MONTROSE – A woman whose business insignia is a wooden heart incised on her gallery floor, with her own initials and those of her husband inside it, knows from love. And beginning early tomorrow evening, that is exactly what Yesenia Duncan will be promoting. Duncan is a co-owner, along with her husband, Adam, of the A+Y (for, naturally, Adam + Yesenia) Design Gallery. It’s one of more than a dozen Main Street businesses celebrating a month of sharing and good deeds beginning with the First Friday Stroll tomorrow, Feb. 1, at 5:30 p.m. The event kicks off at Great Harvest Bakery with an official proclamation by the Montrose mayor, on behalf of City Council, of 28 Days of Generosity. The idea got a jump-start a few months ago from Certified Financial Planner Adam Miller of Elder Ado Financial, who saw it as a fresh way to promote community activism. Duncan saw it as something more specific: a chance to bring downtown institutions and citizens together not only in a spirit of generosity, but of something having to do with Valentine’s Day. This month’s First Friday Stroll theme, in her words: “Love your community, love your downtown businesses, and love the one you’re with.”
Vendors offering art, food and drink and shopping of all sorts both up and down Main Street will participate in the amorous celebration. They’ll offer discounts, bonus gift certificates, and artist receptions and demonstrations, as well as wine, cheese, chocolate and hot cocoa. Among them:
- Pollux will give customers 20 percent off their purchases;
- The boutique Nina Suzanne’s will offer a discount on jewelry by Kathy Ellis;
- Tiffany, Etc. will feature an assortment of Bonus Gift Certificates in various amounts, as well as a chance to win a Valentine’s Day dinner for two.
Local art galleries will also debut new exhibits. Around the Corner Gallery, for instance, will unveil its latest, an Anatomy Show featuring the work of 29 local artists. As for A+Y, it will open a room in the Gallery devoted to the works of young artists. The Duncans have made it their mission to mentor aspiring artists for as long as they’ve had the gallery, and this seemed like a natural extension. “We want to give younger people a chance to learn about the business side of art,” Yesenia said. The idea for a young people’s exhibit originated with a Montrose High School senior who first swung by the gallery about eight months ago. “She brought in her drawings, and we coached her on displaying and framing them. She mentioned a couple of other students who would be interested in displaying their work here, as well. We said, ‘Fine – if you’re serious and want to help organize this, take it,’” Yesenia recalled. “Adam and I had enough on our plates.” The student returned, bearing works from two friends: jewelry, photography, drawings and pastels. Duncan wondered, why not open this up to even more young artists? Accordingly, she, Adam and the three young artists who originally approached A+Y will all serve as jurists for yet more art from Montrose and Olathe high schools in tomorrow’s show. Tuesday afternoon found Duncan scurrying between the two high schools, picking up works for the Kid’s Room. The chosen artists will all get advice on reworking, displaying, and pricing their pieces. “We’re letting them sell their art,” Yesenia said. “And we’ll take a reduced commission.” For these artisans, gallery representation at such a young age may seem like something from a dream. And on Friday, the students’ first professional association, with the A+Y Gallery, will be a case of love the one you’re with.