Every season is art season in Downtown Boulder. In the spirit of today being the First Friday of the month, I put on my journalism cap and went exploring to find out what downtown has to offer in terms of artistic relief. I found some favorite spots and some pretty cool events going on TONIGHT for first Friday. So if you’re looking for a different way to spend the evening (or an impressive date night, boys… hint…hint) keep reading!
I first stumbled into the Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery on the 1400 block of Pearl Street and had a lovely chat with long time employee Kristen, who used to be responsible for all of the visual displays in the gallery. The BoulderArts and Crafts Gallery has been an artist cooperative since 1971 and has everything from stained glass windows to specially made organic cotton mittens. Tonight, their First Friday Reception will feature a couple of items. First of all, Carol Walker will be there with her beautiful horse photographs. Second, there will be a special demonstration from 6-8 p.m. of the use of an old fashion letter press benefiting The Book Arts League. Letterpress artists will also be in attendance for the demonstration. Sobring your date, refresh yourself, and meet some talented individuals tonight!
Next, I walked across Pearl Street and found myself at Earthwood Gallery. This one’s a personal fav, mostly because they have lots of pieces involving dogs, and who doesn’t love dogs? This particular piece is done by Sarah Rogers and it’s actually a portrait of her own dog! So cute. Roger is from Wyoming and does lots of work of abstract, bright colored animals. She is a part of the current ongoing exhibit at Earthwood, entitled “Woman of the West II” featuring female artists from the west (obviously). Girl power!
I found myself at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art on 13th between Canyon and Arapahoe next. I’ve always been a fan of contemporary art museums, mostly for their wide open spaces, and of course, the pieces that are just a little…odd. Maybe I haven’t reached the peak age of art wisdom, but sometimes it’s hard not to find yourself pleasantly amused and silently wondering where exactly the artists come up with this stuff. Yes, there is a piece is just a sign on the floor that says “Big Whoop.” Point taken? Still, most of the stuff is very cool and appealing to a younger crowd. This Mickey Mouse really caught my eye.
Walk back on 13th street toward Spruce and you’ll find one of the newest additions to the Boulder art scene, the Elm & Oak Gallery. A visit to their website uncovers that they are a design firm offering services like web and print design, brand and logo creation, promotional art, apparel design and custom mural painting. They definitely have an alternative feel. Tonight they are hosting an even called Fighting Distraction featuring new works by local artist Leland Crow. There will be music by Anansi, and Rockstar energy drinks for everyone…they also claim there will be pieces ranging in prices so that there is something for everyone! (Good news college kiddos!) Sounds more like a party than a swanky gallery show.
My last stop was to SmithKlein Gallery on the 1100 block of Pearl Street next to Savvy. I had thepleasure of talking to the owner as well as her son Nathan (great people). They were especially excited because they just booked an artist they have been pursuing for years; Contemporary western artist, Craig Kosak, who is quite exclusive in the galleries he chooses to display his work. Since SmithKlien celebrated their 20th year of business in September, itlooks like they finally earned a spot! They will be receiving mostly pieces featuring bison that will be arriving homecoming weekend. Nathan said they are great pieces for the alum visiting over homecoming who want a piece to commemorate their time in Boulder and celebrate the CU Buffs. But, back to today, SmithKlein will be hosting an opening tonight for two of their Fall Featured Artists, Jessica Garrett and Ann Dettmer. Garrett is only 27 years old and paints well beyond her years. It’s extremely rare to see an artist of her age paint realistic, western scenes. (Us youngins are into abstracts apparently...) Dettmer is well known for her big, chopping brush strokes. I loved these ones of hers. Both are definitely worth checking out.
Well Boulderites, I hope I helped and/or inspired you to begin an art adventure in downtown. These are only a few of the great art shops in Boulder. Check out an entire list of downtown galleries here. Happy First Friday!