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Firehouse Art Center fills galleries with displays from local artists

The Firehouse is hosting an artist talk on Feb. 19

This Friday kicks off three Firehouse Art Center galleries. The showcase features work from local artists, with a focus on the recent artist in residency.

The opening reception, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 10, marks the launch of the three showings. Work from Nancy Eastman, Patricia Aaron, Alicia McKim, Diane Deyo and Jill Rumley will be displayed through March 5.

The main gallery show “Stitched: Connecting Community Through Abstraction,” highlights Eastman’s work during the winter Artist Occupied program. During the three-month residency at the Firehouse, Eastman worked on multiple pieces inspired by Colorado’s changing landscape.

Some locals may see similarities in the displayed pieces, as Eastman held community workshops. Participants wrapped colorful yarn around found branches for a sculptural piece. For another, Longmont residents were asked to bring photos or representations of their neighborhoods. She stitched together their contributions into a community “quilt”

In the South Gallery is the “Textured” art show work from Deyo, and co-created work between Aaron and McKim. As a part of Eastman’s residency, she curated the three-person gallery. The highlighted art incorporates different surfaces and the artists’ connection to our world.

Inspired by her travels, Boulder artist Deyo, uses multimedia, including paint, beads and found objects, to create art celebrating traditional African fabrics, masks and ceremonies. There will be five pieces displayed at the Firehouse.

“My art celebrates the different cultures of Africa. The work in this show is a tribute to traditional African ceremonies, pattern, texture, and color that are inherent in African textile design,” Deyo said in a written response.

Deyo added that her background in fiber design, and that pattern, texture and natural elements are characteristics of her work.

“Textured” will also feature five collaborative letterpress monoprints from Aaron and McKim. Their work pays homage to the landscape of Wyoming.

Their collaboration stemmed from painter Aaron teaching a class on encaustic painting, or hot wax painting,  at the Art Students League of Denver. Printmaker McKim took the course, and they started working together for an instructor-student show.

They were inspired by the writings of the early-1900s writer Willa Cather, and her description of Wyoming and exploring th west. They used her words to inspire a letterpress print and encaustic painting collaboration. 

Aaron said they both took 20 sheets of paper to their own studios, before exchanging their pieces and adding to each other’s work. It resulted in layers of letterpress print and wax paint. Aaron said the texture fits the prompt of Wyoming settlements and the landscape.

“For both of us really was a perfect fit for Wyoming because Wyoming has so many historical stories about settlers and people in these little towns that are there now,” Aaron said. “The landscape there is really fascinating as well as the weather and the wind, and so for us it really worked kind of stacking [our work].”

The last showing is upstairs in the Firehouse in its Studio 64, Rumley is exhibiting a collection of landscape paintings and photographs. The Firehouse showcases its artists members in the pop up gallery in its top floor space.

Rumley, who serves as president of the Longmont Artist Guild and is a Firehouse artist member, actively works in the Longmont art community. But she said she likes experimenting, and the pop up gallery is a great opportunity for her to exhibit without going through a juried process.

“With the Firehouse, it's really just a great opportunity as an artist member to be able to have a solo show and to have it promoted and to be featured in their gallery brochure and on their website,” she said. “It's great exposure for those of us artists who typically aren't able to or can't show in galleries, maybe because we don't get juried in or maybe we don't have a comprehensive body of work like me. I’m kind of all over the place.” 

Rumley’s work, similar to the other work shown this Friday, pulls some inspiration from places she connects to. One pastel painting, “A View From a Train,” derives from photographs she took on a train ride from Denver to Nevada to visit her son.

To hear more about the featured artists’ work, the Firehouse is hosting an artist talk on Feb. 19. The talk will run from 3 to 4 p.m., followed by an artist tour until 5 p.m.


Ali Mai

About the Author: Ali Mai

Ali Mai is freelance writer and photographer, covering business for the Longmont Leader. She writes the weekly column "Longmont Local."
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