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Front Range art galleries opening with safety at forefront

Most galleries limiting visitors, who must wear masks and social distance, to five at a time

The mural at SmithKlein Gallery in downtown Boulder was painted by Colorado artist Patrick Maxcy.
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At SmithKlein Gallery in downtown Boulder, the second-generation owners of the storied art space boarded up its windows after a neighboring business was burglarized in March.

With the type of high-end fine art the gallery has in its inventory, co-owner Ann Klein said they really had no other choice.

Out of wood panels, they enlisted Colorado muralist Patrick Maxcy to create a masterpiece. Among whimsical birds perched on a tree branch and butterflies and leaves floating against a vibrant pale blue sky, the words “Life,” “Beauty” and “Hope” brighten up an abandoned Pearl Street pro-tem.

“That’s been uplifting and positive,” said Klein. They’ll keep the boards up until June 1.

“We’re one of the oldest and longest family-run businesses in Boulder,” Klein said. SmithKlein opened on Pearl Street in 1984. “We really do need local support, especially in the next couple of months. Locally owned businesses need the community’s support so Boulder can return to the Boulder we love.”

SmithKlein opened its doors May 16 on an appointment-only basis. For now, until Colorado Gov. Jared Polis updates guidelines from the safer-at-home measures, SmithKlein will only be open noon-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

“It’s interesting because as an art gallery, we’re kind of a naturally social distancing business anyway,” Klein said. “In the art world, it’s a known thing to respect people’s space when they’re looking at a piece. Most people give others room to connect with the art.”

Even though Klein said the gallery has received a lot of support from loyal clients, whom Klein calls family, she’s still anxious to get back to business as usual.

“We’re definitely needing to be open,” Klein said. “One of the hardest things is that the tourism is down on Pearl Street and that’s a lot of what we depend on with visitors. And with restaurants not being open, too. The restaurants draw a lot of people to Pearl.”

And viewing a piece online just isn’t the same, as most Front Range Gallery owners agree.

“You need to see the art to find a connection with it,” Klein said. “You need to experience the art. It’s a Catch-22, we want to be open more but we also want to be safe.”

Cliff Grassmick
Artist Liz Miller’s “Acrimonious Efflorescence” was featured at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont in 2017. Firehouse is now open, and staff is happy since many of the art house’s exhibits are three-dimensional and difficult to capture virtually.

Firehouse Art Center in Longmont has reopened to the public noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday by appointment only and noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, with a limit of five guests at a time — masks and social distancing required.

“We’ve had some traffic,” said Elaine Waterman, executive director at Firehouse. “It’s been kind of slow, but that’s understood.”

Although quarantine was tough, Waterman said it brought some learning experiences along with it.

“We want to stay with the mission of sharing arts and culture for our community, so we were trying to figure out what we could bring online,” Waterman said. “Being closed has helped us with our virtual offerings and it pushed us into territories that we always wanted to explore, but never had the time to do so.”

Like Klein said, it’s still no comparison in seeing live art, though, Waterman said.

“Especially with some of the shows that we exhibit at Firehouse,” Waterman said. “The show that just finished up in February was an installation where a lot of pieces come out of the wall and extend from the ceiling. That would be a hard exhibit to present virtually while trying to stay true to the message the artist is making. It’s easier to do when people are in the presence of artwork.”

At least now the public can be present. Cautiously.

“We’re excited to get back to exhibiting artwork,” Waterman said. “We want to honor the commitment of our artists in sharing their art on the Firehouse walls.”

Over in Loveland, artist Jennie Milner said she’s the type of person who wants to save the world. Since the goal is quite lofty, she started with providing free coloring sheets for people to print out and color.

“If I can at least save someone’s sanity, then that’s a win for me,” Milner said. “The beauty of coloring is that it’s relaxing and a form of meditation that helps people to focus on breathing. And you don’t have to have any practice to get it down pat. You don’t feel like a failure when your basic job is to stay in the lines.”

Milner, who rents out studio space at Artworks Loveland, said she’ll continue to create the free coloring pages for now. Those who participate can post their photos on social media, tagging it with #jcmilner. The pages can be downloaded at jcmilnermetalworks.com, with an option to donate.

“It’s not a huge money maker, but really, for my own sanity, drawing is my therapy,” Milner said. “I went to art therapy as a kid and when quarantine happened, that’s the first thing I turned to.”

From flowers and a mob of mask-wearers to fish and wildlife, the coloring pages are detailed with intricate shapes. Milner, who is also a metalsmith, sculptor and muralist, said two years ago she put together four adult coloring books and hosted a wine and color event that concluded with local Girl Scouts judging the contest. She said that year she sold more than 200 coloring books.

Her colors reach a vast scale, too.

“One of my favorite things to do right now is paint murals,” Milner said.

A sign in the front door at Artworks alerts people that they are closed due to the coronavirus on March 20. The gallery is now open with restrictions.

Along with local garages and the alley side of Artworks, her murals have graced the New York State Zoo and Google headquarters in Boulder. Milner was just tapped this week as the muralist for the outside of the Loveland Museum. She said there will be three panels, the middle being an interactive one that will make a perfect spot for selfies and senior photos.

“When I come outside to get a cup of coffee, I always see people taking photos in front of my (Artworks) mural,” Milner said. “It inspired me to create a spot for the new mural that would lend itself to portraits.”

Milner also sells murals on panels for kids to color in their garages. (“When I was a kid, coloring on the garage walls was something we were able to do,” she said.)

Artworks Loveland is open 1-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday with a limit of five guests at a time in the building. Masks and social distancing is required.

