Garfield County artists highlighted at CMC art show

Alex Zorn
Citizen Telegram
Mark and Joyce Rinehart from Silt discuss the art at the Colorado Mountain College spring art show at the Rifle campus.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Colorado Mountain College turns 50 this year, and to celebrate, CMC Rifle opened a fine art show on campus Friday night, recognizing only Garfield County artists. Nearly 70 pieces will be on display over the next two weeks, each of them created by an artist living in Garfield County.

“The whole purpose is to highlight Garfield County and those that are products from this great part of the state, and what better way to celebrate than to have their art up,” said Carrie Besnette Hauser, president and CEO of Colorado Mountain College. “Our whole 50th is because of you. This entire year is an expression of our appreciation.

“We wanted the celebration to be about Garfield County and the rich talent that we have here.”

More than 50 Garfield County artists are featured in the exhibit, though any artist living in the county was invited to submit as many as three pieces for judging, according to the show’s curator Alice Beauchamp. Out of a total 208 pieces submitted, judges selected 68 pieces for the show.

Attendees spent much of the evening walking down the main corridor of the school, checking out all of the art that included everything from photography and watercolors to woodworking and sculpture.

The show will be on display until May 7, so CMC students will get plenty of chances to check out each piece on their stroll to class.

“We don’t have a lot of art museums on the Western Slope so it’s always amazing to me how much talent we have in the valley,” said Lanny Grant, who’s “Castle Creek Valley” painting was awarded third place in the show.

Grant teaches Painting I during the fall semester at CMC Rifle and is currently teaching Painting II to eight students this spring, some of whose work will be on display just outside their classroom.

The exhibit gave his class the rare opportunity to not only appreciate local art but to study and learn from it in ways that would never be possible from a slideshow or textbook.

“It provides a great way to review and study everybody’s work,” he said. “I’ve been painting since I was 10, and to be able to still do it and teach it to others is great.”

Scot Gerdes, lab tech for the photo program, said that the exhibit provides a great opportunity for students to learn and talk about others’ work, including his own.

“It’s great to see so many people here looking at the art, that’s what artists really like: to have people look at our work,” he said.

The show included prizes for first, second and third place, with Gerdes and David Schroeder taking home $250 for first, both with color photography pieces. Second place went to Minisa Robinson for her wood burn and watercolor piece “Chaos,” and Grant placed third with his painting “Castle Creek Valley.”