A celebration of summer

Kelly Silva

— After shipments of artwork arrived on the doorstep of the Depot Art Center Monday afternoon, artists and volunteers spent Tuesday and Wednesday placing each art piece in the appropriate position.

Everything from canvas to wood structures, earth-toned colors to the fiery and vibrant has been strategically hung to best represent the nature of the artwork.

Beth Banning, assistant for programming at the Depot, said chairwomen Pam Ryan and Megan Morgan have made sure the lighting is perfect and various art pieces complement the others hanging next to them.

Although one sculpture stood in the main gallery Tuesday afternoon, Banning said it just isn’t enough.

“I wish we had more sculptures. But oh, well what are you going to do?” Banning said.

After searching through 110 applications and looking over more than 300 pieces of art ranging from oil paintings to sculptures, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council concluded that 120 pieces will be shown at this year’s Summer Art exhibit.

Banning said she’s had an incredible number of artists from all over the country ship artwork to the Depot for Summer Art 2001. And the vast art representation of the country is due to Internet publicity.

Because the Arts Council posted a “Call For Artists” on its Web site, the council received applications from around the country as well as from Canada and Thailand.

“There are different sites specifically for artists. I think it was because of that,” Banning said of the increase in numbers outside Colorado.

“The caliber of artists is a lot higher than last year.”

Chosen art for Summer Art 2001 includes: oil paintings, water media paintings, prints, sculpture, jewelry, pastels, drawings, mixed media, photography and digitally produced images.

Artists knew even their finest work presented at Summer Art could be sold, so they’ve adjusted their prices accordingly.

Chula Walker-Griffith, a local artist who has entered countless youth art shows and the winter art show in 1998, will present “The Magic Tree Series.”

Her second piece in the series is the only one Walker-Griffith could part with and sell, she said.

While Walker-Griffith was serving her more than two years in the Peace Corps in Gabon, Africa, she found a bundle of trees she felt she had to recreate.

“They were so incredible, so magical I wanted to capture that,” Walker-Griffith said.

Her final piece hanging at the Depot is a part of the mixed-media category because of its unique blend of drawing and painting.

Walker-Griffith also collected the different leaves from the West African forest, painted them and created an impression on the canvas. Although limited with her supplies, she said she made do with what she had.

Banning said every painting, sculpture or other art piece will have its own price, but prices for bin, or unframed, work cannot exceed $200.

Usually bin work is a smaller rendition of the original pieces.

“(The art) is anywhere from $150, I think is the lowest, to … well, the piece we’re still waiting on from Thailand, I think that’s priced at $8,000,” Banning said, amazed.

Don Tudor, a Steamboat resident since 1969, finally evolved his hobby into a career with photographing sports and architectural designs, as well as nature.

Tudor presents “Shoreline” and “Lilies” in Summer Art 2001, which he manipulated only slightly.

“I really don’t manipulate my photography. I only make the same adjustments that a traditional darkroom would do,” Tudor said.

After a formal photography education at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, Tudor decided to listen to his construction buddies who told him he should consider photography as a career.

“I thought … ‘Maybe I should listen to those people,'” Tudor said.

Both of Tudor’s images were scanned from slide film, and only “Lilies” was color corrected.

The artists’ work will be judged Thursday evening by Michael Komanecky, chief curator at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Banning said Diane Cionni, a member of the visual arts committee, recommended Komanecky to judge the show.

Usually Summer Art has a Colorado-resident show judge; however, Komanecky seemed like a perfect fit for the national representation of artists.

Just in case Komanecky knows one of the artists in the show, each art piece has been recognized with a sticker of the category under which it falls, such as mixed media or water media, for instance.

The juried art show will have a first, second and third place, along with an award for the best of show.

Also an adjunct professor at the School of Art at Arizona State University, Komanecky will present a slide show Saturday morning on folding-screen styles from the American and European 19th and 20th centuries.

“That Perfect Gem of Art” was created for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in 1984. Komanecky also organized an exhibit in 1984 for the Yale University Art Gallery on the subject of folding screens called “The Folding Image.”

Komanecky will travel through the history of the folding screen and the Japanese influence that has fascinated contemporary artists.

Komanecky wrote to the Arts Council that folding screens originally were used to partition large spaces, offer privacy and block drafts. Now, artists are finding them useful for decoration and design from pieces of furniture, sculpture and painting.

Komanecky wrote that famous artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Pablo Picasso and Ansel Adams (many others were listed) had not only shared art and designing, but each created one or more folding screens.

Along with presenting a slide show Saturday morning, Komanecky also will take part in a critique show of the participating artists.

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