Red West Gallery is Steamboat’s new contemporary art hub, artist enclave
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Walk through the doors of Red West Gallery in downtown Steamboat Springs, and Andrew Ramiro Tirado’s large-scale sculpture made from reclaimed metal packaging straps greets visitors.
“You experience the unexpected,” said local artist Pat Walsh about the new gallery. “There are so many different nuances everywhere you look.”
Created by the team of Walsh, Susan Schiesser, Jim Cook and property owner Eric Rogers, Red West features sculpture, fiber installation, oil, acrylic and mixed media paintings and video installations by an exciting roster of Steamboat and Front Range artists.
The new gallery at 1125 Lincoln Ave. opens to the public Friday with “Disorderly Conduct” as its featured exhibit. The opening coincides with Steamboat’s First Friday Artwalk from 5 to 8 p.m.
“Our unified vision is to have this be a visual experience that leads you from one room to the next through color, movement, sculpture and design — to flow through it all,” said Schiesser, another local artist who will also have a few pieces in the exhibition.
Schiesser, Walsh and Cook want Red West Gallery, which they describe as a pop-up contemporary gallery, to be a catalyst for creating an artists community and showcasing work Steamboat has never seen before.
“There’s texture, color, and even, different floors as you go from one room to the next creating a visual experience that you can immerse yourself in,” Schiesser said. “No part of the gallery is less than the rest – it gets better and better from room to room and you keep discovering something new.”
There are fiber installations in vivid colors by Joel S. Allen, as well as a video installation by the award-winning animator and instructor Stacy Steers, who teaches at University of Colorado Boulder where she has taught students like “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Other featured artists include Betty Ross of Colorado Springs, Mark Yale Harris of Carbondale and Steamboat artists Dawn Wild, Chula Beauregard, Missy Borden, Carole McDermott and Cynthia Zyzda.
“I think it’s like music – it’s interactive,” Schiesser said. “If 2D and 3D art and sculpture can somehow reach out and involve you in it in more than just a casual way as a general observer, that makes the whole experience more real.”
“Walking in here everyday, I get goose bumps just thinking about what has been accomplished in just two months,” Walsh said. “It’s both rewarding and humbling when artists of this caliber bring us their work, are thrilled and want to be a part of what we’re doing.”
The idea to create a community of artists began with Cook’s vision to transform the vacant second story of the building into 16 artist studios — an enclave where artists can collaborate and inspire each other. He calls the building “Imagine.”
Cook said he envisioned the gallery becoming the connecting link for the downtown arts district by creating another art destination between Gallery 89 at 1009 Lincoln Ave. and the historic Depot Art Center across the bridge on 13th Street.
The Imagine artists will also participate in the First Friday Open House and will offer classes and demonstrations in the gallery throughout the summer.
“Having the artist studios and a gallery like this creates this great community where there’s this feedback and exciting energy but also, difference,” Walsh said. “Everyone is working on something different so you get to appreciate all forms and all visions.”
On opening night, the gallery exhibition will also feature a 1950s cigarette machine – put quarters into the machine and out comes art work from the gallery printed in miniature version onto the bubblegum candy boxes – as well as a viewing room for the stop-motion style video installation.
Live music by bass player Tim Cunningham accompanied by Cash Globe on the jazz piano will be performed during Friday’s opening.
The gallery on the main level of the building will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“This is the real deal,” Schiesser said. “This has really come together in a unified way, and I think it’s created a potentially significant contribution to the art community at large.”
“There’s other artists and more work from these artists – it doesn’t stop here,” Walsh added.
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