For some people, a highly anticipated year-end ritual is the annual 10-best lists that appear in various media. Not
wanting to disappoint, I am hereby joining the ranks of jolly journalists by offering my 10 favorite local art
experiences of 2009.
While there were many excellent art events these past 12 months, my favorite of all, to be sure, was the inauguration
of this Art Seen column! Other than that, the following happenings stand out the most in my mind, although they are not
listed in order of preference.
I was particularly impressed by the Life Wall" unveiled at the new Durango Public Library. Comprised of 40 life
sculptures by Willa Shalit and Dean Ericson, its presence in our community is a glorious addition; as a work of art, it
Of several shows at the Durango Arts Center's Barbara Conrad Gallery, I'm singling out the No Rules" exhibit featuring
mixed-media work by Deborah Gorton, MarSan, Judy Hayes and Fiona Clark. These talented women pushed their own
creativity to offer up well-executed, unique and dynamic art. Then there was the DAC's African Market; a great
crowd-pleaser that brought an international element to an otherwise regional venue.
Speaking of local, the resurrection of an Open Studio Tour, miraculously pulled together by Crystal Hartman, showcased
27 local artists and was one of the great art weekends of the year. The two Gallery Walks bracketing the summer months
remain a big social affair while exposing new art and artists to throngs of onlookers.
The Open Shutter Gallery continued to amaze this year by exhibiting works of world-famous photographers such as Steve
McCurry, Edward Curtis and Elliott Erwitt, as well as superb local practitioners. But an exhibit that took me by
surprise was the annual Fort Lewis College Student Art Show; much of the material was accomplished and highly skilled.
And staying on campus, the Center of Southwest Studies is noteworthy for fascinating exhibits. One that specifically
thrilled me with its creativity was the Fiber Celebrated" textile show, the highlights of which included a
retrospective of phenomenal crochet art by Birgitta Bjerke.
Art presentations at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church usually have something of merit to see, but the one-man show of
paintings by Brad Kachnowicz was exemplary, as much for his art as for the chronicle of his budding career.
And finally, one of my favorite art occurrences of this year has to be the Ferocious Feelings" one-night guerilla art
show put on by McCarson Jones. A continuation of her previous Deliciously Weird" show, it gave Durangoans a chance to
see more edgy art by under-the-radar artists who otherwise might not have a venue.
That's about 10, depending on how you do the math, and so dear readers, that's a wrap. I am buoyed by the work
mentioned here and by others that didn't make the list, and I'm looking forward to what 2010 will bring.
Stew Mosberg is a freelance writer and has written about art regionally and nationally. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.