Best of the Boat: Best Art Gallery — Steamboat Art Museum |

Best of the Boat: Best Art Gallery — Steamboat Art Museum

The historic Rehder Building, one of Steamboat's original cultural centers, houses the Steamboat Art Museum. (courtesy) 
John F. Russell

See the complete list of 2017 Best of the Boat winners here.

With a big-time renovation underway at its headquarters in the historic, Rehder building at the corner of 8th Street and Lincoln Avenue, the Steamboat Art Museum is officially town’s top art gallery, according to this year’s Best of the Boat voting.

And the accolades couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. This year the building, which has housed a variety of tenants, embarked on an expansion project exposing its historic character while opening the door to new opportunities.

“It’s going to give the Steamboat Art Museum room to bring the types of shows we always wanted to do but couldn’t because we didn’t have enough space,” says Shirley Stocks, the museum’s curator since its inception who retired in May but continues as a volunteer and member of its exhibit committee.

On Dec. 1, the Steamboat Art Museum will unveil its most recent expansion efforts with the exhibit, “Steamboat Art Museum Invitation Exhibit: Imagining the West.”

Next summer will see the arrival of the Oil Painters of America’s 27th Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils, featuring 250 works of representational art. Also coming is the Oil Painters of America National Conference in June 2018, and the American Women Artists National Conference and Exhibit in 2019.

“These upcoming shows really are a huge deal for Steamboat, not just the museum,” Stocks says.

When the project is completed, it will double the museum’s exhibition space to about 7,700 square feet, with the ability to showcase up to 200 to 400 pieces at a time, with additional moveable walls allowing for more exhibit flexibility.

The renovation will also include two additional galleries, the Founders Gallery and Youth Gallery, where artwork from kids participating in museum workshops can be displayed. It will also include an art resource library. The building will also be available for the community to rent out to host chamber music concerts, rehearsal dinners, events, speakers and more.

“I was in California talking to art instructors about SAM a few years ago and was astounded that they knew all about the shows and artists we’ve had at the museum,” says Linda Hamlet, a founding trustee serving on the museum’s first board of directors. “SAM is on the map and known in the art world.”



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