Cogswell Gallery owners John and Patti Cogswell retire at end of October
If you go ...
What: Cogswell Gallery final days.
When: Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 30.
Where: 223 Gore Creek Drive, Vail Village.
Cost: All Native American and fine jewelry, paintings, sculptures and furniture are on sale.
More information: The Squash Blossom, the Cogswell Gallery’s sister store, will remain open at 198 Gore Creek Drive in Vail Village. Call 970-476-1769, or visit cogswellgallery.com.
John Cogswell’s eyes tend to wander when he visits his hundreds of friends around the valley, scanning the walls to see what art is hanging there.
A friend’s house in Singletree had 14 of his pieces the last time he was there — probably more by now.
If you want art from the Cogswell Gallery, you’d better move fast. John and Patti Cogswell are closing their Vail gallery and retiring after 40 years in the heart of Vail Village.
The Squash Blossom, the Cogswell Gallery’s sister store, will still be there, hosting fine jewelry and art from all corners of the world.
A lot of the product can move to the Cogswells’ other stores: Squash Blossom stores in Vail and one in Colorado Springs. The rest … well … you have until Sunday.
“I’m getting a lot of feedback from artists upset that we’re closing down because we generated so much revenue for them,” John Cogswell said.
One sculptor is just shy of selling $1 million worth of her work in the past 20 years through the Cogswells’ galleries.
John and Patti Cogswell moved to Vail in 1976, a time of camaraderie, John said, as those first business owners supported one another while getting established.
They opened their first Vail location, The Squash Blossom, that year. The Cogswell Gallery followed in 1980, the first art gallery in the Vail Valley. It featured Southwestern paintings and sculpture. Over the years, it grew into a mixture of Native American artifacts, Western impressionists and furniture from Tibet, Indonesia and Mexico.
“The thrust historically has been to help young up-and-coming artists who need a place to show. Many have grown to have successful careers,” John said.
Return customers wander in with nothing in particular in mind, except to visit with John and Patti. They stroll in the door and something strikes them, and often, they walk out with it.
When John was new at this, a guy came in, sat down in the middle of the store and pointed at art. When he was done pointing, the man had bought nine pieces.
The Cogswell Gallery has been a catalyst for relationships with clients and artists.
“The store has brought such great things to the community, our family and my life,” John said.
John got into the gallery business when his uncle bought a huge collection of Native American jewelry and grew frustrated because he didn’t know what to do with it. John figured it out, and the rest, as they say, is history.
They have no trouble finding inventory. Artists still walk in the door hawking their wares, and John and his crew work art shows.
Over the years, John has worked with 900 artists.
“You try to pick a stable of artists that compliment each other, but don’t compete with each other. Once that’s established, it attracts other artists that also compliment each other,” he said.
They analyze their inventory every six months. If an artist has, say, 15 pieces in the store and has sold a half-dozen or so, they’ll ship the remaining works back and get new ones.
“Sometimes, you have a great piece and no one buys it. You move it to another part of the gallery and it sells,” he said.
The space will reopen under new ownership this winter with a new art gallery featuring artists never before seen in Vail. A handful of artists from Cogswell Gallery will continue to be shown under the new owners; however, all other artists can still be seen in Colorado Springs at the Squash Blossom’s second location.
Those Squash Blossom stores don’t need much of his attention.
“They’ve run quite well without me for the last 10 years, so I figure I won’t bother them,” John said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.