Pueblo is known for its strong Hispanic heritage, but the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center is celebrating one of the Steel City’s lesser known cultures in its Japan Style series of exhibits this spring. “There is a really strong Japanese history here. Pueblo is an incredible melting pot,” curator Liz Szabo says. At the turn of the 19th century, emigrants of many races and cultures came to work in the booming steel plants. And traces of their influence are still evident within local culture.
Japan Style, opening April 1, includes a series of five overlapping exhibits. The Art of Form and Function showcases the private collection of local storyteller, curator and creative consultant, Gregory Howell, who grew up in Japan. Howell’s collection has been a work in progress for 40 years, starting when he was a young child. It focuses on everyday objects created during the 18th to 20th centuries, including objects, such as baskets and farmer’s clothing, that represent the power and influence of artistic expression in daily Japanese life.
Netsuke (pronounced nets-kay) is a local collection of small intricate objects that served both functional and aesthetic purposes. Carved from ivory, wood, metal or ceramic, a netsuke was traditionally used as button-like fixture on a man’s sash; it held a hanging pouch to carry small personal belongings, such as tobacco.
Other items range from kimonos and prints to contemporary ceramics. Prepare to be transported from a traditional Japanese tea garden to modern illustrations.
Know Before You Go
Japan Style: April 1-May 21 (Some exhibit dates vary.)
Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo
Opening reception with collectors, live caricature drawing and taiko drummers: April 1, 1-4 p.m.
First Friday Art Walk: April 7, 5-7 p.m.
Brewed in Japan: An intimate evening of Japanese beer and whisky tasting—a Studio 210 member event: April 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m.