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Exhibit inspired by Yampa Valley’s iconic barns

Frances Hohl/For Steamboat Today
Artist MB Warner hangs her paintings of local historic ranches at the Depot Art Center for the newest show, “Barn Raising," sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Arts Council
Frances Hohl

If you go:

What: Barn Raising exhibit opening

When: 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2

Where: Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.





Artist MB Warner hangs her paintings of local historic ranches at the Depot Art Center for the newest show, “Barn Raising,” sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Arts Council

Frances Hohl

“A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life’s true priorities are clear… it’s about love, life and learning.” — Lauren Davis Baker

There’s a “barn raising” going on at the Depot Art Center in Steamboat Springs but don’t worry about bringing a hammer and nails, these barns are stunning representations of local artists.

The new exhibit, which premieres from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 2 during First Friday Artwalk, features 16 local artists who were given one prompt: barns.

Artist Karen Desjardin’s piece is actually featured on the posters seen throughout town. It’s a sparse barn silhouetted by the orange morning glow of fog and field.

“I grew up on a dairy farm so this show — barns — speaks to me,” said Desjardin, whose old childhood farm is still owned by the family back in Wisconsin.

While Desjardin’s photograph on canvas was taken in Montana on a serene ride out west, most of the other work in the exhibit is visions of what Yampa Valley residents see every day.

“This is what I look at to and from work in the morning,” said Mary Beth Galer, whose oil painting was inspired by her commute from Lynx Pass to Steamboat.

“I love the round hay bales and the light shining on them in the evening,” Galer said.

Artist Susan Gill Jackson came to Steamboat 21 years ago and stayed for the view.

“You turn 360 degrees, and there’s a painting,” said Jackson, whose oil of the Larson Barn on Routt County Road 131 is picture perfect. “When the light hits something right, you have to go for it.”

Dressed in a tattered, paint-covered T-shirt, Jackson explained, “You can look at one place a million times, then the light hits it just right. It’s a moment.”

Artist Karen Desjardin captures a picturesque sunrise in her photograph being featured in the Barn Raising show at Steamboat’s Depot Art Center.

This art show is more than just pretty pictures on a wall. The Steamboat Springs Art Council selected a variety of mixed media artists to offer their visions.

For example, Barbara Sanders’ photo etching, or “photogravure,” of an old shed is part of a dying art.

“There’s a love of printmaking you can see here,” said fellow artist M.B. Warner as she looked at Sanders’ piece — a shed whose wood was marred by a beautiful green patina only found in nature. “Everything’s going digital but this is physical. It’s amazing she can get this depth and feel from this picture.”  

Warner is no slacker herself. The painter chose three historical locations for the “Barn Raising” art exhibit — Selve Farms, Fetcher Ranch and Pleasant Valley, all a part of her active life in some way.

“I ride my bike out to Pleasant Valley three times a week,” Warner said.

There will also be several examples of encaustic art where heated wax is fused with paint or other mediums. Mary Kay Ghaiglia painted the Mad Creek barn, and her encaustic work pops off the canvas in gold and browns.

“I love the texture and translucency of it and the ability to scrape back,” Ghaiglia said.

Another interesting piece is Jeanne Schneider’s encaustic mixed media art. She took old photos collected over the years and even a page out of an old rancher’s notebook from the ‘40s and created a life.

“I wanted to tell a story of this old barn and the people who lived there and what their life was like,” Schneider said.

According to her clever piece, which hangs from a piece of barn wood, the rancher paid $2.25 for horseshoeing back in March of 1944.

Prices on the Barn Raising pieces range from $150 to $2,400. The exhibit also features acclaimed Steamboat artist Chula Beauregard.


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