MONTROSE – More than 200 people showed up for an art opening at Around the Corner Art Gallery to honor three area artists last Friday night, surprising gallery owner Bob Brown, who said the evening was “a real wing-ding.”
The reception, with artists in attendance, opened an exhibit called “Out of the West” featuring new works by artists Dan Deuter, Barbara Churchley and Gina Grundemann. The exhibit will continue through the end of the month, Brown said.
Art openings aren’t that frequent in Montrose, Brown said, but this seemed like a good time to showcase the artists who are represented in his gallery anyway. The gallery features a different artist each month and holds an opening every first Friday of the month, but this was different, Brown said.
“They were interested in bringing in new work and advertising this on a very broad level,” he said. “We even advertised in Western Art Collector, but it’s hard to tell what connections we made from that so far.”
Grundemann said she believes that advertising by every means possible paid off with the big turnout, and while she talked to a few collectors, she like hearing what ordinary patrons had to say.
“It was great talking to all the different people about my art and their interest in art,” she said. “When you’re working so close getting larger paintings ready, you get too close to be objective, and it’s really good to present it to the public and get feedback from them.”
Brown, a former oil company executive, said he became a patron of the arts only after his wife Pat starting taking art lessons several years ago, “sort of an empty nest syndrome,” he said, but expanding on her natural creative talents.
Pat is still the creative one, he said, with Bob focusing on the business end of the gallery, which features the work of 31 area artists, all from this area, including Montrose, Ouray and Ridgway as well as Naturita, Fruita, Telluride and Gunnison.
The gallery opening in May of 2008 and will probably have another reception to honor its third anniversary, Brown said.
The Browns, who have been married for 40 years, moved to Montrose not to just open a gallery, but to retire after living in Houston for many years. Colorado was always a favorite place, since the couple met in Estes Park when Pat was attending the University of Colorado and Bob was in the Air Force, stationed in Cheyenne, Wyo.
So Colorado had always been on their short list, but when the couple came to visit Montrose, they crossed all the other towns off.
“We thought it was a good fit for what we wanted to do,” Brown said.
Several art galleries have closed their doors during the current recession, but Brown said the more people know about local artists, the more galleries can stay alive. To learn more about Around the Corner Gallery visit www.montroseart.com or call 249-4243.