Art scene gears up for winter |

Art scene gears up for winter

Stew Mosberg/Special to the Daily
Stew Mosberg

Now that the holiday spirit has taken hold and a flurry of activity is seen around High Country, the winter art season also starts gearing up.

Prompted by the influx of visitors and the return of second homeowners, most galleries begin announcing their special exhibitions and one-man shows.

Amongst the dozens of galleries in Vail and Beaver Creek, art lovers will once again have a broad array of fine art and crafts to choose from.

If your time is limited, there is a concentration of fine art houses situated on or just off East Meadow Drive in Vail Village, that is about as close as you can get to museum quality art in vast numbers, without going to SoHo in New York, or Canyon Road in Santa Fe.

With almost a dozen such showcases, one could easily spend an entire day gallery hopping without walking more than a few blocks, and it’s a great way to spend Apres Ski or that mid-week day off the slopes.

Whether browsing or buying, you will find paintings, prints, sculpture, art glass and wearable art that any collector or homeowner would be proud to display.

If Beaver Creek is your haunt, there are at least half a dozen art houses to visit.

Close to the ice rink on Avondale Road is “Gallery Row,” where you will come across three quite diverse galleries – J. Cotter, displaying jewelry and contemporary sculpture and paintings, C. Anthony, showing contemporary as well as “masters” paintings, and Paderewski Fine Art, also known as The Sportsmans Gallery, which exhibits 19th century to present-day work.

Soon to join them will be the By Nature Gallery, specializing in natural geological specimens.

Of course, Beaver Creek has other art emporiums, with Beaver Creek Fine Art, Pismo and Knox Gallery adding to the medley.

Between Vail and Beaver Creek there are some wonderful, off-the-beaten-path finds to discover.

New to the Valley in Eagle-Vail is The Collaborative. Noted metal artist Tim Benedict and gallery Manager Simone Fodde-Crotzer have put together a list of artists that ignite the creative imagination and stimulate the senses. The gallery’s official opening is scheduled for December 12, with no fewer than twelve artists already on board.

The Collaborative is a bona fide art house specializing in contemporary art. The collection is eclectic, yet synergistic, with metal artists, painters, potters, photographers and sculptors all providing a cultural experience not to be missed.

Each month, according to Manager, Fodde-Crotzer, The Collaborative will feature one artist while still exhibiting a broad array of, “fresh, contemporary art that is bold and provocative.”

The initial exhibit kicks off with the strikingly unusual, figurative paintings of Erin Robbins. Reflecting a dream-like quality and brushwork reminiscent of Marc Chagall, the mystical aspects of Robbins’ paintings are both expressionistic, as well as personally symbolic.

Another road less traveled, but worth the slight detour, is the town of Minturn. In this tiny hamlet the seeds of artistic greatness are beginning to sprout.

There you will find SOKE (pronounced soak) derived from the Latin “soca,” meaning to seek. The gallery is the vision of owner Justin Brunelle, who said that choosing Minturn, rather than high-end Vail or Beaver Creek, was a conscious economic decision.

“We wanted to focus on the integrity of the art not overhead,” said Brunelle. “It’s about art, not the pressure of making sales.”

Featuring all Colorado artists, SOKE will present more than a dozen practitioners working in a variety of mediums.

Those represented may not be on view anywhere else in the state, and they run the gamut of what’s going on in the art world.

SOKE is a place to see brilliant artists that cannot be pigeonholed, but who will make the slight geographic deviation off of I-70 more than rewarding.

There are also a few artist studios in Minturn that are open to the public. Randy Milhoan, J. Cotter and Steve Kiene’s studios will help make the outing even more interesting.

All things considered, it promises to be a fabulous art season in the Valley.

Stew Mosberg works out of Blue River, Colorado. He is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, holds a degree in Design from the University of Florida, and is the author of two books on design. He can be reached at

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