Willits studio brings artists close to customers | AspenTimes.com

Willits studio brings artists close to customers

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Leigh Vogel/The Aspen Times
Leigh Vogel/The Aspen Times |

Five longtime artists from the Colorado mountains have teamed up to open a pop-up gallery and studio in the midvalley that they say will give customers the ability to interact with them.

Eclectic Studio opened last month at Willits Town Center in a spacious first-floor spot next to Kitchen Collage. (The studio is easy to spot off of East Valley Road because it has a 12-foot stained-glass sculpture of a giraffe out front.)

The organizer of the effort, artist Holly Jorvig, said she was looking for a new space after losing her lease at the Hotel Denver in Glenwood Springs. The hotel wanted the space back for its own use.

Her search brought her to Willits, where she secured significantly more space than she required. Jorvig said she approached other artists she has met over the years and found four who jumped at the idea of operating in a collective gallery and studio. Her criteria, she said, was to bring in artists who already were experienced in direct interaction with customers. Other artists are expected to join as the concept evolves.

Artist Dale Montagne, of Silverthrone, thought the interactive studio would be a good place to display his sculpture, jewelry and glass works and give people a glimpse of how he creates his works. Usually it’s the people running a gallery who are the main contact with artists’ customers, he said. At Eclectic Studio, “it’s the artists themselves” that interact with the customers, he added.

“The interaction with the community takes the edge off the commercial feel,” Montagne said. “People can see how things are actually done.”

The studio is open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. At least one artist is there at all times. However, the work of all five artists is on display and customers are able to browse.

Jorvig’s specialty is hand-coloring photos. Kris and Noemi Kosmowski, of Glenwood Springs, are painters who work mostly with large canvasses. Montagne displays works ranging from fine jewelry, contemporary glass, bronzes, fabricated steel and stainless, stone and other unusual materials. Mike Crabtree, of Eagle, has been a professional photographer for 30 years. His photographs feature landscapes, horses, wildlife abstracts and people.

“I like to think of art as something for everybody,” Jorvig said.

The artists will be displaying their work at the gallery and studio at least through March. They hope to draw from the customers shopping at nearby Whole Foods Market and other stores in Willits Town Center.