Gone Clubbin’

This article on the Pottery Club of Aspen’s annual Holiday Pottery Sale was first printed in the Aspen Daily News. The event runs from Dec. 11-13 at CMC in Aspen. Numerous CMC faculty and students take part.

Two Dozen Potters Find a Common Interest, and Put it On Sale

Photo of pottery by Jordan Curet.

We’ve got ski clubs and equestrian clubs. There are mushroom-hunting clubs and broomball clubs, running clubs and book clubs. The Roaring Fork Valley is home to hundreds of groups of people who get together and bond over a shared interest.

Most of them don’t get their time in the spotlight, but for the Pottery Club of Aspen, this is their chance to shine. Every holiday season, the nearly 25 members of the group put their products on sale at Aspen’s Colorado Mountain College  annual pottery sale.

But, the sale is not just a sale, say members, and the group is not just a group.

“It’s so much more than just a studio,” says Emily Lanese, a potter who’s taken classes at CMC for eight years. “In it we have people who have millions of dollars and teachers and preschool teachers, we have raft guides and a retired electrician.”

All of these members — many of whom got their start in ceramics through a class at CMC — create wares and sculpture throughout the year, and then seize the opportunity to sell it at the year-end event. Each student puts several dozen items on sale, from bowls and mugs to larger sculptures, so the result can be thousands of pieces from which to choose.

Anne Goldberg, a professional potter and adjunct faculty member in ceramics at CMC, says that the diversity in offerings is one of the best parts.

“Students can see the varied work that faculty members make and see what other students are making,” she says.

This year, she’s contributing nearly 100 pieces, most of which fall in the porcelain tumbler family.

Besides providing works to sell, every pottery club member must help with putting on the event. That includes everything from public relations and logistics to figuring out how to price and display their work.

“A lot of people have no experience in relation to selling their art,” says Goldberg. “So from an instructor point of view, it’s a practical application on how to market themselves.”

That can be valuable for fledgling artists aiming to take the leap between amateur and professional.
“It makes them be more critical of their own work,” says K Rhynus Cesark, who also is an adjunct faculty member in ceramics at CMC, and has several pieces featured in the holiday show. “They have to figure out what they want to put in and what they don’t, so there’s some editing.”

Both instructors agree the experiential learning part of the process can’t be taught in a classroom, but the benefits exist for more than the students. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from each piece sold goes back to the pottery club, and the funds are used to support the organization, along with purchases that are donated back to CMC and some of the college’s programs, giving the whole event a philanthropic side.

“I love the community that we’ve developed here and the friendships,” says Lanese. “It’s really a vast variety of people, and we all learn from each other. I create a lot more pieces in the fall in getting ready for this show … but for me the joy is in making it and being with all the people at the studio.”

This is the one time each year that she puts her ceramics on display and sells them. So, it’s an added bonus, but not a necessity to sell. For others, like Goldberg and Cesark who are professional potters, they depend more on the money they’ll make.

“I usually buy a few things too,” says Goldberg. “Especially the students’ work is really wonderful and they try a lot of different things. As a professional artist, it’s great to see their curiosity and be inspired.”

Mentors support students, and students support other students — who are sometimes also friends. The newcomers then inspire the instructors and the whole process becomes a celebrated community cycle. And isn’t that what clubs are all about? 

Holiday Pottery Sale
Presented by Pottery Club of Aspen
Opening reception:
Dec. 11, 5-7:30 p.m.
Sale: Dec. 12 & 13, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Colorado Mountain College — Aspen
255 Sage Way,
Aspen Airport Business Center

– See more at: http://enews.coloradomtn.edu/2014/12/10/18834/#more-18834

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Sopris Theatre Company Presents


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Colorado Mountain College art instructor Joel S. Allen has five pieces from his ongoing series "Hooked on Svelte" hanging in the "State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now" exhibit in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Dustin Bartholomew/courtesy

Colorado Mountain College art instructor Joel S. Allen has five pieces from his ongoing series “Hooked on Svelte” hanging in the “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now” exhibit in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

CMC art instructor featured in prominent Arkansas exhibit

— Joel S. Allen has spent about 15 years working on a series of hand-wrapped hanging fiber sculptures, an art installation he calls “Hooked on Svelte.

Despite his obvious commitment to the project, he was surprised when he was contacted by two men traveling the country in search of exceptional art for a gallery exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The curatorial duo from the museum drove nearly 100,000 miles across the United States in 2013, meeting nearly 1,000 artists in their hometowns, searching for work that otherwise might go unappreciated on a national level.

The team conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with artists to select those whose work they found the most compelling.

“They traveled all over the country visiting studios,” said Allen, who teaches Art in the Environment and a 3-D design class at Colorado Mountain College.

Allen ultimately was selected with 101 other artists to display a combined 200 works of art, including five of Allen’s hanging fiber sculptures, in “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now.”

The finished exhibition brings together arts from all areas of the country and features photography, works on canvas and paper, performance art and video.

