Local artist to auction 2 paintings to benefit Steamboat Mountain School
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — For a long time, local artist Lance Whitner’s daughter didn’t like school. She tried conventional and Montessori education, but she wasn’t a traditional “sit-at-the-desk” learner and was “falling through the cracks,” according to Whitner.
Then, the family found Steamboat Mountain School. The co-ed boarding and day high school blends academics and adventure with programming outside of the classroom both on ski slopes and across the globe.
“What’s so remarkable about Steamboat Mountain School is that it takes the kids out into the world, into the desert, up 14ers, and that’s where my daughter really thrives,” Whitner said. “So, the teachers were able to see her strengths, and then they were able to help her bring that into the classroom setting.”
And suddenly, school was finally a positive experience.
“It was absolutely beautiful watching her reclaim her light and learn positive tools to help nurture that light for the rest of her life,” Whitner said.
Now, Whitner’s daughter is thriving as a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Whitner is giving back to the school that helped her daughter so much.
Two of her paintings are up for auction, with the proceeds benefitting Steamboat Mountain School. “Fall Aspens” and “Winter Aspens,” show Whitner’s signature whimsical, layered style. Both measure 40 inches by 30 inches.
“I poured everything I had into these paintings: love, respect, gratitude,” Whitner said. “I want this school to be able to reach as many kids as it can. Every personality is different, and we need all these different personalities for a successful community.”
The paintings were actually created for Steamboat Mountain School several years ago, as part of a project to beautify the staircase at the entrance of the school’s Craig Scheckman Student Education Center. The paintings’ content was a nod to both the location and the mission of the school.
Then, the paintings were photographed, and the photographs enlarged and printed onto metal in a process called “sublimation,” in which the ink is chemically combined with the metal to be hardy and scratch-proof, similar to how a ski is printed with graphics. Finally, the metal prints were sliced into thin sheets that fit to the spaces in between each step. When standing at the base of the staircase, the painting is seen as a single, luminous image.
“It came out better than I could have ever imagined,” Whitner said.
For several years, the original paintings also hung at Steamboat Mountain School. Now, it’s been decided they can be auctioned off to provide a monetary donation to the school. As of Thursday, bids totaled $6,000.
For the near future, the paintings may be viewed in person at Pine Moon Fine Art.
“With any kind of artwork, seeing it in person is so different than seeing a photograph,” Whitner said. “There’s so much more detail and nuance to see in person.”
Whitner is no stranger to using her art to support local causes. She currently has a piece in The Bust of Steamboat exhibit, an exhibit she’s contributed to for years, and another piece of hers will support the Sancy Shaw Memorial Scholarship.
“I’m super grateful for my community and the support, and I feel like it’s really important to give back to the community,” Whitner said.
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