“Nature’s Preservation” art exhibit benefits the Eagle Valley Land Trust | VailDaily.com

“Nature’s Preservation” art exhibit benefits the Eagle Valley Land Trust

The Claggett/Rey Gallery in Edwards has recently installed a new month-long exhibit that centers on the natural environment in Colorado. 10% of all proceeds will go towards the Eagle Valley Land Trust

10% of all proceeds from purchases made at the Nature’s Preservation exhibit will go towards the Eagle Valley Land Trust.
Carolyn Paletta/Vail Daily

The Claggett/Rey Gallery, located at the Riverwalk in Edwards, has just begun a monthlong exhibit titled “Nature’s Preservation” that is designed to benefit and bring awareness to the Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT). The exhibit features landscape paintings and wildlife sculptures from three well-established Colorado artists, and 10% of all proceeds will go directly toward benefiting the land trust.

Bill Rey, the co-owner of the gallery, said it is part of the gallery’s mission to give back to the local organizations that provide so much support to our community.

“We’re so lucky living here because we have so many nonprofit organizations that benefit us all,” Rey said. “The land trust is just a great cause, and we love it, so we’re always trying to think how we can bring more awareness and collaborate.”

For this exhibit, Rey and his team felt that it was fitting to select artists who reflected the environmental and conservationist values of EVLT.

“We decided to pull together a smaller group of artists that would have a close relationship with not only the land trust, but also with the county,” Rey said.

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The two painters featured in the exhibit are Lanny Grant of Silt and Kent Lemon of Denver. The natural landscapes of Colorado have served as lifelong inspiration to both artists, and feature prominently throughout their careers. Over the summer, Grant and Lemon were invited to come to Eagle County and paint on some of the EVLT’s protected lands in order to create works specifically for this exhibit.

The Nature’s Preservation exhibit immerses the viewer in Eagle County and Colorado’s most beautiful and beloved scenery.
Carolyn Paletta/Vail Daily

“It was so great to get them on board because they are accessible — they can come up, they’re game on and they’re not afraid to paint outdoors and create major pieces,” Rey said.

Stepping through the door of the gallery, visitors will be greeted with familiar views from the lands that EVLT stewards around the valley, including Booth Falls in East Vail, Lake Creek in Edwards — with New York Mountain rising in the background — and Mount of the Holy Cross, among others. Surrounded by fine art depictions of local wildflowers, creeks, mountains and waterfalls, the Nature’s Preservation exhibit immerses the viewer in Eagle County and Colorado’s most beautiful and beloved scenery.

In addition to the paintings, the exhibit also features stone and brass sculptures by sculptor Steve Kestrel. Kestrel, who is originally from New Mexico, now resides on a 43-acre wildlife preserve in Colorado’s Redstone Canyon, where he interacts every day with the wildlife that he recreates out of stone. Kestrel specializes in stone carvings of animals, and his masterfully carved whales, dragonflies, turtles, birds, sheep, fish and more complete the environment of the Nature’s Preservation exhibit.

“He is very concerned about the natural world, so it’s really fun to represent him and have him be the environmental anchor,” Rey said. “He’s just really concerned about all of the critters, from the tiniest insects to the biggest beasts.”

Sculptor Steve Kestrel’s stone and brass wildlife sculptures compliment paintings of familiar local environments, such as Mount of the Holy Cross.
Carolyn Paletta/Vail Daily

While raising funds for both the artists and the land trust are important objectives for the gallery, Rey also invites people to simply come and appreciate the works and the skilled representation of the world around us.

“We just love what we do, and it’s fun for us to educate people and have them come in and enjoy it,” Rey said. “Whether or not they buy anything, it’s fine with us, because it’s more about people really appreciating the creative time. When you look at every single thing in the gallery, it is created from the artist’s decades in the field, and what we get to enjoy is their sophistication and abilities today. It’s really wonderful to be part of that.”

The Nature’s Preservation exhibit will be on display from now until Sept. 26. All of the works are also available for viewing and purchase online at claggettrey.com/exhibitions.

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