Kimberly Saari

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Before she came to Steamboat Springs, local art gallery owner Kimberly Saari was headed for the big city. Things didn't work out the way she planned.

"I was set on moving to New York City. I was moving to New York and getting a gallery job there. Then I got engaged and came to Steamboat," she said.

After spending the holidays here since she was 10, Saari moved to Steamboat in August 2005. It didn't take her long to pick up where she left off in the art world.

"That's what I do. I don't do anything else. I'm a gallerist," Saari said.

In August 2007, Saari opened her own space to showcase contemporary work by local, regional, national and international artists. She said K. Saari Gallery is committed to emerging techniques and emerging talent.

"I showcase some of the highest-caliber contemporary local artists, but I also use my gallery as a platform for emerging artists," she said. "When you open a gallery, you're opening yourself to part of the community, and you owe it to the community to provide that."

While owning a gallery is inherently difficult, and deciding to own a gallery in a mountain town compounds that difficulty, Saari said she doesn't feel confined by the remote space. She hopes to get her local artists face time in larger markets through art fairs and gallery connections.

A lifelong art-lover and avid supporter of Steamboat art spaces, Saari said she's "going nowhere" soon.

"I'm going on nine years in this business, and I love it. I'm loving it even more owning my own gallery. It was a little earlier than expected, but the push was needed," she said.

"I've sure learned a lot - I'll tell you that."

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