Heroes Among Artists
By David Josselyn
2017 marks the 70th anniversary of Colorado’s longest running continuous juried arts show located right here in Central City’s Washington Hall; the State’s longest continuously used public building. A juried show is open to all artists submitting art for jurors to choose which pieces are deserving to be in the show. From the chosen pieces, a judge then awards prizes to the best of the best. The Gilpin County Arts Association (GCAA) packed the house for the grand opening ceremonies on Saturday, June 3, artists and art enthusiasts. In honor of a remarkable year, they brought in big names in the art world as jurors: Bob Smith for 3-dimensional art (ceramics, fabrics, sculptures, etc.); Stephen Quiller for 2-dimensional art (pastels, watercolors, etc.); and John Fielder for photography. The awards judge this year was Christopher Herron from the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art which is significant because Vance Kirkland was on the GCAA art board 70 years ago. Of the hundreds of pieces entered, more than 200 were selected for the show with 59 photographs, 61 2-dimensional pieces, and the body of work of 18 artists. Many people commented that this was the best show the GCAA has had in years in both quality and quantity.
The GCAA board members amid searching for a new gallery manager began to put this show together last September with the help of renowned Gilpin artist Virginia Unseld. The volunteer board and helpers put in countless hours meeting with people, broadcasting a call for artists, ensuring locations are reserved for various needs, assembling pictures of all the art to send to jurors, and hanging the show. The Gallery is known to be the “best kept secret in Colorado,” but with this show, Treasurer Bonnie Cowherd says “It won’t be long before we are no longer known” for that. Secretary Carol Mirarck remarked, “I only heard what a terrific show it was and how great the Gallery looked and the garden!” Newly hired Gallery Manager Dawn Neu put in many volunteer hours before her full-time paid job began and Historian Eric Miller exclaimed “Hat’s off to each and every board member for playing their part in a most successful event. Dawn was an excellent choice!” Gardener Dorothy Connors added, “Dawn and newbie Michelle (assistant manager) were just great together.”
Although Bob Smith and Stephen Quiller could not make the opening, landscape photographer and activist John Fielder was on hand for the opening. Fielder was signing books, but took to the time to talk to and critique each photographer he met, giving them personal one-on-one advice and kudos. Prior to the start, he gave a free slideshow presentation across the street in the historic Opera House. The GCAA gives a large shout of thanks to the Central City Opera for allowing the use of their facility and encouraging folks to check out their performances.
The juried show will be on display through August 6 in Washington Hall in Central City. All pieces are for sale and several sold the night of the opening. To see the grandeur of the juried pieces, be sure to visit early!
2-Dimension: Honorable Mention to Tricia Bass for “Autumn Rhythm”; 3rd Place to Marilyn Pinaud for “Autumn;” 2nd Place to Steve Griggs for “Reoccurring Dream;” and 1st Place to Virginia Unseld for “Lingering Snow.”
3-Dimension: Honorable Mention to Ruth Briggs; 3rd Place to Eileen Leland; 2nd Place to Tania Rustage; and 1st Place to Gail Watson. The 3D artists were judged based on their body of work instead of individual pieces this year.
Photography: Honorable Mention to Terese Metallo for “Holding up the Sky;” 3rd Place to Beth Riser for “Bluebells;” 2nd Place to Josh Trefethen for “Harmony & Balance;” and 1st Place to Karla Fuller for “Wander Wonder.”
The Colorado Pastel Society Award winner, judged from solely pastel paintings, goes to Virginia Unseld for “Lingering Snow.”
The Josephine Schwartz memorial Award, judged from solely jewelry pieces, goes to Marjorie Scarpino for “Handmade Bronze Clay Leaf Necklace.”
And finally, the Elaine Schoelzel Memorial Best of Show Award, judge from every entry in every category, goes to Nancy Priest for “This is My Land,” an acrylic and gold leaf on paper piece.