Margaret Hair: More art than ink

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Margaret Hair

Margaret Hair's column appears Fridays in the 4 Points arts and entertainment section in the Steamboat Today. Contact her at 871-4204 or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com.

— On the first Friday of every month, 15 or so local art galleries and other venues keep their doors open a little later than they usually would.

They invite locals and visitors inside for the shared experience of seeing art that hasn't been available for public viewing before that night. They gather work by local, regional and national artists, offering a chance for gallery visitors to pick those artists' brains about the new painting they're unveiling or the sculpture they spent two years creating or the installation that miraculously got in place before the reception started.

It's a great way to foster a sense of cohesion in a bustling small-town visual arts community.

It's also next to impossible to give print space to all the artists who will be showcasing their efforts today or at any First Friday Artwalk.

For tonight's March event, 16 downtown galleries, restaurants, bookstores, clothing stores, hair salons and real estate companies will host a three-hour reception centered on art. At least 11 of those locations will have work on display that's new to the venue, or to town, or to existence in general. Many of those shows feature local artists, all with a unique vision for the art they're willing to put out to the public.

In this week's 4 Points, the Art and Scene pages highlight some of those artists. I spent some time with the AP Studio Art students from Steamboat Springs High School for the Scene page story about their first professional-level show at the new Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts and checked in with artists at three local galleries for the new show roundup you'll find on the Art page.

Even at the venues covered - just one, actually, the Center for Visual Arts - that leaves out painter Lance Whitner, a papier-mÕche show by Lowell Whiteman Primary School students and work by the gallery's 50-plus member artists.

In an effort to include all the venues involved in First Friday in the first 4 Points of each month, we print a full listing of gallery openings and events in the art calendar on page 9. Throughout the month, 4 Points touches on at least a few of those venues with feature articles leading up to or after First Friday - check out a Feb. 27 interview with Brian Leach, a carpenter and illustrator featured this month at Urbane clothing store, at www.steamboatpilot.com. Also look at the Steamboat Pilot & Today Web site for a gallery of images featured at various Artwalk venues.

Not everything will fit in print, and with every gallery in town opening new work on the same night, not everything will be given the space it easily could fill.

To learn more about the artists featured in local galleries, check out their work from 5 to 8 p.m. today during Artwalk, and check the Web site and 4 Points for continuing online and print coverage.

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