“It was pretty intimidating and awe-inspiring to be selected,” said Allen, who thinks another museum curator probably referred his work to the curatorial team. “I was very excited.”

Allen’s hanging installation uses twine and yarn along with pill bottles, wine corks and other seemingly random materials to create methodically designed sculptures.

The exhibit opened Sept. 13 and runs through mid-January at Crystal Bridges, which sees about 2,500 visitors each day, Allen said.

On the State of the Art website, curators describe Allen’s work as “alien and earthly, synthetic and organic” and said “Allen reminds us that the potential for unearthly beauty lies everywhere around us, waiting only for the touch of human imagination.”

The exhibit’s placement in an Arkansas museum away from the New York or Los Angeles art world is significant, Allen said.

“It’s really a game changer for the art world,” Allen said. “They’re trying to bring art to everyday people.”

Crystal Bridges was founded by Walmart heir Alice Walton and features a year-round collection of permanent art pieces by artists such as Norman Rockwell, Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol.

The State of the Art exhibit was featured on a CBS Sunday Morning segment Nov. 9 where Allen’s work can be seen hanging in the background during some of the video.

Allen said he feels honored to be included with other well-respected artists in the exhibit.

For more information about State of the Art, including videos and descriptions of each artist’s work, visit www.stateoftheart.crystalbridges.org.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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Colorado Mountain College landscape painting exhibit comes ‘Close to Home’

Five renowned artists are your neighbors

by: Carrie Click

Usually, it goes something like this: You arrive at an art exhibit and look around. If it’s a landscape show, you admire the talent and perspective of the painters, but you don’t recognize the scenes depicted. They depict a far-off beach or city, or maybe a historical event long since passed.

That’s not what will happen when “Close to Home” opens with an artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Colorado Mountain College’s campus in Rifle. The exhibit, which will hang on the walls of the building’s main hallway through Jan. 10, features the works of five well-respected, collected local artists, four of whom live so close to the campus they could almost walk there from their studios. And the fifth artist, Andy Taylor, only lives as far away as Carbondale.

Artists flocking to Silt?

Rolling through the town of Silt, it might not immediately be apparent that the community is such a magnet for artists. But it’s where painters Dean Bowlby, Dan Young, Jane Lee and Lanny Grant live and work.

For Bowlby and Young, who attended Glenwood Springs High School together, a move down valley with room to breathe and to paint brought them to the town.

“It wasn’t intentional,” said Young of landing in Silt. “After I grew up in Glenwood, I wanted to get out of here but then I realized that I had grown up in a beautiful place. Silt is kind of a coincidence. It’s a more affordable place for artists who make their living painting, which we all do. So Dean (Bowlby) is here, and Jane (Lee), and Lanny (Grant).”

Grant grew up on his father’s ranch in Peach Valley east of Silt, and now lives on Silt Mesa. His work has been featured for years in greeting cards by the Leanin’ Tree Publishing Company in Boulder and represented in several galleries. (Grant and Bowlby also teach courses at Colorado Mountain College.) And even though many of Grant’s paintings feature high-alpine vistas such as Pyramid Peak and Wyoming’s Grand Teton, he also paints locally.

“There’s a lot to discover and paint here,” he said.

Painting your backyard

Fellow Silt artist Bowlby agrees with Grant’s view of the local artist’s subject matter.

“What we have at hand can often be neglected and looked past, no matter the wonder that may be present,” said Bowlby, whose work features European scenes as well as local landscapes. “I love travel, but that needn’t discount my backyard for awe. It all depends on a perspective.”

Young has a favorite place near Silt he likes to paint on location. He, like the other artists, appreciates painting scenes that might otherwise be passed by.

“To appreciate what’s in your backyard, you have to paint your backyard and my backyard is Silt,” Young said. “Sometimes my paintings literally come from what I see out my back door.”

Lee said she also believes in observing the subtle sights close at hand. “[In Silt], there’s the wonderful open sky,” she said. “Here I can see the top, bottom and sides of a cloud coming through the canyons.”

Artists capture color, moods

Taylor, who’s lived in Carbondale since 1975, is equally as inspired by areas close to home.

“Although I take excursions to specific places looking for something to draw,” he said, “I am surprised often about what I find on the way to and from that destination.”

Taylor said he doesn’t paint plein-air – literally, “open air” in French – when creating his work. Instead he draws on site, then returns to his studio to paint. Grant has a similar technique. He starts most of his paintings on location on smaller canvases, then creates larger paintings at home in his studio.

“The value of painting on location is an artist’s attempt to capture color and fleeting moods of a rapidly changing landscape,” Grant said.

For Lee, painting landscapes in the outdoors is one of the pleasures in her life.

“I prefer to work in plein-air,” she said. “I’ve heard that every day that you paint on location adds one more day to your life. It’s just kind of magical.”

