– By Allyson Porteous | Photos by Jordan Secher –
Portraits line her studio walls, staring down with empathy and longing, leaving you feeling targeted and transparent. She painted their pictures literally and metaphorically, their stories seeping through the canvas. Ambiguous and hauntingly beautiful, they have a story to tell…. Will you listen?
This art series, by Elizabeth Suriani, is entitled Say My Name and is based on marginalized groups that have experienced some form of trauma. A work in progress and making its debut at Artworks once complete, these portraits will be accompanied by voice recordings of the subjects’ individual stories in their own words.
This is just one example of the compelling art experiences available in Northern Colorado. Check out these art hubs for something a little different than your average landscape-laden art gallery.
ARTWORKS CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
Suriani is the gallery manager and a studio artist at Artworks Center for Contemporary Art in Loveland. Exhibits rotate quarterly and feature juried contemporary artists of all backgrounds and mediums. According to their website, Artworks is the “largest studio art center in Northern Colorado dedicated to advancing the contemporary arts,” so you will want to carve out an entire afternoon to get lost in its artistic abyss. Be sure to wander into the artists’ studios such as Suriani’s, where you will find the growing Say My Name series displayed, for a unique look behind the scenes of each piece in its various stages of becoming. Connecting with the artists and their work in this way makes for a more intimate, powerful experience that is distinctive to Artworks.
Art Lab is a free-to-use, experimental creative space in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins. The public can come in and watch the creative process behind each piece in real time as artists work alongside each other in an atmosphere buzzing with imagination and ingenuity. Founders Dawn Putney and Tom Campbell created Art Lab to connect creatives to the community. Artists pay for their space in creative ways like contributing to maintenance, cleaning and donating supplies. As this is an artist-run co-op space, facility hours vary so look at their website calendar for a list of exhibitions, workshops, theatrical performances and live music.
Be sure to check out Street Dialogue at Art Lab, a mixed media art show from 6 to 10 p.m. on February 3 that will display three artists’ perspectives on the interaction between humans and their environments through graffiti and other temporary applications to the walls within cities.
THE LINCOLN CENTER ART GALLERY
You know The Lincoln Center for its live theatre, but did you also know they have a fine art gallery? It is only open on Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., but it is worth the trip. The exhibits change every four to eight weeks and feature national juried competitions, curated contemporary artists from around the country and the occasional traveling art exhibit.
Feathers, Fins, and Fur: An Art Menagerie will be displayed through January 14 and features works by four artists, in a variety of media, that express our universal connection with animals.
COLUMBINE GALLERY AND THE NATIONAL SCULPTORS’ GUILD
The Columbine Gallery is a 4,500 square foot facility, housing over 800 National Sculpture Gallery (NSG) sculptures and paintings by at least 50 renowned local and national artists. The tranquil atmosphere provides art enthusiasts space to truly absorb the essence of each composition, leaving their stresses at the door. Step outside to find the NSG Sculpture Garden, an acre filled with unusual botanical specimens and more than 80 sculptures. Wander around this artistic haven with views of the Rockies and indulge in sculptures that attract art collectors from around the globe. Then, hop over to nearby Benson Sculpture Garden.
BENSON SCULPTURE GARDEN
Benson Sculpture Garden has been recognized as “one of the 200 most important modern and contemporary art sites around the world” and “one of the top 20 must-see contemporary art sites in the United States.” Founded in 1985 and home to more than 200 sculptures on permanent display by world-renowned artists, it truly is a gem. With 10 acres of open lake-front space, dotted with sculptures, benches and gazeboes, residents flock here to enjoy picnics and art walks alike. In fact, it is such a beautiful and unusual setting that a local Loveland judge chose this space as her preferred venue for performing outdoor weddings. In November, NOCO Style had the honor of meeting a newly married couple taking photos next to a sculpture they lovingly dubbed the “snuggle bunnies” by Artist Dan Ostermiller. Congrats Mason and Gracie Szakin!
For a more casual approach to your search for NOCO art, grab your morning cup of joe at cafes like Bean Cycle Roasters, Everyday Joe’s Coffee House and The Alley Cat Café, which could qualify as art galleries in their own right. Don’t forget storefronts like Bloom Floral Boutique that has a rotating art wall featuring a new local artist on the first Friday of every month. (Fun fact: NOCO Style’s very own Jordan Secher had her art displayed at Bloom last year.)
Tattoo studios like Tribal Rites display their tattoo artists’ paintings and mixed media pieces around the shop and are often some of the most interesting and compelling pieces you’ll find. Now get out there and get lost in Northern Colorado’s art scene.
Allyson Porteous is a lover of plants, sunshine, ‘90s fashion and all things vintage.
Married to her mountain man and mom to their three feral boys.