Although Milner said she’s kept busy during quarantine, she said she’ll be happy when things start safely opening.

“In some ways, this has hampered my creativity,” Milner said. “I use Loveland Creator space next door (to Artworks) to access my woodworking tools and I haven’t been able to lately, but I still find my own ways to create art. There are people out there struggling, who don’t have a creative space. Being an artist is a dream, but it’s also a curse, because you gotta make that rent money.”


LONGMONT

Firehouse Art Center Open for weekday appointments with timed tickets Wednesday-Friday. between noon- 5 p.m. and with a five-person capacity noon-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; email elaine@firehouseart.org 24 hours before the visit, 667 Fourth Ave., Longmont; firehouseart.org

Longmont Museum Closed until further notice, 400 Quail Road, Longmont; longmontmuseum.org

Lyons Redstone Museum Closed until further notice, 340 High St., Lyons; lyonsredstonemuseum.com

Osmosis Gallery Closed through the end of May, 290 Second Ave., Niwot; osmosisartgallery.com

Still Cellars Closed until further notice, 1115 Colorado Ave., Longmont; stillcellars.com

LOVELAND AREA

3 Square Art Gallery Open by appointment only for up to five guests at a time. Email info@3square-art.com to schedule an appointment from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 1-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2415 Donella Court, Suite 110, Fort Collins; 3square-art.com

Art Center of Estes Park Open noon-4 p.m. Friday-Mondays, limiting guests to 10 at a time,  517 Big Thompson Ave., Estes Park; 970-586-5882 or artcenterofestes.com

Artworks Loveland Open to groups up to five people, appointments are recommended, email info@artworksloveland.org; 310 N. Railroad Ave., Loveland; 970-663-5555 or artworksloveland.org

Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising Closed until further notice; Room 115 (first floor), 1400 Remington St., Fort Collins; 970-491-1983 or avenir.colostate.edu

Columbine Gallery Closed until further notice, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 2683 N. Taft Ave., Loveland; columbinegallery.com

Carnegie Center for Creativity Closed until further notice, 200 Mathews St., Fort Collins; 970-416-2789 or fcgov.com/creativecenter

Estes Park Museum Closed until further notice, 200 Fourth St., Estes Park; 970-586-6256, estes.org/museum

Gallery Bleu Closed until further notice, 401 Pine St., Fort Collins; basbleu.org

Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures Closed until further notice, 200 W. Mountain Ave., Fort Collins; 970-221-4600 or globalvillagemuseum.org

Greeley History Museum Closed until further notice, 714 Eighth St., Greeley; 970-350-9220 or greeleymuseums.com

Gregory Allicar Museum of Art at Colorado State University Closed until further notice, 1400 Remington St., Fort Collins; artmuseum.colostate.edu

Gustafson Gallery Closed until further notice, Room 318 in the Gifford Building, 502 W. Lake St. (on the CSU campus), Fort Collins; chhs.colostate.edu/avenir/galleries/gustafson-gallery

Homestead Fine Art Gallery Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday through the end of May, 344 Mountain Ave., Berthoud; facebook.com/homesteadfineartgallery

Independence Gallery Open 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, call for weekend hours, 233 E. Fourth St., Loveland; independencegallery.com

Lincoln Center Art Gallery Closed through May 31, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins; 970-416-2789 or lctix.com

Lincoln Gallery Open noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, with no more than 10 people allowed in at a time, 429 N. Lincoln Ave., Loveland; 970-663-2407 or lincolngallery.com

Loveland Museum Closed until further notice, 503 N. Lincoln Ave., Loveland; $7; 970-962-2410 or lovelandmuseumgallery.org

Museum of Art Fort Collins Closed until further notice, 201 S. College Ave., Fort Collins; 970-482-2787 or moafc.org

BOULDER AREA

15th Street Gallery Open by appointment 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, call 303-447-2841 to schedule, 1708 15th St., Boulder, 15thstreetgalleryboulder.com

Art and Soul Gallery Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Private appointments can be booked during gallery hours, 1615 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-544-5803 or artandsoulboulder.com

Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery Open by appointment only, 303-443-3683 or email frontdesk@boulderartsandcrafts.com, 1421 Pearl St., Boulder, boulderartsandcrafts.com

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art Closed until further notice, 1750 13th St., Boulder; 303-443-2122 or bmoca.org

Canyon Theater and Gallery Closed until further notice,1001 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-441-3100, boulderlibrary.org/exhibits

Dairy Arts Center Closed until further notice, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder; 303-440-7826 or thedairy.org

Mary Williams Fine Arts Open by appointment only 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 5311 Western Ave. #112, Boulder, 303-938-1588, marywilliamsfinearts.com

Naropa University Nalanda Campus Closed until further notice, 6287 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder; naropa.edu

Naropa University Lincoln Gallery Closed until further notice, Naropa University Arapahoe Campus, 2130 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder; free; naropa.edu

NCAR/UCAR Community Art Program Closed until further notice; National Center for Atmospheric Research Visitor Center, 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder; 303-497-2570

R Gallery Open noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday for up to eight guests at a time, appointments encouraged, 2027 Broadway, Boulder; 303-447-2841, rgallery.art

SmithKlein Gallery Open by appointment only, 1116 Pearl St., Boulder; 303-444-7200 or smithklein.com

CU Art Museum Closed until further notice,  1085 18th St., Boulder; cuartmuseum.colorado.edu

University of Colorado Museum of Natural History Closed until further notice, University of Colorado Henderson Building, 15th and Broadway, Boulder; colorado.edu

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