Framing a vision

Five months into business venture, artists are pleased with results

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Artist and gallery owner Susan Gill Jackson hangs her new work for tonight's all-gallery show opening reception at 5 p.m. at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat.

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Artist and gallery owners Bonnie McGee and Susan Corser hang artwork for tonight's all-gallery show opening reception at 5 p.m. at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat.

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Painter and bookbinder Laura Wait hangs some of her work for tonight's all-gallery show opening reception at 5 p.m. at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat.

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Artist and gallery owners Mary Levingston, Judy Jones and Susan Gill Jackson collaborate about tonight's all-gallery show opening reception at 5 p.m. at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat.

— Twenty-six artists came together to open the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat five months ago. Each brought an artistic talent, and each learned something from the strengths of the others.

Dancy Gould St. John is a landscape painter who also is known as the "brains of hanging" for the gallery. It is her job every month to reorganize the arrangement of exhibits and oversee the gallery aesthetic.

"We're trying to avoid that art fair look where everything is hung from floor to ceiling," St. John said. "Each artist's space has its own character and voice."

St. John said hanging the art is an art in itself.

"There is a real learning curve for hanging the shows faster," St. John said. "Even little fundamental things, like realizing we need another ladder and hammer."

Many things have surprised painter and textile artist Sue Gallion since the gallery opened five months ago.

"We've all learned what appeals to the public, more about displaying and there have been so many people in here," Gallion said. "And we all like to be in here - if not - I feel like I'm missing out on things. I find it exciting to see each artist's new work and it's so much fun to be together. We're a family."

The work of the 26 artists rotates around the gallery every month, as will their roles within the business.

"There are nine board positions, and we all have to do it one way or another," said watercolorist Mary Levingston. "But I'm hoping the financial person will stay."

Being a part of the gallery has been motivation for Levingston.

"I get more opportunities to paint and create," she said. "Because now I have somewhere to hang it."

Before opening, gallery members spent more than a year planning.

"This whole side of town used to be dry cleaners, mechanic shops and gas stations," Levingston said. "For not having signs and being so far down the street, we have done unbelievable. I would say it's a dream come true for a lot of us."

St. John agreed.

"I could never do this by myself. I don't have the time, finances or artwork," she said. "For me, it feels like we are a part of something big happening in Steamboat."

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