ELEVATED | Ah Haa Photos, Telluride Poets, and Artists’ Alpine Holiday
by Leslie Vreeland
Aug 01, 2013 | 1908 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CORA AND THE BUTTERFLY – This shot is one of the top contenders for a $1,000 portrait-photography award from the Ah Haa School. First, second and third place winners will be announced Thursday, Aug. 1, along with a People's Choice Award. (Photo by Shauna Tewksbury)
CORA AND THE BUTTERFLY – This shot is one of the top contenders for a $1,000 portrait-photography award from the Ah Haa School. First, second and third place winners will be announced Thursday, Aug. 1, along with a People's Choice Award. (Photo by Shauna Tewksbury)

In Ouray: 53rd Annual Artists’ Alpine Holiday Exhibit

It’s a mouthful, isn’t it, Artists’ Alpine Holiday? It is also the oldest, largest juried art exhibit in western Colorado, and opening day is just around the corner. This is a national show, and for the past few days, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and more had been delivered from all over the country, by mail – in specially shaped boxes designed for artwork – by car, or simply on foot to the Ouray Community Center, where the show is held. On Tuesday morning, Celie Matteson stood surrounded by artwork. Mattson is vice president of the Ouray County Arts Association, which has hosted the exhibit for the past 53 years. In all, 150 artists will display 289 pieces of work this season, Mattson said. It is an enormous number of pieces, and the tally used to be even higher: “When we hit our 50th year, we started accepting only two pieces of work from every artist instead of three.” It is a juried show, but gently; the judges’ favorites will be so noted on a flier with an asterisk, but every work that is entered will be displayed. “Some works will be ‘juried out’ and some will be ‘juried in’ but they can all still be shown,” Mattson explained. Over the years, the OCAA has had occasion to purchase a number of pieces for its own, permanent collection, but several of the works got misplaced (and so did some of the paperwork). In fact, the oldest work in the OCAA’s collection – its very first purchase – had been missing for several decades. Tracking it down involved a bit of art-historical detective work, and Bobbie Johnson, a colleague of Mattson’s on the OCAA board, was the sleuth. More on that next week. The Artists’ Alpine Holiday exhibit is open Aug. 2-3 from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Aug. 4-9 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Aug. 10 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. All work is on sale, and admission is free.

Ah Haa Photo Exhibit in Telluride

An art mystery in Ouray, and more suspense in Telluride; in this case, the question is, who will win the $1,000 first prize in the Ah Haa School’s Portrait Photography Exhibit? The exhibit is the brainchild of its sponsor, Simon Perutz, a part-time Telluride resident and the owner of a Chicago photography gallery, in collaborated with Ah Haa Executive Director Judy Kohin. Perutz wanted to sponsor a local photography exhibition, and he and Kohin hit on the idea of “capturing the essence of Telluride through portraits of its people.” Which was an interesting choice. After all, scenery dominates in this region, and so does landscape photography. But in the end, as humans, “We are fascinated by others” of our species, Kohin said. “It’s very interesting to look at National Geographic: the most memorable covers are photographs of people.”

Ah Haa received 99 photographs from 38 different photographers for this exhibit; anyone with a camera was invited to enter. The only requirements were that the portraits be taken within an hours’ drive from Telluride, and sometime during the past five years.

A committee of three jurists narrowed the images down to a final 23. Ah Haa paid to have the images printed in large format and framed, “a real gift,” Kohin said, to the artists, who usually have to shoulder such expenses themselves. It is these 23 images that comprise the show opening tonight at the Daniel Tucker Gallery, just in time for Art Walk. First-place winner will get $1,000 (second and third place winners will take home $500 and $250, respectively) and there will also be a People’s Choice Award selected from this group. If you would like a vote, head to the gallery and cast your ballot as soon as you can. At 6 p.m., the winners will be revealed. All the images will be for sale, and will remain on display until September 30.

Talking Gourds poetry at Arroyo


All my life I dreamed

of being a shepherd,

not an insurance man.

– Peter Waldor


“After one has abandoned a belief in God, poetry is that essence which takes its place as life’s redemption.”

– Wallace Stevens

The writers above a couple of things in common. Both are poets; both also have (or had, in the case of Stevens) full-time jobs in the insurance industry. Their 9-to-5 work didn’t seem to slow the creative side of either man; perhaps it even helped. That might be a good topic to ask Peter Waldor about. Waldor, of New Jersey and Telluride, has written a new book of poems, The Wilderness Poetry of Wu Xing, and will be guest of honor at the Telluride Institute’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club meeting at Arroyo Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 6 p.m. As an undergraduate at Tufts, Waldor received an award from the American Academy of Poets. He got his MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his first book, Door to a Noisy Room, was a finalist for the 2009 National Jewish Book Award.

Next month’s guests will be the Gourds’ own host and hostess, Art Goodtimes and Rosemerry Trommer, both of whom have new books out. In addition to hearing from a guest, poetry club members choose a theme for each month, and bring along a poem to share on that topic. “It’s been so much fun to hear what people come up with,” Trommer said. Goodtimes is a longtime director of the Telluride Mushroom Festival; perhaps no surprise, then, that mushrooms is the theme of this month’s get-together. The Gourds may gather to honor composers of poetry, but Goodtimes has also penned a poem (“Prayer for the Great Shroom”) honoring “the de-composers,” known as fungi. 

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