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56 Western artists in town for art show, auction

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By Sara Miller

For the fourth consecutive year, Evergreen Fine Art Gallery will host a group of 56 of the country’s most celebrated Western artists. The Weekend in the West Art Show and Auction is an invitational event that welcomes painters and sculptors from across the Mountain West, giving art-lovers a rare opportunity to watch those talents at work and take home a masterpiece created before their eyes.

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“There’s a nice combination of Old West and New West,” says Doug Kacena, Evergreen Fine Art’s director of exhibitions. “There’ll be some very traditional art and themes, and some abstract contemporary works.”

The participating artists are a nationally recognized group such as Quang Ho, Alan Walton, Edward Aldrich, Jie Wei Zhou, Walt Gonske, Karen Roehl, Dave Santillanes, Jill Soukup, Robert Spooner, Michael Untiedt and Nikolo Balkanski. Masters in three dimensions will include Evergreen sculptor Patty Stajcar and bronze artists Jan Mapes, Steve LeBlanc, Rosetta and Karryl.

The weekend formally begins with a Western-style reception at 5 p.m. Friday, June 20, featuring food, drink and live music by cowboy laureate Dean Himes. The next morning at 9 a.m., the artists will meet in the gallery’s sculpture garden for a real Western showdown — each master will have exactly 90 minutes to create magic on canvas.

“This is the mountain region’s largest quick-draw event,” says Barb Hadley, co-owner of the gallery. “You’d be amazed what these artists can do in 90 minutes. It’s a wonderful opportunity to observe them at work.”

When the bell rings, paintbrushes go down and champagne flutes go up. While artists frame the morning’s accomplishments, collectors will gather in a large white tent for a champagne brunch ($30 per person for advanced purchase, or $35 on the day of the event), followed by a live auction at which guests will have the chance to own newly minted masterpieces even before the paint is dry.

An upstairs gallery at Evergreen Fine Art will be arrayed with the “Masters of Today and Tomorrow,” a colorful collection of ceramic plates decorated by local grade-school children and by many of the participating artists. Plate Project proceeds as well as a portion of the proceeds of art sales will be granted by Center for the Arts Evergreen to mountain-area school art teachers. Last year this project allowed Center for the Arts Evergreen to award a portion of the proceeds to eight K-12 art teachers.

“It is indeed a pleasure for the Center for the Arts Evergreen to again join forces with Evergreen Fine Art Gallery for this wonderful event that celebrates the Western arts traditions, plein air painting at its best, and a fabulous fund-raiser to secure and encourage arts education in our local schools. This collaboration of private and nonprofit arts entities is unique in the mountain community, and the beneficiaries of this fund-raiser are our local art teachers and their students,” says Steve Sumner, executive director of the Center for the Arts Evergreen.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.

Event schedule

Western Style Gala opening reception: Friday, June 20, 5 to 9 p.m.

Quick-draw / champagne brunch / live auction:  Saturday, June 21, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For those not able to attend the weekend events, the exhibit runs through July 19.

To learn more about Weekend in the West or to purchase tickets to the champagne brunch and auction, call Evergreen Fine Art Gallery at 303-679-3610, or visit www.evergreenfineart.com and www.weekendinthewest.com.