Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. When something is as brilliant as the Nederland Community Center Art at the Center Artists’ Reception, it cannot be allowed to die, it cannot just go away. At the last reception last year co-chairs and organizers, Tracy Brewer and Annie Thayer, announced that they were stepping down and said they hoped someone would step up to continue the tradition.
Brewer has organized 17 opening receptions, celebrating the artists whose work had recently been hung on the community center’s walls. Nothing defines the climate of a town as well as the artwork that is created by its residents and put on display for all to enjoy. Traditionally, the receptions included amazing appetizers, sweet things, and a variety of wine.
Thayer said she would be happy to help with hanging the art, but wasn’t up for organizing the reception.
Last month, community center visitors noticed a new show filling the center’s hallways. A group of dedicated volunteers had collected and hung the show and decided they would keep the reception tradition alive. NCC Coordinator Dawn Baumhover says, “When Tracy and Annie stepped down, no one was able to take it over, so I went to the town administrator, Alisha Reis, and said this can’t go away.
Annie agreed to hang the art and jury the show, but she wasn’t into doing the reception. Alisha told me that I could do it and I said, “Of course I can.”
While this was happening, the NCC Foundation Board decided that it was not going to support the reception financially. It was near the first of the year and Dawn was scheduled to be out of town. Although the show went up in March, the opening was scheduled at the first available date.
A handful of artists from Jamestown,along with Melody Fuller and Jan Reed jumped in to shop for and prepare the food, and the reception was once again a reality. The Town of Nederland has taken over the sponsorship and Town Clerk, Lauren Jane Baur, jumped in to help put it all together.
Last Thursday’s opening was welcomed by the artists and community who were relieved to see the tradition continued. As guests took their time studying the art and enjoying the refreshments, they filled out a form naming their top three favorite pieces of work and artist. At the end of the reception, Carol Cavaliers and her new form of work was voted at the top of the list. She has won many times before in the mixed media category and has been successful in selling her digital images to various companies.
Carol says her favored “Poppies” piece was done using alcohol inks, which are similar to watercolors but more vibrant. “My alcohol ink paintings are more abstract and very organic in appearance.” People described the work as “Stunning,” and “Powerful.”
Second in the vote was watercolor artist Annie Thayer whose painting of a wintry day at frost encased Mud Lake was described as “Evocative.”
Jan Reed’s work “Sisters,” was the third favorite, striking a sentimental chord in many fans who said the painting reminded them of their siblings.
Serene Karplus’s photograph of two butterflies landing simultaneously on two flowers in an explosion of orange, black and yellow, was also a crowd pleaser, an extraordinary example of timing and patience.
Jamestown artist Judy Fisher, a retired commercial artist, has switched from oils to acrylics to render her sea series. She cut up her mother’s tablecloth and sewed it into a classy coat to wear to the occasion.
She explains her “Dancing for the Sunset” on the waves, “I cut cloth figures to adhere to the canvas and then painted over them, bringing them to merge with nature. She had never shown her work before, but at a MidLife Breakfast she met an artist who encouraged her to bring in her work.
Scott Free Lux of Gilpin County entered his work last year, saying he has dabbled in art for the past six years, inspired by being in the mountains. Each of his unique nature paintings have been titled with a reminiscent song. His “Seasons Out of Time,” a triptych of aspens mounted on a piece of tin is a splendid display of color receding into an autumnal distance.
Gaylyn Mercer’s photographs illustrates what one can do with a newer iPhone. While on a trip in Italy she snapped a pond outside a Villa in the 10 minutes before closing time and came up with an amazingly sharp, vividly colored photograph of foliage, reflection, and contrast. The phone, a Motorola Droid from two years ago captured a place and moment that borders on fantasy and the photo was blown up without losing any clarity.
The transition of sponsorship went smoothly and the changes promise to continue the art show receptions, which are already planned for the next year.