‘Endangered Landscape’ Art Exhibit Opens Sept. 26

By David Montgomery

Over 45 regional artists will display their creations in the Art for the Endangered Landscape: Honoring Wolf Creek Art Show and Sale. This traveling exhibition will have a opening reception at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, 2313 Eagle Drive, on Saturday, September 26 from 4 – 7 pm. The show and sale will be on display during the Center’s regular business hours until November 1.

The dozens of paintings, photographs, sculptures and jewelry were all inspired by the natural wonders found on Wolf Creek Pass along the Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. The show is designed in part to promote regional artists as they serve witness to this alpine wild country threatened by massive resort development.

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Detail, painting by Durango, CO artist Rebecca Koeppen.

Proceeds from the show sales will go to show sponsors in efforts to counter a proposal that would place a small city at the 10,000 foot headwaters of the Rio Grande and San Juan Rivers. Sponsors of the show include Colorado Creative Industries, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC), Rocky Mountain Wild, San Juan Citizens Alliance and Friends of Wolf Creek.

The exhibition will remain in Pagosa Springs until the end of October and then travel to Durango in November and finish its tour in Alamosa in December. These are the three closest population centers to the regionally significant Wolf Creek.

Show sponsors want these local residents who will be most affected by development to be aware of the natural and wild country that could be forever lost, according to SLVEC show organizer and painter David Montgomery from Alamosa.

Many of the show artists convened on the Wolf Creek Pass on June 20 for a celebratory day of on-location painting, drawing and creating while listening to local musicians sharing their tunes.

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Other show artists explored the area on their own terms and time. One painter, Richard Prather from northern New Mexico, recently ventured to Alberta Lake near the proposed development and rendered a roosting bald eagle at the other end of the lake. Three- dimensional artists, such as Creede jeweler Jennie Inge, crafted wares inspired by this singular high country.

“This show gives artists the opportunity to walk the talk,” asserts Montgomery. “It gives those of us who champion wild areas though our art to generate funds to counter impactful developments to primal scenes of beauty.”

Earlier this year, the Rio Grande National Forest finished an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that granted a land transfer to resort developers near Wolf Creek Ski Area that would allow direct access to US Highway 160 from the proposed resort. This decision initiated a lawsuit from conservation groups that questioned the alleged limited scope of the EIS. As it stands now, resort developers have agreed to suspend any construction until the courts determine the validity of the EIS.

For more information please visit this website, or call the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council at 719-589-1518.

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