“The Salon: Building a creative community in Pagosa,” originally appeared on pagosa.com Feb. 24, 2005

Last fall, C.J. “Jerry” Hannah suggested that we start a “salon” to build a creative community in Pagosa. “We need to bring people together: artists, writers, patrons,” he said. I agreed. So we invited everyone we knew to gather at the home of Jerry and his wife Jo.

I love Jerry and Jo’s house. It’s like a museum, filled with Native American art, Aboriginal art, masks, sculptures, books, and Jerry’s intrepid photographs. Jo is the consummate host. The food is always gourmet from hors d’oeuvres to dessert and Jerry is willing to uncork his latest discovery, a great bottle of wine priced under $10.

That first gathering, close to thirty people attended. Shaun Martin showed slides of his paintings and discussed his transformation from realism to abstraction. Jerry read a prose poem and the dialogue included playwrights, painters, ceramic artists, photographers, writers, performers and art lovers. And after a flattering (or unflattering) comparison to Gertrude Stein, I left wondering which of our new community members would become Pagosa’s Hemingway, Matisse, Picasso.

The salon met again in November and then skipped December and January. We gathered for the first time in 2005 on February 13 at Higher Grounds. This time we came together to define what is community and what it meant for each individual in attendance.
A community is cooperation, support given and received, a place to exchange ideas, a network, a group that shares common customs and interests. We decided that our salon should have a direction, be dynamic and evolving—A place where we touch each other.
Specifically we discussed sharing knowledge or bringing in experts to help with the business of art, from photographing one’s work to marketing and portfolio creation, to framing, insurance and website development.

We also decided we wanted the salon not to be an end destination, but instead a continual process and a place of education. We want to focus on the journey. We want to share and explore our creative energy.

Several great ideas came out of our last meeting and we look forward to bringing some of them to fruition. We invite all cultural creatives to join us for our next salon and artist’s roundtable, March 20 1-4 p.m. at Shy Rabbit Studio, 333 Bastille Drive, Unit B-1. We are also looking for artists, musicians, writers and others interested in showing, performing or sharing their work at these gatherings. We envision each salon to have three parts: first a presentation of announcements, vision and needs from all present; second a discussion or presentation from a professional; third an open mic or salon portion where artists present or perform.

For more information contact Leanne at l.goebel@pagosa.com or email Denise Coffee at dmcarts2u@aol.com.

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