If the land around the Pikes Peak Region could talk, what do you think it would say? Perhaps it would tell you about the eons it has borne witness to, or about the time humans first settled here. Maybe it would prefer to talk about the present, having opinions about recreational land use or the rate at which our city is growing. Whatever the answers, Forever Yours, The Land, a campaign by the Palmer Land Trust, ponders that question in the form of a citywide art event. During August galleries all over Colorado Springs, Manitou and Monument will be showing nature-themed exhibits in support of the natural world of our region
“Forever Yours is an exciting initiative that brings together art and nature and utilizes the creative community here in Colorado Springs to raise awareness of conservation and to bring conservation into a part of our community,” says Rebecca Jewett, executive director of the Palmer Land Trust.
The partnership was facilitated by the Palmer Land Trust with the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, the Downtown Partnership, Manitou Art Center, the Old Colorado City First Friday ArtWalk, Monument Art Hop, 60 artists, and more than 100 galleries and businesses. The city-wide exhibit features artwork by many local artists, including Deb Komitor, Shannon Dunn, Brian Tryon.
At each participating venue, the Palmer Land Trust will have information about its mission to conserve the land of the Pikes Peak Region. “Conservation is a core part of our identity here in Colorado Springs,” Jewett says. “The idea is to bring voice to the land, which is voiceless. The awareness campaign that we’re running alongside these pieces aims to personify the land and to give voice to this thing that is an everyday part of our lives that we often take for granted.”
Artists have a unique relationship with the natural world. The earth often provides them the tools of their trade. In the words of artist and gallery owner Brett Andrus, painters literally “smear dirt on stuff” as they use paints made of crushed clay, copper, charcoal and other elements of nature. The land also provides inspiration and subject matter, certainly in the Pikes Peak Region.
Artist Deb Komitor is well-known regionally for her beautiful paintings of trees and forests, and this is the theme for her August show at Colorado Co-Op. “These paintings are meant to bring you back to nature. To quiet your mind, slow your breath and take a moment to exhale,” she writes in her artist statement. Komitor has partnered with The Palmer Land Trust in the past, and her latest show is an opportunity to demonstrate her own commitment to land conservation. “As an artist I want to see natural spaces leading to amazing views,” she says. “I am very grateful to Palmer Land Trust for protecting so much of our spaces and views from being developed. I feel it is our responsibility to be stewards of this land.”
The show also explores landscapes that are found outside Colorado. Painter Shannon Dunn explores human interaction with nature in her show The Ocean Between the Waves at The Modbo this month. According to gallery owner Lauren Ciborowski, the show features portraits of women set against the ocean. “These are strong women, seemingly in their element, surrounded by water and interacting with nature in different ways,” Ciborowski says. “Dunn chose a palate full of deep blues and purples, and manages to beautifully capture the movement and reflection of water.”
In addition to visual art, KCME 88.7 will provide musical programming on Aug. 3 that features composers who were inspired by nature. “This is a tremendous opportunity to bring our community together and rally around something that we all have in common, regardless of how long we’ve been here, and what we do here,” Jewett says. “The land and conservation are a unifying force, and art is a great platform for showcasing that.”
See Forever Yours, The Land
The multiple-venue exhibit launches Aug. 3. Check with galleries for August First Friday openings and celebrations. The show runs until the end of the month. Here are highlights. Find a complete list of locations at celebrateland.org.
The Machine Shop: Meg Larmie
Boulder Street Gallery: Eric Fetsch and Jack Mallock
Fine Arts Center: Steven Weaver
The Modbo: Shannon Dunn
Colorado Co-Op: Deb Komitor
The Roost at Till: Jill Kimbrell
Tap Traders: Brian Tryon