Colorado Mountain College in Rifle is at 3695 Airport Road. Young and Taylor are represented by the Ann Korologos Gallery of Basalt.


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“”Close to Home” opening reception November 7


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Rifle CMC and Chevron Present Free Concert


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Figurative painter Andrea Kemp coming home

"What Transcends" Andrea Kemp

“What Transcends”
Andrea Kemp


Glenwood Springs native Andrea Kemp is bringing her figurative painting back to the Roaring Fork Valley from Denver when Colorado Mountain College’s ArtShare Gallery exhibits her work. An opening reception will be held on Sept. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m., and Kemp’s paintings will be on view at the gallery Sept. 4-Oct. 27.

Kemp has local roots but she is developing into an artist with worldly appeal. The June/July 2014 issue of International Artist magazine features an overview of Kemp’s process and philosophies on painting. Her paintings of nudes, vegetables, flowers, interiors and landscapes often feature ultra-realistic images so precise they can look like photographs. Her work is primarily shown in Denver, and she was also featured in 2006 at the CMC ArtShare Gallery.

The Colorado Mountain College ArtShare Gallery is at 802 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs. Contact 947-8367 for more information.


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Edwards Campus – 1st Annual Student Art show

Student show

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Empty Bowls Fundraiser in Edwards

Empty Bowls
CMC Edwards “bowl-a-thon” creates hundreds of bowls for fundraising event.

This article was first printed in the Vail Daily News. By Zachary Johnson.
Willow Murphy makes a bowl at Colorado Mountain College for the upcoming Empty Bowls fundraiser. Photo: Bill Willins. Special to the Daily.

Willow Murphy makes a bowl at Colorado Mountain College for the upcoming Empty Bowls fundraiser. Photo: Bill Willins | Special to the Daily.

EDWARDS — The sixth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser returns to the Vail Valley on Aug. 12. Guests are encouraged to take part in a simple meal of soup, bread and dessert contributed by local restaurants in exchange for a cash donation of $20.

Those who join are provided with a bowl to take home as a reminder of all the empty bowls throughout the United States and the world. The money raised is donated to the Vail Valley Salvation Army Food Pantry in an effort toward ending hunger and food deficiency locally. According to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, one out of eight Americans struggle with food inadequacy every day, which the fundraiser is helping to alleviate.

In anticipation of the event, potters and other craftspeople, educators and locals have been hard at work making the handcrafted ceramic bowls that are the cornerstone of the event. A “bowl-a-thon” took place earlier this month at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. Many of the bowls that will be given away on Aug. 12 were made at the bowl-a-thon.

‘Empty Bowls’ concept

But first, some background on the Empty Bowls event. While in Taos, New Mexico, local resident Diana Mathias observed the same fundraiser, which raised a lot of money for its local food bank. Mathias loved the sense of community and felt it was a great event that needed to be brought to the Vail Valley.

“Vail needs that same support to boost and replenish the food bank,” Mathias said. “The concept started on the East Coast, but that is all it was, a concept. I called them and they just said go for it, no trademark, just that the event be called ‘Empty Bowls’ so the idea could continue to spread.”

Willow Murphy, who runs the Pottery Studio at CMC, met Diana Mathias around four years ago during a ceramics class where Mathias was creating bowls for the Empty Bowls project.

“What we do to help the fundraiser is gather a bunch of potters and helpers who then complete approximately 200 bowls in one day then subsequently glaze them,” Murphy said. “It is a collaborative effort between the CMC teachers, students and community members.”

The event is being conducted as an entirely local event with local donors and sponsors and all the proceeds remaining in the Vail Valley. Every item — the bowls, the food, the graphic design, the television, newspaper and radio ads, and the location — is donated, which means every penny goes toward the valley’s local food pantry run by the Vail Valley Salvation Army.

For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, call Tsu Wolin-Brown, of the Vail Valley Salvation Army, at 970-748-0704.




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Artist David Wharton displays at CMC ArtShare Gallery

Tiger Matchbox 1Montana artist David Wharton’s exhibit is a series of art-paper watercolors and three-dimensional altar pieces at the CMC ArtShare Gallery in downtown Glenwood Springs starting July 2.

Employing techniques of book arts, printmaking, watercolor and digital media, Wharton’s creations invite viewers to stop and take a closer look – to decipher meaning from his meticulous technique.

In addition to a series of highly dimensional watercolors, the artist will display a series of 10 altar pieces. Inspired by an assignment he created to interest his students at Whitman College, the altars open like triptych tablets to reveal intricate and often surreal interior spaces.

Wharton, who holds an MFA from the esteemed Cranbrook Academy of Art, has been a visiting professor at five universities. His work has been widely exhibited in galleries across the country and published in numerous art periodicals. An affinity for the blank-canvas emptiness of the rural west brought him to Lewistown, Mont., where he now lives and works.

His current exhibit will be on display July 2-Aug. 27 at the CMC ArtShare Gallery at 802 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs. An opening reception is set for Friday, July 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

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