New art gallery in Vail appeals to the masses |

New art gallery in Vail appeals to the masses

Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyEast Vail resident Cheryl Ann Peter opened Artful Sol earlier this month.

VAIL, Colorado ” VAIL “Sitting on a chair outside her gallery, Artful Sol, Cheryl Ann Peter recently called out to a friend.

“If you know someone who has some artwork, I’m open to the public, man” she said. “I’m not just here for the b.s. art. I’m here for full-on discovery art.”

And that’s the philosophy behind the latest addition to Vail’s art scene.

Peter’s gallery might be small ” (“450 square feet of love”) ” but she has grand dreams for it. She plans to cultivate a community gathering place where local artists can sell their work and people of all ages feel comfortable perusing them. Artful Sol, she hopes, will remain quarantined from high-art snobbery.

“I’m not afraid of street art,” Peter said. “I’m not afraid of pop art. Tattoo ink drawings, to me, are a form of art.”

Artful Sol opened at the beginning of this month with paintings from eight local artists and prices starting at $15. Peter encourages artists of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to approach the gallery with their work. In fact, she envisions holding shows for teens from local high schools, with the ultimate goal of setting up a scholarship fund for student artists.

Berneil Bannon, art department chairwoman at Battle Mountain, said a gallery show for students could be a confidence builder.

“It would be pretty powerful for the kids,” she said.

Ducking into the brick building that houses Artful Sol, one discovers walls full of colorful contemporary paintings.

A stereo playing Eddie Vedder’s “Into the Wild” soundtrack and paintings leaning against the wall give the space the relaxed vibe of a working studio.

There’s something else too, a retro cool maybe, that emanates from the gallery owner herself.

“I love the ’60s and ’70s,” said Peter, who was wearing an oversized butterfly ring, silver cross and fuzzy sky-blue hat. “I mean, six years ago, I tried to buy a peace sign in the United States and I couldn’t buy one anywhere … I traveled places: California, New York. No peace signs. Now they’re selling them everywhere, so I’m hoping our hearts are in a better place.”

Peter’s heart goes out to artists of all kinds. The East Vail resident is a working artist ” an oil painter who adds ghosts to her pieces because she believes spirits follow her. She worked at several Vail galleries before a series of signs prompted her to branch out on her own.

“I took out a loan to open an art gallery because I feel like we have a missing link here, a missing link in contemporary (art) and also art that is reasonably priced for everybody, from age 7 on up through 97, you know?” she said.

This push toward affordable pricing is part of Peter’s for-the-people philosophy. She plans to put a couch in the gallery and hold art workshops for children.

“When I first opened this art gallery, I picked up a rock from the river and I put it over my head and I sort of blessed the place for it to be a comfort zone for people,” Peter said. “I want someone who’s depressed; I want someone who’s happy; I want someone who’s lonely; I want someone who’s social and excitable; I want every person to feel comfortable coming in here.”

Feeling comfortable, though, will do little to boost customers’ disposable incomes. Peter launched her business at a time when the only thing rising on the stockmarket is panic.

She acknowledges that her first year of operation will be a struggle, but says she is ready to meet the challenge. In fact, Peter said the angst people feel during times of financial struggle can breed powerful art.

“I think there’s a huge revival in art that’s about to explode in America,” she said.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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