The Art Cellar opens below the Blue Pig in Palisade |

The Art Cellar opens below the Blue Pig in Palisade

Sharon Sullivan
The Art Cellar gallery director Sarah Winder arranges artwork in the new Palisade gallery in preparation for its grand opening Saturday, Nov. 30.
Kay Crane | Free Press


WHAT: Grand Opening of The Art Cellar, a new gallery for student and emerging artists

WHEN: 5-8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 30

WHERE: Downstairs of the Blue Pig Gallery, 301 S. Main St. in Palisade

INFO: 970-464-2170;

Whitewater artist Meril Wallace spends his summers as a rafting guide on the Colorado River. The outdoors is where he draws inspiration for his topographical-type paintings, several of which are currently displayed at The Art Cellar, Palisade’s newest gallery.

Wallace, 22, paints on wood panels that he builds himself, applying layers to suggest the sedimentary layers of canyons.

“I’m immersed in deserts, canyons, landscapes — it has completely evolved into my work,” said Wallace, who studies art at Colorado Mesa University.

The Art Cellar, located downstairs of the Blue Pig Gallery, 301 S. Main St. in Palisade, will host a grand opening reception from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, in conjunction with the town’s annual Art and Chocolate Walk.

“The focus is on emerging artists looking for market opportunities; it’s a stepping stone where they can establish a name, a career, and move on to the Blue Pig and other professional galleries,” Art Cellar gallery director Sarah Winder said.

The idea for the gallery came from Darin Carei, who owns the Blue Pig along with his wife, Tammera, and Nicole and Mike Goodknight. The Careis visited a Scottsdale gallery last winter that catered to student and emerging artists. Carei was impressed with the concept.

Noting that the Grand Valley lacked a gallery dedicated to emerging artists, Carei decided to put the Blue Pig’s renovated basement to good use.

The gallery below the gallery will open Saturday, featuring 25 artists. The event will include wine from Grande River Vineyards, plus hors d’ oeuvres, and live piano music performed by Shelly Jameson and Casey Fink.

The Art Cellar will help foster the careers of high-quality artists who are just starting out in the business, Carei said.

Above the Blue Pig, on the second floor of the building, studio space is available for working artists. Classes will be taught there as well, on topics such as matting and framing, and how to determine pricing for art pieces.

“We’ll be teaching artists how to market themselves and present themselves in a professional way,” Winder said.

Marilyn Anderson-Wilcox graduated in May from Colorado Mesa University with a Fine Arts degree. She often produces series of paintings that go together, working primarily with acrylic paint recycled from the Mesa County Landfill’s reuse program.

The 50-year old “emerging” artist is showing 13 mostly abstract and/or impressionistic pieces in the current Art Cellar exhibit.

Winder described Anderson-Wilcox’s work as “Picasso-inspired” and “gorgeous.”

“I do many different styles; I love to experiment,” Anderson-Wilcox said.

Both Wallace and Anderson-Wilcox will be present at the grand opening, along with the other artists who are currently showing their works.

“It’ll be a great chance to meet the artists,” Winder said.

All artworks are for sale.

Blue Pig Gallery director Kay Crane said the two galleries complement each other.

“I’m amazed at the art that’s coming in,” Crane said. It’s really quite wonderful; it’s ‘cutting edge.’”

Winder said she hears from new artists every day. She’s currently seeking instructors for the classes that will be offered.

“I’ve poured every ounce of myself into (building the gallery),” said Winder, who was an assistant to Crane at the Blue Pig before becoming director of The Art Cellar. “I believe in the incredible talent of the artists showing at the gallery right now.”

The Art Cellar gallery is open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Artists interested in showing their work at the gallery can contact Winder at 970-464-2170. For more information, visit

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