Art Gallery/Wine Bar Arroyo Finds Its Niche
by Martinique Davis
Sep 20, 2012 | 3496 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TOASTING THE OPENING – Sean Murphy (left) and Scott MacLaren celebrated the opening of their wine bar and art gallery in Telluride’s east end. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
TOASTING THE OPENING – Sean Murphy (left) and Scott MacLaren celebrated the opening of their wine bar and art gallery in Telluride’s east end. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
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TELLURIDE – Arroyo, Telluride’s first art gallery/ wine bar, offers a study of the senses: The space, with its array of Contemporary Southwest Realism art, is alive with color and texture. Proprietors Scott MacLaren and Sean Murphy invite patrons to sample the menu’s extensive selection of fine wine, scotch and tequila, while simultaneously savoring Arroyo’s sophisticated yet relaxed ambiance.


“We wanted to take all of this great art and give people a reason to linger over it,” says MacLaren of the art gallery-cum-wine bar that opened at the beginning of August in an airy space on the east end of Colorado Ave.
These new Telluride entrepreneurs have found a niche, settling a traditional wine bar in an imaginative setting amid the bright acrylic paintings of artist Cathy Carey, the subtle tones of Linda Leslie’s oil-on-canvas landscapes and MacLaren’s own striking photographic images, alongside a lively assortment of works from other American Southwest-inspired painters, potters, sculptors and photographers.      


The partners own an art gallery of the same name on Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, and they have created Telluride’s Arroyo in the same creative vein, but with a flavorful twist.


Arroyo’s selection of wine offers “something for every taste and every budget,” says Murphy, of his and MacLaren’s top picks. With a range of selections to satisfy wine connoisseurs and casual tasters alike, the two take pride in delivering the highest quality wines at the most reasonable prices – a business philosophy they anticipate will provide a long-term recipe for success in Telluride’s vacillating seasonal market.  


They found the Colorado Ave. space, formerly home to the Panhandler kitchen store, in December of last year. But while they loved the location, they worried that it was neither the right time nor the right place for opening a conventional art gallery. After numerous trips to Telluride, they a traditional wine bar would fit the bill, and so the wine bar/art gallery concept was hatched.


So far, it has drawn enthusiastic reviews from locals and visitors alike. Still in its infancy, Arroyo has already attracted a steady following, its customers drawn to the unfussy yet calm setting featuring art that deserves contemplation and a welcoming bar. Arroyo offers a simple menu, comprised of locally crafted artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, handcrafted gourmet wraps and truffles and desserts from Telluride Truffles. The business has already hosted fully catered special events, partnering with local restaurants and private caterers for everything from birthday parties to intimate rehearsal dinners.


The gallery, meanwhile, draws from a diverse group of nearly 40 artists, with exhibits that rotate monthly.
MacLaren and Murphy say that, with its sophisticated setting and reasonably priced offerings at Arroyo hope, they to anticipate attracting a discerning clientele in today’s still-shaky economic climate.


“Our thought was that the one thing people are most looking for are experiential vacations, where part of what they take home is the memory, and not necessarily any physical thing,” MacLaren explains of the Arroyo business concept of combining fine art and fine wine into one accessible package.


“People are still going out, but it’s more to venues like this,” Murphy says. “This is part of the new post-recession fabric of life – lighter fare, in a comfortable yet sophisticated place…and it still gives you the social component enjoyed at a fine restaurant.”


Arroyo is open late, until at least 11 p.m., offering an alternative to Telluride’s traditional late-night venues, while also filling a niche as a place to visit before or after a dinner out.


“We hope to fill that niche that we wanted to discover when we came here [to visit], and were looking for somewhere to go at 9 or 9:30 at night,” Murphy says.


Murphy spent 16 years as a tax attorney in New York City, and MacLaren comes from a background as an art historian and many years in corporate sales. Both men describe themselves as “serial entrepreneurs,” and Arroyo showcases the culmination of their mutual love of both art and wine, in a setting that’s blissfully free of the exaggerated overtones of a stuffy art gallery or snobby wine bar.
As Murphy notes, “Nothing here is static – neither the art nor the wine.”



The gallery is currently accepting submissions for its annual juried art show. Ten finalists will be selected for Arroyo’s November Juried Group Show, in which each artist will feature one piece at both the Telluride and Santa Fe galleries. A grand prizewinner will be selected by Jamie Markle, Publisher and Editorial Director of art publishers FW Media, and will be featured in a one-person show at Arroyo Santa Fe in May and will receive a five-night stay at the Fairmont Heritage Place El Corazon de Santa Fe. For more information stop by the gallery at 220 E. Colorado Ave, or visit www.arroyotelluride.com.
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