Steamboat Art Museum opens doors to brand new exhibit, space |

Steamboat Art Museum opens doors to brand new exhibit, space

The new expansion at the Steamboat Art Museum opened with its "Imagining the West" invitational exhibit, which opened this month.
John F. Russell
  If you go: What: Steamboat Art Museum When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday Where: 807 Lincoln Ave.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The culmination of a multi-year project at the Steamboat Art Museum has finally been unveiled.

“Everybody that’s been here any length of time has a personal story about this building from its previous history,” said Rod Hanna, Steamboat Art Museum board president, as he looked at the exposed rafters above.

The museum opens the doors to its newly renovated and expanded space with a new invitational exhibit, “Imagining the West,” this month.

The show celebrates the museum’s grand re-opening and showcases the $800,000 extensive renovation project that transformed the 1920 addition of the Rehder Building, which has been home to the art museum for 11 years, into additional exhibit space.

“What an amazing transformation of this building, which has lots of memories for so many of us who at one time or another ate, drank, shopped or banked in this historic building,” Hanna said. “To see it rehabilitated and now utilized as a center for the visual arts is gratifying to the museum founders, who had the vision and persevered in the forming years, and to the exceptional number of people who made significant contributions to the capital campaign.”

The project doubled 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 flexibility in the types of exhibits, as well as the number of pieces the museum can display.

Adding two smaller galleries to the original Helen Rehder Gallery in the log room and Macnab Gallery in the front room, the new space will include a Founders Gallery and Youth Gallery, where the work of kids who participate in museum workshops can be displayed.

The recent renovation marks the final phase of a $1.7 million, multi-year project that completes the historic rehabilitation of what was built in 1905 as the First National Bank, and in 1920, as the Northwest Colorado Automotive Garage, both on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The museum now offers 8,500 square feet of exhibition space, art studios and classrooms, art library and administrative offices, creating a true cultural center. Built of locally quarried sandstone and brick from the Steamboat Brick Yard, the space pays homage to its historic roots with elements like the exposed beams, stained glass and gargoyles from when the building was home to the Brandy Wine Restaurant.

“You walk back here so many times and see the process, but it’s surreal to be standing here now looking at it,” said SAM Executive Director Betse Grassby. “Now, it’s all about the future — the exhibits we can bring in, the events we can have that augment the exhibits and variety of workshops we can offer.”

“Imagining the West” presents the work of 42 artists, including the historical representations of Heide Presse and John Fawcett, the wildlife representations of Ken Carlson and Jim Morgan, the contemporary cowgirls of Donna Howell-Sickles, the bronze animals of Joshua Tobey and Sandy Graves, or the landscapes of Scott Christensen and Matt Smith.

The exhibit is free to the public and runs through April 7, 2018.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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