When the Spring Gallery Walk beings at 5 p.m. Friday, art enthusiasts will notice some new changes: Additional venues have been added to the route and the Gallery Association has a new name and leader.
Now called the Durango Art Gallery Collective, the group is directed by Denise Leslie, who also works as a sales consultant at Sorrel Sky Gallery.
Leslie has a professional background in many areas in arts and entertainment, having worked in marketing, sales and event management. She’s also done writing, editing and publishing for an arts magazine and playbills for arts organizations.
And she’s a musician. She produces the annual Rocky Mountain UkeFest, teaches ukulele lessons and leads jam sessions throughout the community. She also serves on the Durango Area Tourism Board and Durango Creative District Steering Committee.
Leslie said she sees the incorporation of entities besides traditional galleries into the collective as beneficial. Places such as the Rochester Hotel and Smiley Building also support artists and the arts.
“Perhaps people who aren’t necessarily a gallery, but they strongly support artists and hang their work and have show openings and bring people in to view the arts,” she said. “I see that name change as kind to incorporate focusing on the galleries, and then the collective piece would be other people who support that.”
Leslie said along with the name change, the collective will be updating its website, planning cool things for the fall and creating a calendar with all the events going on in the galleries.
And for the Spring Gallery Walk, most a downtown Durango’s galleries will offer a look into what they have going on, including:
Diane West Jewelry & Art, 820 Main Ave., will showcase local artists Tracey Belt and Pat Hartman. Belt’s specialty is handmade glass beads, and Hartman works with gemstone beads and high-carat gold and steel.At Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts, 680 Main Ave., be sure to check out her new large-scale paintings. The gallery is also “hooping” it up with New Hoop Jewelers, there will be Mother’s Day specials and Jeff Solon and Elle Rio will be playing jazz.Sorrel Sky Gallery, 828 Main Ave., is featuring work by wildlife artist Edward Aldrich, whose work will be on display through the end of the month. A portion of the sales will benefit Wolfwood Refuge in Ignacio.
Earthen Vessel Gallery, 115 W. Ninth St., will feature the work of Robert Medina Cook, who hand-tints his pieces with organic earth pigments. His multimedia art also includes rusted tin aged by high-mountain elements, fire-scorched wood from forest fires and cracked plaster on wood.Toh-Atin Gallery, 145 W. Ninth St., will feature a large collection of major works by Stanton Englehart, along with a collection of 100 vintage Native American belt buckles, recently acquired from a major collector.
Rochester Hotel & Leland House, 726 East Second Ave., will host the Big Picture High School Student Art exhibition and auction featuring watercolor paintings, block prints, screen prints, mixed media, photography and drawings. Proceeds from sales will go to help graduates buy college textbooks.Studio & Gallery, 1027 Main Ave., will open “Tim Kapustka’s Garage Sale.”Also participating in the Walk are Wildshots, Scenic Aperture, Azul, Durango Arts Center and Create Tea & Arts.And as people stroll through the local venues, Leslie said it’s important to remember art’s bigger picture:
“Art, number one, is supposed to make you think when you look at it. We all look at a piece of art and we all have different ways we take in that art,” Leslie said. “Art reflects the community you live in, the country you live in, the town you live in. Art tells stories: It tells stories good, it tells stories not so good, but it’s supposed to touch you.”