‘Why couldn’t we do it here?’ | AspenTimes.com

‘Why couldn’t we do it here?’

Stewart Oksenhorn

In her mining days, Suzanne Stewart spent a lot of time around Silver City, N.M.Over her two decades in the mining business, where she handled business development for engineering and construction firms, Stewart watched as Silver City underwent a partial transformation from a mining town to an arts haven.As part of that personality change, Silver City instituted an annual art walk – a few days where gallery owners, artists, restaurateurs and more swung open their doors to the public. When Stewart moved back to her native Glenwood Springs last year, and took a job at the Main Street Gallery, she began to see the possibilities in the Roaring Fork Valley.”Silver City is a big copper mining area, and a haven for artists, environmentalists and retired miners – an interesting personality mix,” she said. “I thought, if they could do it in that area, why couldn’t we do it here? Because I thought we were in a much more beautiful geographic area.”When Stewart started making calls to drum up support, one of the first was to Jody Ensign at the Basalt Gallery. Ensign said she had been thinking about such an event for years.Finally, the idea is coming to fruition. The first Roaring Fork Valley Art Days is set for Friday and Saturday, with galleries, restaurants, shops and more from Basalt to Glenwood Springs participating. The event is a self-guided tour, as artists and gallery owners put on their most welcoming face. For example, Majid Kahhak of Carbondale’s Kahhak Fine Arts & School will give instruction and a demonstration at his gallery. Mary Noone will be painting on site at the Main Street Gallery in Glenwood Springs. Little Bear Antiques Mall in Glenwood will serve hot dogs to those visiting the shop.In total, 16 venues will participate in the Art Days – seven each in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, and two in Basalt.If things go well, Stewart said she can easily see expanding the concept in the near future.”Our idea is, for the first year, we don’t want to make it a huge deal,” she said. “We want to see how people respond. I was interested in seeing if the Roaring Fork Valley artisans and supporters could get together and support one another. I think there’s a story the Roaring Fork Valley has to tell in art, and I don’t know if it’s been told completely.”For further information, call (303) 601-1227 or 927-9668.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com