Bayfield has a new art gallery: The Red House Gallery, plus an annex, no less. It's the result of a former resident moving back home after 10 years and deciding she was fed up with traveling to Durango for her arts, culture and entertainment.Kinsee Morlan learned in her 10 years living in Tijuana, Mexico, as well as San Diego and San Francisco, to "stop complaining about the city I live in and change it" as she said Sunday in her living room/art gallery.
The city she learned to stop complaining about was San Diego, where she went to college. She felt it had no soul because artists bypassed it in favor of Los Angeles.
Consequently, Morlan worked for more than two years with a collective that staged what she calls "alternative shows in alternative spaces" monthly in the two cities.
She recalled staging a show called "A Room of One's Own," evoking Virginia Woolf's prescription for what a woman needs to create. It was in a mansion outside Tijuana, where each artist had a room to decorate. One Estonian artist covered a bed with hay and decorated it with the heads of two pigs, all to set off her photos. She even served blood chocolates.
The shows found their financial level.
"We started with $10,000 shows and ended with $50 shows," Morlan said.
Now she's doing it over again in Bayfield.
"Changing it from a dump to a destination," she said. "Not that Bayfield's a dump, but there are definitely no tourists, so I don't have to cater for them as the Durango galleries do. This is for Four Corners people."
Morlan lives in the red house where she's put together her gallery with her fiancé, Jeff Hammett. She rents it from her parents, Jackie and Ed Morlan, an arrangement that makes the gallery financially possible.
In addition, Morlan works at both the Bayfield Library and KSUT.
The annex is a dilapidated building across Mill Street, Bayfield's main drag. Morlan talked the landlord into letting her use it until a tenant showed up. She likes it because the high ceilings allow her to show larger-scale work than she can in her living room. She hasn't improved the annex much because there's always a chance the landlord can rent it out after all.
It's Morlan's chosen mission to activate Mill Street. She wants to stage regular farmers markets and convince local business owners to host an art walk every three weeks.
She held her second monthly show Saturday, showing all local art for prices ranging between $70 and $2,500.
At that event, Cindy Coleman's fish painting, "Steve Picked the Perfect Fly," sold for $85. And Morlan said she sold four pieces at the first monthly show.
Much of the art reflects Morlan's taste, which she says is "pop and kitsch and humor, but I'm trying to branch out." She added, "I'm discovering Southwest art."
She's also showing her own photographic work.
Morlan is energetic and makes the most of her opportunities. As we talked Sunday, the neighbor's children came by to pick up their puppy and she encouraged them to make art for her so she could sell it in a children's art show.
She's a new force sweeping into Mill Street, reaching right outside a room of her own.