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MGES students research art history in the Gunnison Valley as part of summer practicum

MGES students research art history in the Gunnison Valley as part of summer practicum

GUNNISON, Colo. (Aug. 22, 2019) – The culmination of two years of research on the origins of art in the Gunnison Valley is now on display in Quigley Gallery at Western Colorado University. Titled “The Art History of the Gunnison Valley,” the show was installed by the new cohort of the M.A. in Art, Gallery Management & Exhibits Specialization (MGES) during their time on campus is August.

The project began with a Crested Butte Creative District grant given to Nicholas Reti and Ivy Walker of Oh Be Joyful Gallery. They discovered that the earliest artists came to the area in the surveys of the 1850s and 1870s. When Crested Butte, Gunnison and Irwin were founded in the early 1880s, all three towns boasted resident photographers.

Research by MGES students also discovered three female painters who worked in the area at that time. The artists were Annie Hartman, Lara Sears and Miss Monroe. Monroe’s painting of Hartman’s cattle camp is conserved in Gunnison’s Pioneer Museum.

“This exhibition is really exciting because it shows that artists working in our valley is a tradition that goes back over 150 years,” said Quigley Gallery director Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D.

The exhibition will run through Sept. 20. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment on weekends. The official exhibit opening will be Sept. 5 at 12:30 p.m. during the Art Department Convocation and will feature an address from Gail Jacobs. Jacobs is the granddaughter of Henry and Catherine Richter, who were the first art instructors at Western, then known as the Colorado State Normal School.

A second opening will occur during the Gunnison First Friday Art Walk on Sept. 8. The event runs from 5-8 p.m. Former Western librarian Ethel Rice will lead tours of the Savage Library’s art collection from 4:30-6 p.m.

The MGES Summer Practicum is an on-campus residency opportunity intended to provide students with an introduction to the graduate program and encourage network development. This session included a trip to the Roaring Fork Valley as well as the Aspen Art Museum.

For more information about the graduate program, visit

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