Here in Durango, we dont need to wait for the leaves or even the calendar pages to turn to know when fall has arrived. And yes, Im well aware that according to those calendars weve still got about five days before summer becomes autumn.
No, for many of us, falls arrival is heralded by the Colorfest Gallery Walk, when the downtown art galleries don their Sunday-go-to-meetings and put on a smile for the throngs of art lovers and art curious who jam the streets for four hours twice a year. (See, theres also a Spring Gallery Walk, but thats not important tonight. Its fall.)
Durangos gallery walk is nearly linear, with only a slight detour from Main Avenue to the Durango Arts Center and Toh-Atin needed to take it all in. Begin either on the north end at & or on the south end at Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts, and the four-hour window should be ample time to hit all nine galleries.
The walk portion of the Gallery Walk will be different this year. Musicians and theater majors and faculty from Fort Lewis College will be performing all night long at each of the stops, some indoors and some on the sidewalks.
Jonathan Latta will lead percussion students, Kasia Sokol will bring stringed chamber music, Lisa Campi will play piano and there will be live performances by Kathryn Mollers students with previews of FLC productions Enrique and Almost Maine as well as some improvisational pieces.
As always, some galleries invite guest artists in for Gallery Walk while others take the opportunity to just show off their wares to a large, captive audience that may or may not be regular visitors the rest of the year. Jewelry seems to be the theme this year, as jewelers and their creations will be spotlighted at four of the nine galleries.
Azul will feature a trunk show by locals Bennie and Valerie Aldrich, who design and craft their nationally sold jewelry from their Bodo Park studio. Albuquerques Doug Moore will be in attendance at Sorrel Sky, where his work is offered year-round. Earthen Vessel has multi-metal jewelry by New Englanders Thomas Kuhner and Linda Whitney, and though the artists themselves didnt make the trip, their unique creations are worth a look; its as much a study in metalworking as it is jewelry.
Toh-Atin welcomes renowned Native American artists Joe and Althea Cajero. Joe Cajero is fresh from the Santa Fe Indian Market where he won the top ceramic award, and hell create the signature piece for the 25th anniversary Music in the Mountains festival in 2011. His life-sized horse sculptures are on display at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio.
His wife, Althea, created a special selection of Bisbee turquoise jewelry specifically for tonights Gallery Walk.
My understanding of my creativity is that it can be a deeper expression from my soul, she wrote in her artists statement for the show.
My experience in creating jewelry is that I am continually learning who I am and what I can do. When I visualize a piece, I am inspired to create it. From creating it, I learn patience and acceptance; the patience to allow each process to take the time necessary and to accept that it may not become exactly as I visualize. In this process, however, lies the potential of it becoming something even more beautiful than I imagined.
Karyn Gabaldon, the de facto block captain for Gallery Walk, is doing something completely different for tonights crowds, which she expects to be one of the biggest in recent years. Shes taking a cue from New York chrono-artist Leonie Lacouette, and the two are teaming for Its Time, an exhibit of custom-made clocks. Lacouette is best known for her copper, steel and wood timepieces while the craft is new to Gabaldon, who converted several of her paintings into clocks.
I just thought it would be fun to do something different thats more functional, Gabaldon said, though having fun never has been a challenge for the popular and tenured artist and gallery owner.
Its a lot of work, but I love it, she said.
Money raised during this years Colorfest Gallery Walk will benefit the city of Durangos Public Arts Program.