Book of Life

These days, Judy Anderson is best known for her good work as director of PlatteForum, the nonprofit in the Central Platte Valley that pairs resident artist-mentors with at-risk kids for a start-to-finish exhibition experience. A talented artist in her own right, with a strong background in education and design, Anderson has shaped PlatteForum into a rich, experiential workshop of shared ideas with concrete results. And if there’s one thing she’s gotten out of her time there, it’s how to administer the fine art of collaboration. She’s really, really good at helping to put heads together on a project, and — no surprise, this — is quite adept at collaborating herself.

That skill shows in Anderson’s collaborations with wordsmith Ginny Hoyle, an old friend with whom she’s created several handmade book projects. Their latest tag-team creation, When We Were Birds, a multi-faceted installation combining book art with poetry, opens tonight with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. in the back gallery of Walker Fine Art, 300 West Eleventh Avenue.

To begin this project, Anderson and Hoyle began meeting weekly to tell stories and sort out their lives together as both continued to grow as women. When We Were Birds, which juxtaposes books made from cut-apart pages from Anderson’s old notebooks with Hoyle’s words, emerged from those sessions. “It’s really about soaring now, when you’re in your sixties, about sailing forward,” Anderson says. “It’s almost like a memoir, with books that form a sculptural city out of fragments from both of our lives.” Eventually, the collaboration grew to include photographer Efrain Cruz and sculptor Christopher Hecker, a resident at PlatteForum during last year’s Biennial of the Americas, who created platforms for the installation.

When We Were Birds continues through May 7, along with concurrent shows by gallery artists Angela Beloian and Mark Castator; for more information, go to or call 303-355-8955.
March 25-May 7, 2011

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd