Resource Gallery an Experiment in Co-op Art Space
by Peter Shelton
May 19, 2011 | 2049 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RESOURCE GALERY – Jill Rikkers (right) talked with downtown
Ridgway neighbor Heather Bussey at the new co-operative gallery on
Sherman Street. Practical art by Kelli Day (painting/collage), Phoebe
Sophocles (fabric), Rikkers (bronze tableware), and half a dozen others
fill the lively space. (Photo by Peter Shelton)
RESOURCE GALERY – Jill Rikkers (right) talked with downtown Ridgway neighbor Heather Bussey at the new co-operative gallery on Sherman Street. Practical art by Kelli Day (painting/collage), Phoebe Sophocles (fabric), Rikkers (bronze tableware), and half a dozen others fill the lively space. (Photo by Peter Shelton)
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RIDGWAY – In the 1980s, the L-shaped building on Sherman Street housed a variety store called Doc’s. (The historic blue-and-white enameled sign out front said: Ridgway Drug Dealer.) More recently it was home to Peak to Peak Bicycles. The bike shop has since moved to a new location a block farther west. And the venerable space – now painted a spring green and hung with flower baskets and porch swings – is being transformed by Scott and Jill Rikkers of Coal Creek Studios into a new kind of co-operative art gallery.

They’re calling it Resource, because they want it to be a resource for local artists and a place where shoppers can find exceptional wall art and fine, practical, hand-crafted pieces in wood, wrought iron, fabric and glass.

Take the porch swings. Scott Rikkers contributed the smoothly finished slabs of wood, from his stashes of mine timbers and recycled hardwoods. Jill fashioned the wrought-iron sides and the curling hooks for hanging. “That’s one reason why this place is perfect,” Jill said of the covered porch on two sides of the building.

More of the Rikkers’ collaborations adorn the inside. There is a coffee table made from a massive bellows that once worked in a Telluride mine. There is a solid wood dining table with an elaborate, cast-iron heater grate inlaid in the center. There is Jill’s new series of tableware: serving spoons and spatulas and cheese knives hammered out of shining bronze and copper and steel.

But it’s not only the Rikkers’ art. The idea, Scott said, is to bring together a select group of artists who will contribute to the life of the place, give it “a life of its own.” They have eight artists showing now, and they’d like to have the group complete by a self-imposed June 1 deadline. Each artist will contribute a small cash amount to the rent and utilities bills and make themselves available for a couple of days a month “on the floor.” In exchange, the gallery will take a significantly smaller cut on sales.

Artists may be working on the premises as well. There is studio space in the back, and Jill brought her jewelry bench into the space behind the counter (where bike tuneups happened last summer). She figures she can do finish work on her smaller pieces on the days she is watching the shop.

“It is us trying to figure out the new economy,” said Scott with typical candid humor. “And how we can fit into it. We were pretty isolated out on Coal Creek. We want to get our art out on Main Street, bring art to the people. So we called Bruce and Barbara (MacIntire, co-owners of the building, which also houses the Skier’s Union restaurant), and they said give it a shot; give it a new life.”

Other artists represented now include Phoebe Sophocles, whose wall hangings, pillows and purses combine Asian silks with American quilting techniques – and Sophocles’ exquisite sense of color. There are a couple of large canvases by painter Stephanie Rogers, and a number of bright, intriguing collages by painter and graphic designer Kelli Day. Darin Houstra has contributed big, bold photographic still-lifes. And Courtney Eaton has hung a couple of unusual, Dorothea Lange-like paintings of family groupings. She also adds copper and tin to pieces of antique furniture in surprising and beautiful ways.

Store hours are not set yet. There is a hand-lettered sign on the door that encourages patrons to give Scott or Jill a call at 626-4166 or 318-1019. “We’re nearby. And we’ll come right down,” the sign says.

“We want to give people another reason to stop in Ridgway,” Scott said. “Worth a swing by for designers, and for Telluriders to stop. We want it to be tempting looking, so they say, yeah, I want to go in there.

“It’s us going out on a limb,” said Scott, a man who once bought a synthetic skating rink in thousands of pieces and set it up in a barn south of town so that his kids and friends could skate year round. “Hopefully, it’s a good strong limb. One that gets watered by the community.”

There will be an official grand opening some time in June.
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