#2: Corianne Wells and Kristopher Michael Wright
As collaborators in the creative arts incubator Odessa, life partners Corianne Wells and Kristopher Michael Wright work above and beyond the confines of their day jobs to bring creatives together and increase general awareness of Denver artists and art spaces, all while mastering the job of being artists themselves. Keep an eye on these two: As noted below, they’re continually looking for new ways to get the word out. True believers in the power of collaboration, Wells and Wright speak for each other as one in their answers to the 100CC questionnaire.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Corianne Wells and Kristopher Michael Wright: We would have loved to collaborate with Walter Gropius and the all-star lineup of art and design faculty of Germany’s Bauhaus movement. Their belief in bringing multiple disciplines together under one roof in order to rejuvenate art and design for everyday life is something that really inspired Odessa. They also stressed that art and design can (and should) strive to alleviate many of the sociocultural issues we face; rethinking “fine arts” as “visual arts” helped to shape our contemporary understanding of art as a research science instead of a romanticized pastime.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Right now, Meow Wolf is so interesting to us! We want to know more about its curation, collaboration and its ability to mobilize hundreds of artists. We also love how Meow Wolf makes contemporary art accessible to the community they serve.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Recently we learned that, though nearly half of all MFAs in the U.S. are granted to female artists, only 30 percent of artists represented by commercial galleries are women. Even worse, work by women artists only makes up about 3 to 5 percent of major permanent collections in the U.S. We'd love to see more authentic and fair representations of all kinds of artists in both commercial and curated spaces!
What's your day job?
We truly believe we have the best jobs in the world! Being able to immerse ourselves in art, both personally and professionally, has been a huge blessing. We spend most days splitting our time equally between Odessa, our personal studio practices, and our 9-to-5s. During the week, Corianne is the studio manager at From the Hip Photo's newest location, inside Stanley Marketplace, and Kristopher is a shopkeeper at Svper Ordinary. On the weekends, you can almost always find us in our home studio with a bottle of wine — or at someone else's studio...with a bottle of wine.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
We literally daydream about this prospect all the time! Our goal is to one day find a home for Odessa: a creative incubation space where critical discourse, artmaking and community engagement can happen all under one roof. With Denver's seemingly endless expansion, we'd love to provide affordable and sustainable live/work opportunities for artists in the area — oh, and a puppy! Everyone needs a studio mascot, right?
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
Love it! We wouldn't be here if we didn't think it was a special city. The art community is collaborative, creatives are innovative, and, yes, we will admit it, we love the weather. Of course, we aren't blind to the growing pains the city is experiencing (see “native” bumperstickers), but we also see the incredible potential that this growth brings, and we want to do everything we can to show love to those who call Denver home.
What's the one thing Denver could do to help the arts?
Denver, like many other growing cities, undervalues the role that artists have in cultivating a sense of identity within a community. We'd like to challenge developers to think more holistically about how these new structures can divide or strengthen a given place or people.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
There are just way too many amazing people to name. We are continually grateful for the support of Cayce Goldberg at Helikon, just a rad dude advocating for artists and making great work. We also love the vibrant good energy that Daisy Patton brings to every room she enters. Also, Scott Young's work blows us away, and Kate Bailey, who runs TARRA, a community of woman creatives, is just an all-around badass whom we look up to.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Our calendar is filling up fast! Right now, we're preparing for the opening reception of Brian Napier | Crooked Timber (curated by yours truly) and Exposure, a free happy hour celebrating Colorado's creative community. We're also planning a four-week-long Creative Finances workshop and a new podcast series for the fall of 2017.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
Oh, yes! This is our favorite question, because Denver has no shortage of inspiring people! Sky Welkin is a good friend of ours and fellow collaborator. His gift for storytelling, combined with an unrivaled work ethic is inspiring! We hope Daniel Granitto and his paintings on memory and space also get more attention. Definitely, check out Eileen Richardson and all the amazing things the Rocky Mountain Land Library has cooking up!
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Brian Napier | Crooked Timber opens with a reception from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 30, and runs through July 28 at RedLine. Immediately following the reception, Odessa hosts Exposures from 7 to 11 p.m. The event includes free beer from Ratio Brewery and wine from Infinite Monkey Theorem, a speed-dating/creatives experience with several local artists, a large-scale projection of local 3-D and 2-D work, and live music. Admission is free, but advance registration is requested at Eventbrite. Learn more about Odessa online and follow on Facebook.