.

Other awards recognize the artwork of high school seniors from Aspen to Parachute, which will also be on display. The guild awards the Nancy Piper grant of $2,000 to a student planning to major in art.

This year’s winner is Savanna Phibbs, a graduating senior at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale. Other recipients who plan to continue their education in art, but may not major in an art program, are Jan Worden Grant and Martin Gerdin, who were also awarded a $1,000 grant each. Coral Eva-Fronting, also a graduating senior at Roaring Fork High School, received a grant for $750.

An awards banquet will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24, for the artists. Winners will be named in each of the categories and a grand champion and reserve champion will receive a trophy and cash.

“At the banquet, I play Vanna White and hold the trophy up and walk through the crowd,” Daniels said with a laugh.

The 49th annual Fall Arts Festival show will wrap up on Sunday afternoon. Proceeds from the artwork supports the artists, and provides grants and scholarships to students from the Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design.

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