How do you know the date of the first Thursday of the month? Yes, I know, there’s always a calendar to tip you off. Or follow the crowds. The first Thursday of every month (in season) is Telluride Arts‘ Art Walk, a celebration of the local fine art scene when venues all over town open their doors from 5 – 8 p.m. to showcase new exhibitions and artists. What’s more, some of the finest restaurants in town  – Cosmopolitan, La Cocina de Luz, La Marmotte, New Sheridan Chop House  –  offer Art Walk specials. It all adds up to a great night out of the town. And you never know who you might meet on the street.

For example, long-time local Dalen Stevens. His work is featured at Lustre Gallery, 171 South Pine.

Dalen’s formal education in the ceramic arts began when he attended Fort Lewis College, a small liberal arts college in Durango Colorado, where he majored in Art and Music. After graduating with honors, he attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, earning a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Trombone Performance and Music Composition. While working on a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Music Theory and Composition, he continued to work with clay, gaining practical experience as a production potter at a small family-run business in Boulder. He also taught ceramics at the City of Boulder “Firehouse Pottery Lab” and at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Deciding against an academic career, Dalen made the jump to become a practicing studio artist. In 1988, he and his wife Deborah purchased 45 acres on a remote mesa near Telluride, Colorado, where they constructed their own home and studio using native materials and doing all the construction work themselves. Located at 9000 ft. amidst the aspen groves and against the backdrop of the rugged Sneffles mountain range, the surrounding landscape continues to inform Dalen’s work: colors, textures, and spirit of the land itself is reflected in his sensual ceramics.

But music remains a continuing passion. Dalen and his wife are active in the Telluride Choral Society and he sings, plays piano, and performs on the trombone in numerous local chamber-music ensembles.

“My music and art have always gone hand in hand. I often think of my clay work in musical terms…as improvisations on a theme…improvisations that express a rhythmic flow…shapes and patterns that ring aurally and visually. I often find myself actually singing into the pieces as I work on them. Hopefully, when someone sees or holds one of my pieces, one can sense this musical energy distilled into solid form. Sometimes, when I’ve made bowls, the bowls have this wonderful bell-like tone…all at different pitches. So I’ll sit on the studio floor, gather the bowls all around me in a circle, and “play” them, like a jazz drummer or some Indonesian gammalong player.”

“Dalen creates shapely porcelain vessels and platters with rich glass glazes,” explained Christine Reich, owner, Lustre Gallery. “Each vessel is one-of-a-kind labor of love as the porcelain is worked and cured for over one year before it is thrown to its stately form. The minerals Dalen uses in his glazes blossom during the firing process to create crystalline forms that add drama and character to the rich colors the artist applies.”

Ridgway painter George Kernan displays his landscapes at the Ah Haa School for the Arts, 300 South Townsend:

“With painting, I hope to visually transmit some of the emotions I experience and share them with others.”

Telluride Arts’ Stronghouse Studios & Local Artist Gallery, 283 South Fir Street, features a novel show. They put out the challenge for artists to create using a 4 x 4 Post-It note and the results from 30 locals was mind-blowing. Each piece of Post-It art has a price tag of $5 (pieces using more Post-Its, cost more) and proceeds from sales benefit Telluride Arts.

The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, 130 East Colorado, welcomes artist Donna Howell-Sickles to town. Donna is this year’s Wild West Fest poster artist and renowned painter of images of cowgirls as heroine and metaphors the joy in life. (See related post.)

Stop by the Telluride Historical Museum, 201 West Gregory Ave, for Telluride Brewing Company Beer, live music by the Great Funktier and the opening of their newest exhibit: “Sight and Sound: 125 Years of Art and Music in Telluride.”

Tweed, 151 S. Pine Street, features  Jen Gagen of Sacred Surf and Jagraphix. Sacred Surf began with Jen’s desire to draw and  paint on everything she wore. Her artwork is featured on their hats, clothing and bikinis. Jen’s art expresses her passion for the ocean as well as the mountains and her general love of being outdoors in nature. Her famed “kai kine” trucker hats can be seen from Colorado to Costa Rica as well as in Hawaii.

The Wilkinson Public Library, 100 West Pacific Avenue, offers a mixed bag of art. STAIRWELL – Time Machine a hanging sculpture installation by Flair Robinson , UPSTAIRS – New paintings by Susan McCormick,  MUSIC SECTION –  Work by Jared David Paul, TEEN SECTION – New paintings by the students in Ally Crilly’s Art Camp.

To learn about what’s happening at the other venues,  free Art Walk Map offers a self -guided tour that can be used at any time. Maps are available at participating venues and around town or by calling Telluride Arts 970.728.3930.

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