It usually takes much longer for an artist to attain the kind of reputation in Durango that Elizabeth Kinahan has built in just a few short years.
In March, Kinahan was named the featured artist for Music in the Mountains. Only one artist each year is so honored, and those chosen often are among the most celebrated artists in Colorado and the Southwest.
Kinahan’s hand-painted violin “Moosic to my Steers” will be auctioned off in July for the Pops Night fundraiser, but fans of the artist can see much more of her four-legged friends tonight during the opening of “Animalarium.” The show will be held at Studio & on Main Avenue and features 43 portraits of nonhumans.
“I give them people names so people don’t see them as being less important than people,” Kinahan said of her subjects.
As a vegetarian, she has a special affinity for the farm animals that many of us view as future dinner guests. And it’s that reverence for all things living that spurs Kinahan to philanthropy through her art. “Animalarium” will be a fundraiser for a slew of animal-friendly organizations – Spring Creek Horse Rescue in Bayfield, Annie’s Orphans in Durango, The Rooster Sanctuary at Danzig’s Roost in Bennett, Peaceful Prairie Farm Animal Sanctuary in Deer Trail,The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, Calif., and Homeless Paws in Barnegat, N.J., which is run by Kinahan’s mother.
“I think we all have a cause we can rally for,” Kinahan said. “For me, it’s always been animals.”