By Marissa Isgreen, Northern Bureau Correspondent
MONTROSE–(June 17, 2014) “High-Point,” a 12-month traveling art show featuring equine art, is showing at the A+Y Design Gallery in Montrose for the entire month of June. The show aims to celebrate the Year of the Horse, engage the community in a discussion about art and benefit Colorado’s wild horses. Local artist Cheri Isgreen and Fort Collins-based artist Barb Haynie created the show because of their shared passion for horses and fine art.
“I want these shows to celebrate the horse and raise awareness for equine art by engaging the community in a dialog about it,” Isgreen said. “The way these shows are designed there is a lot of community participation from the causes they benefit, to the workshops and the art itself.”
An Event-filled opening:
“High-Point” debuted the first weekend in June with a variety of events that immersed the community in the art.
During Main-in-Motion, Isgreen’s Lipizzaner horse Monarch, a frequent subject of her paintings, stood for people to paint handprints and designs on his white coat. Adults, kids and babies were all drawn to novelty of a painted white horse in the middle of main street. Even those with a fear of horses overcame those fears to at least pet him.
“I wanted to create a horse event that would be really people friendly because not everyone rides horses, but most people are attracted to them,” Isgreen explained. “I personally think Monarch was a highlight for Main-in-Motion because he was not only surrounded by people for two hours straight, but he seemed to really engage them.”
The show officially opened June 6 and will run through June 30. It features 36 works of equine art in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media by both Isgreen and Haynie.
The opening allowed patrons to tap their creativity with interactive community art activities including Chinese brush painting, zen painting and Year of the Horse origami which will stay up with the art through the end of the month. As patrons viewed and discussed the art, they munched on barn-themed hors d’oeuvres and listened to live music from Karen Mercer, Margaret Freeman and Kurt Isgreen.
The following day, Isgreen held an origami workshop where participants learned how to fold a paper horse and animate it with special bends and pinches.
“Origami can be challenging with the correct paper folds, but it’s a really unique artwork,” said workshop participant Nancy Kelso. “I think we should engage in more art opportunities in our town. It’s important to have something new and different here.”
Final Workshop, Learn to sculpt:
Isgreen will be hosting a second workshop, June 26 during Main-in-Motion, that arises from both Isgreen and Haynie’s love for creating horse sculptures from found objects. The $40 workshop will teach participants to create their own horse from found objects and includes materials, instruction, a tutorial on how to jump-start your own creativity and a free drink or gelato.
“I find that the found object workshop is very liberating for people who like art but are intimidated by drawing,” Isgreen said. “With found objects you’re only suggesting an idea or a form and don’t have to recreate an exact replica, so I recommend this workshop to artists and non-artists alike.”
A Benefit Art Show:
As with previous openings, June’s show will also benefit a cause. This month, the show will benefit James Kleinert’s efforts to protect Colorado’s wild horses with a silent auction. Items include Haynie’s acrylic painting “Head, Heart, Hands, and Health,” Isgreen’s mixed media composition, “Don’t Fence Me In” and one of Montrose photographer Barb Young’s pictures.
Isgreen and A+Y Design Gallery screened Kleinert’s film, “Wild Horses and Renegades,” the weekend of the opening to raise awareness for the plight of America’s wild horses.
“Before seeing this film, I was unaware of the BLM’s inhumane practices and deceit to the public, so I wasn’t really that concerned about the mustangs. But they’re facing extinction, and we as Americans are faced with losing an American treasure,” Isgreen said.
Isgreen encourages anyone who was unable to attend to watch the movie and educate themselves about the treatment of America’s and Colorado’s wild horses.
“The horses in the Little Bookcliffs Range, Colorado are protected, safe and thriving, but unfortunately, the horses in Disappointment Valley, Colorado are endangered by the BLM’s policies of gathering and removing them from their range,” Isgreen explained. “Many horses have been euthanized, but that euthanization is really just sending them to slaughter in Mexico.”
The silent auction officially opened June 5 and runs through June 30. To bid remotely, call Yesenia at the A+Y Design Gallery (970) 240-7914.
About the Artists:
Isgreen was an elementary and art education teacher for 30 years. She curated, “Art at the Apex” an exhibition showcasing Colorado artists in grades kindergarten through 12th grade that premiered in May 2010 in Washington DC. She also coauthored Colorado art education standards, now part of the Common Core. Concurrent with her teaching career, Isgreen pursued her interests in weaving and textile design for 40 years. Her work has been showcased in museums, galleries, and publications both in the United States and Europe. Retiring from public education in 2010, Isgreen changed focus to develop her personal vision in watercolor. Stir Gallery in Colorado Springs gave Isgreen her first one woman show in 2012, pointing her on the path she follows today.
Haynie earned her fine art degree at Colorado State University with a concentration in drawing at age 50. Previous to earning her BA, she travelled extensively throughout Europe, South America, Central America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and Egypt. She has also authored two published novels. She owns a nursery in Fort Collins where she has lived since 1954.