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Arts Council continues work in Mancos

John Ninnemann, left, talks to Jan Wright about his recent exhibit at the Mancos Town Gallery. The exhibit is of historic schoolhouses that he has come across in his travels. Enlargephoto

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John Ninnemann, left, talks to Jan Wright about his recent exhibit at the Mancos Town Gallery. The exhibit is of historic schoolhouses that he has come across in his travels.

The Mancos Valley Arts Council was founded in 1991 by a group of theater folks who felt that there needed to be more exposure to art in Mancos. That group has since been replaced by a board and members, all of whom believe in the importance and furthering of art in our community.

They applied for and received their 501(c)3 status in 1993, and have tried to hold on to it since then.

Dian Law is now the president of the council and has been since 2009. "We feel that our purpose is to find where art and community collide," Law said. The Arts Council has brought another dimension to art in our community, she said.

Among the things that the Arts Council has done is have various art exhibits around town. Most of those have been in the art gallery in the Mancos Valley Chamber, called the Mancos Town Gallery. The exhibits have featured the art of Patricia Burk, Susan Matteson, Janice Reich, Barbara Stewart-Hager and Mary and Rob Wilson. And these are just a few. The exhibits are really open to anyone who is a member of the Arts Council. "They just need to provide some snacks to go along with their exhibit opening," said Law, with a smile.

The board consists of Mac Neely, Jama Collins, Marilyn Kroeker, Katrina Roberts, Steve Williams, Brad Goodell, and Law. They decide what they're going to do when it comes to the exhibits, but they also come up with other activities for the community to get a taste of the arts.

"I just love community," said Law. One of the things that she and the Arts Council did that everyone can enjoy is the mural that covers "the hole" on Grand Ave. Several years ago, Law came up with the idea. From there, she said, it was just a matter of doing the work. "I had so much help from donations and people who wanted to help!," she said. "If I needed a can of paint or a someone to help paint, all I had to do was ask." The support from the community was overwhelming, and now the whole community can enjoy it.

In the summer of 2014 they are making plans to have a Mancos Valley School of Western Arts, she said. "You wouldn't believe the amount of artistic talent we have right here," she said. They hope to have workshops on all kinds of art - hatmaking, pottery, silversmithing, ironwork, wainwrighting, jewelry making, plein air painting, and anything else that pertains to the Western world.

They have had musical concerts with Lee Bartley, Vixen, Michael and Chris Rasmussen, and Patty Boyer and Linda Bellush.

They've helped with community events, such as the Mancos Melt, the Balloon Festival and Mancos Days.

"One of the most fun things we do is the Cowboy Photo Booth at Mancos Days," said Law. "That's had a really good response!"

They've worked on funding for the MacLab, a project at the high school art room and sent Kim Russell, the school's art teacher, to training. A few of the members teach art when they can at the Mancos school, providing community input. They created the space for the Mancos Town Gallery several years ago, giving visitors and residents both a chance to appreciate the art in this town.

And they like to have parties to appreciate their members, as evidenced by the Day of the Dead party they had last year.

"Anyone can be a member," said Law. "We already have about 75 people."

Law will step down as president in January 2014, but she's already mentoring the next president, who will be Marilyn Kroeker.

In the works for this month is a historical schoolhouse photograph exhibit by John Ninnemann, which opened last Friday at the Mancos Town Gallery. On Feb. 28 is the chamber social, an event that gives the council a chance to mingle with members and spectators.

The Mancos Valley Arts Council hopes to go on for a long time.

"It's been a lot of fun," Law said.

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