First Friday ArtWalk offers 17 exhibits, grand opening for local artists collective |

First Friday Artwalk offers 17 exhibits, grand opening for local artists collective

“Twilight Trees in Winter” by Karen Desjardin

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — First Friday Artwalk in March features a lion’s share of brand-new installations across downtown Steamboat Springs. Below are glimpses into just a few of the 17 art exhibits available, which are all free and open to the community from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 1.

W Gallery presents Karen Desjardin’s “Lost In Motion”

For most of her photography career, Karen Desjardin focused on documenting the facts through her lens, whether as a newspaper photographer across Colorado or a photographer of mountain and road bike competitions in France and Switzerland.

But while living in Europe, she attended a workshop exploring alternative methods of photography and was immediately intrigued. She began exploring ways of abstractifying her photographs.

If you go

What: First Friday Artwalk
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 1
Where: Downtown Steamboat Springs, Lincoln Avenue

List of participating galleries and businesses.

“Working as a photojournalist, you’re capturing the moment, documenting something as it is,” Desjardin said. “In my personal work and this gallery series, I’m freer to create images that are more abstract, dreamlike, ethereal.”

Desjardin’s series, currently featured in W Gallery, is called “Lost In Motion,” depicting aspen trees from local groves including Buffalo Pass, Mount Werner and Muddy Pass Lake.

“Aspen trees are one of my favorite things about the area. I love skiing in them, hiking in them,” Desjardin said. “They’re my happy place.”

To get the desired impressionist effects, Desjardin sets her camera to long exposure and physically sweeps her camera around to capture movement within one still photograph. Each piece flaunts a vibrant, puzzling color scheme — the light and forms creating aspens that seem to be dancing, shivering or disappearing. The whole scene is slightly detached from reality but is still true enough to feel familiar.

The exhibit is part of the Month of Photography Denver, a collaborative display of fine art photography in more than 100 museums, schools and galleries in Denver and across Colorado.

“Lost in Motion” will be on display in W Gallery through mid-April, at which point Desjardin and her husband will pack up their airstream and head off to Utah and California for several weeks. During the trip, Desjardin plans to add to her ongoing portfolio of photographs featuring the Airstream in spectacular places in nature.

Photo by John Lanterman

The Depot presents grand opening of Riverwalk Collective gallery “Spring Forward”

After Steamboat’s Center for Visual Arts gallery closed in September, several of the artists approached the Steamboat Springs Arts Council — now known as Steamboat Creates — to explore potential ideas for a new space.

Steamboat Creates and the artists worked together to form Riverwalk Collective, which has added several new members to feature 10 regional painters, photographers and a paper sculptor. Steamboat Creates contributed organizational structure and support staff for the collective, according to Steamboat Creates Executive Director Kim Keith.

“We were delighted to accept a generous offer from Kim Keith to move our group into the Depot, which provides a first-rate location in a beautiful historic building,” said Dave Lambeth, a painter in the collective and chair of Steamboat Creates’ Visual Arts Committee.

The collective will debut its art as a team Friday at the Depot Art Center. In addition to wine and hors d’oeuvres, local Celtic band Spilt Pint will be performing for the opening.

“This is the first time that all of us will be presenting together,” said Marion Kahn, who will be showing abstract and impressionistic paintings. “It’s such a high quality of art that we’re presenting. I’m really excited about it.”

The art on display ranges from classical to representational to fully abstracted.

“There’s going to be something for everyone,” Kahn said.

“It’s been great to collaborate and talk with other artists as part of the collective,” said John Lanterman, who explores ideas and stories of the real and emerging west through black and white photography. “We’re encouraging each other to explore our art, in whatever medium you’re in. That creative spark in the group is really great.”

Other members of the collective include: Steve Bolander, who paints landscapes of the West; Audrey Bortz, a photographer; Paulina M. Johnson, who sculpts with paper; Anna Lee Lipman, a painter; Al Reiner, a photographer; Marcella Rose, a painter; and Jason Santucci, a photographer.

Riverwalk Collective’s show will be on display in the Depot’s main gallery from March through September, each month exploring new art within a unifying theme.

“I’ve been fortunate to quickly fall in with a group of amazing artists, whose talents equal or surpass what I had seen in my earlier art experiences in the ‘big cities,’” said Lambeth, who has shown his paintings in Atlanta and Mexico.

“The Riverwalk Artist Collective looks forward to welcoming Steamboat friends, neighbors and visitors to our First Friday Artwalk grand opening and to future shows,” Lambeth said.

“We’re grateful for this opportunity,” said Kahn.

“In Out, Up Down 3” by Susan Oehme

Low Country Kitchen and Kimberly Saari present Susan Hover Oehme and featured Oehme Graphics’ artists

Kimberly Saari has been a gallery owner and curator in several local spaces since 2007. On Friday, for the first time in three years, she’ll curate the opening reception of a new show at Low Country Kitchen in its new location at 207 Ninth St.

“I wouldn’t do this show with just anybody, but I love Low’s space and the southern charm,” Saari said. “And for me, food and art always go together hand in hand.”

Upon entering the remodeled 1918 Craftsman-style house that houses Low, viewers will see Oehme’s paintings first. Oehme is a Steamboat-based and master painter and the founder of local fine print publisher Oehme Graphics.

Next, viewers can meander through walls of works by Claire Lieberman, Melissa Meyer and Catherine Shuman Miller.

“The space has all these cool little rooms, which is what interested me in this particular space. It’s a good way to organize the pieces,” Saari said.

Lieberman, Meyer and Miller are all based in New York, and all are nationally known. Each artist traveled to Steamboat to work with Oehme Graphics, and the work on the display for this show was all created locally during those residencies.

“We’re heading into spring, so I wanted to have some really vibrant pieces,” Saari said. “I wanted the whole gallery to feel really fresh.”

All pieces on display will be available for sale, and Saari will donate a portion of the show’s sales to Steamboat Creates.

“I’m all about promoting the arts in the Yampa Valley,” Saari said.

To reach Julia Ben-Asher, call 970-871-4229 or email or follow her on Twitter @JuliaBenAsher.

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