Local exhibit ties art, culture and history together
After local artist Chula Beauregard did an artist-in-residence project for a year at the Carpenter Ranch, she wanted to choose another location.
“It’s a great way to really get to know a space,” she explained. And she set her sights on Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp. “I thought about where the most magical place in Steamboat was and then thought, ‘Of course! Perry-Mansfield.’”
For a year, she visited the campus each month, choosing different locations to paint, each with a different focus. At the end of the year, she had 12 paintings — one for each month — as well as several other studio pieces, which further explore the subject. Over a dozen of the paintings are currently hanging in a new exhibit at the Tread of Pioneers Museum titled, “Inspirations — Four Seasons at Perry-Mansfield.”
The collaborative exhibit features Beauregard’s work, as well as photographs and plaques explaining the history of Perry-Mansfield and how it relates to Steamboat Springs.
“Every artist that you talk to who went to Perry-Mansfield said their favorite part of it was nature,” Beauregard said. “I thought this project would be a really cool way to get to know that nature by seeing it through the seasons and discovering what nature was doing during each season.”
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Beginning in February 2019, Beauregard went to Perry-Mansfield once per month to paint, discovering new colors, shades and light patterns each time she visited.
“With my art, I really try to capture what the colors are at the time,” she explained. “I don’t embellish what is happening.”
In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will host a talk with Beauregard and local historian Dagny McKinley who is the author of the book, “Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp: A History of Art in Nature.”
“Perry-Mansfield is a catalyst of the vibrancy of the arts and culture that we have in Steamboat today,” McKinley said. “Charlotte and Portia came to town when it was a ranching community, and they were visionaries. Chula has captured the heritage through her paintings; while we don’t have the same dancers that were there 100 years ago, we have the same cabins, and that sense of history remains as pieces of what makes Steamboat what it is.”
Candice Bannister, executive director of Tread of Pioneers Museum, noted that the connection between art and history runs deep, especially in Steamboat.
“There is a role that artists like Chula are playing,” she said. “Not all of these buildings are going to stand the test of time. Artists play a role in historic preservation and celebrating history. If we can gain appreciation for it through artwork, that potentially spurs a love of what people are seeing, and if they love it, they will save it.”
While maintaining the historic buildings on the property is costly, renovations are underway on the Julie Harris Theater. To support this multiphase project, Beauregard is raffling off one of her paintings for $20 per ticket. When the exhibit ends in February, the raffle winner will be announced.
“Hopefully, this will help raise money and awareness for the project,” she said. “I always want to try to find a way to give back, especially to the places that formed me as an artist. Steamboat is an art town because of Perry-Mansfield; there’s no doubt about it.”
Thirty percent of sales from this exhibit will go to Perry-Mansfield; 10% will go to the Tread of Pioneers Museum. To purchase a raffle ticket, visit CBFA.BetterWorld.org/giveaways/may-at-julie-harris-theater-ori.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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