Young Glenwood artist at home in Wild Women show |

Young Glenwood artist at home in Wild Women show

Cailey Arensman
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Dale Shrull/Post Independent Lydia Claussen poses with some of her artwork that is part of the 2009 Wild Women exhibit at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. The Glenwood Springs High School sophomore is one of 16 female artists featured in the exhibit. There will be an artist reception Friday at 6 p.m.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – In the back of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts stands a mannequin clad in a colorful dress made of paint-covered plates and pictures from magazines

It’s one part of the summer-long Wild Women exhibit. In its design, the dress matches the show’s unique and creative spirit.

But it’s wild in another way as well.

This dress is designed by a teenager.

Artist Lydia Claussen, 16, has several pieces in this summer’s show, ranging from photos and paintings to mixed-media art. But of her pieces, the colorful dress is her favorite, she said.

Pictures of historical figures from the last century comprise the skirt of the dress. However, the project began with something much simpler. The plates that make up the upper part of the dress are actually trays that students used to mix paint in the art rooms of Glenwood Springs High School, where Claussen will be a junior next year.

“I had originally made a different dress that was totally different than that one on the same mannequin,” she said. “I was in a block, and I couldn’t think of what to do.”

That’s when her creative instincts took over.

“Then I looked at those trays, and thought, ‘That’d be perfect,'” she said.

That type of inspiration and creativity is one of the reasons why Claussen has been such a favorite at the center. According to , Claussen has been in several shows this year, assistant director Christina Brusig said.

“I just am inspired with her because she’s young, and she just doesn’t let that stop her,” Brusig said.

Art has become an important part of Claussen’s life. She is passionate about her collegiate choice, the Parsons School of Design in New York City. That’s just one of her plans for keeping art in her future – plans that include opening art museums and galleries and continuing to create her own work.

“I want to take things that people look at every day and make them better – and just show people there’s more to them than just that. I want to open new doors and inspire people, and make things better,” Claussen said.

That innovative spirit is an integral part of the Wild Women exhibit, a show that returns each summer to the Center for the Arts. This year marks its 10th anniversary, and Brusig said “the pieces get bigger and more creative every year.” Claussen is one of 16 female artists with work in the show.

These Wild Women work in a variety of styles and mediums. In an effort to create some continuity of material, all participants were required to create a shoe in their own medium. The idea stemmed after Claussen and art teacher Terry Muldoon each made pairs of shoes, unbeknownst to one another.

There are clay shoes and fabric shoes, shoes with light bulbs for heels, and a few pairs that are actually wearable. They look right at home among the eclectic collection of artwork, which includes a life-size horse made of recycled materials and a series of wedding dresses made of paper.

However, Brusig feels the variety of work in the exhibit is just enough to make it interesting. “I think this is a show for all ages to come see; it’s not too wild so that it’s unacceptable,” she said.

The show will remain open until Sept. 6, but artists will continue to change out their work through the summer, ensuring a slightly different experience every time it is visited. Additionally, a new full-time gallery attendant ensures that there will always be someone available to answer questions about the artwork.

There will be an artist reception at 6 p.m. Friday, offering food, wine, poetry and a chance to meet all the artists.

“When there’s just one of them coming into the studio, you can feel it,” said Brusig. “When there’s 16 of them … wow.”

The Center for the Arts is located at 601 E. Sixth St. For more information, call 945-2414.

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