The Best-Kept Art Secret in Town
It’s been said that art is never an extravagance but if hanging an original on your wall has seemed out of reach in the past, it’s just one reason to head to the Wheat Ridge Art League’s three-day exhibition during the Carnation Festival.
More than two dozen members of the Wheat Ridge Art League are exhibiting their best pieces – watercolor, oils, pastels, pencil, abstract, modern, still life. It’s all there this year, and many, though not all, works of art will be for sale with prices ranging in affordability that makes it easy for a beginning collector to pick up a piece, and hard for a seasoned one to resist.
“This is the best kept secret in town,” said Juanita Gutierrez, Chairwoman of the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival Art Show.
While the art show is not a juried event, one in which an artist submits a piece to be accepted by a board, this is a members-only show.
The Art League, organized in 1974 and now in it’s 47th year, has more than 40 members, with most, if not all, hailing from Jefferson County, according to Gutierrez.
Artists pay a nominal $30 annual membership fee and together contribute to fulfilling the purpose of league, which is “To pursue the study of the arts, to encourage originality, and to provide members with the opportunity to obtain public recognition.” The league offers its members a visiting artist demo during the monthly meetings, in addition to other workshops and of course, the Carnation Exhibition.
The Carnation Festival serves as the league’s exclusive art show. Throughout the year, member artists may be on exhibit at any one of the seven regular exhibit spaces around Wheat Ridge, Arvada, and the Highlands, including the Arvada Motor Vehicle Department at 6510 Wadsworth and the Wheat Ridge Municipal Building.
The league commissions a judge to present awards to members for their show submissions, from Best in Show to Honorable mentions, and fulfilling the league’s mission to offer its artists, from ametuer to professional, the opportunity to earn recognition for their artwork. This year’s judge is Colorado-based artist Tracy Wilson.
In addition to the annual exhibition, the League collaborated with the Carnation Parade Committee in announcing a first-ever commemorative plate design contest.
Traditionally the first place parade winner is awarded a commemorative plate designed by a selected local artist. For the first time, the committee called on local artists and designers to submit a piece that reflects the theme of this year’s parade: Rock-n-Carnations. All submissions will be displayed during the art show.
The Carnation Festival Art League Exhibition offers the public the opportunity to experience art and interact with local artist on an intimate level, explained Gutierrez, underscoring the value to the public in obtaining their own original artwork.
“We have some really wonderful artists here,” she said. “Why not have a real piece of art?” –Jennifer LeDuc