What is Colorado culture? It's a good question, and one that is either fiercely debated or laughed off, depending on who you talk to. For example, when Kenneth C. Arkind, a local poet and Hot Congress Collective member, went to New York recently, he overheard a few people talking about Colorado, and they referred to it as the Midwest. "And I just thought, No, fuck you, it's not the Midwest. It's the fuckin' Wild West."
The question of what makes a culture, and more specifically, our culture, is what will be asked through December 14 by the Art Students League exhibition Colorado Culture.
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The show opens Friday, November 4, with a reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. And the fact that Denver Arts Week begins that same day means that you can kick off your November exploring even more galleries in pursuit of the the big answers to the big questions. Here's what some of the participating artists had to say about the meta questions revolving around the show.
Ashlee Comerford"The painting I have is of ballerinas, so it wasn't quite representative of the show, but it's high-energy, and I consider Colorado to be a high energy place. When I paint, I paint for the joy and the spirit of it. I'm not originally from Colorado; I moved down here three years ago, but I feel like there's so much spirit, so much life and energy here. That's what I contribute with my painting -- especially in the arts here... There are so many artists, and everyone supports each other. It's just a great environment for culture here." Betsy Duzan"Colorado culture is a reflection of the diverse landscape of our state: the man-made natural environment seeks to imitate nature while progress results in constant change." Robert Gratiot"I think part of culture is our architecture. There's the arts, music, sports and gangs and everything -- everything positive and negative goes into making a culture. The part of culture that I'm interested in with my paintings are the buildings we walk around and into. What I like about this building is that there is so much abstraction in those doors, we were seeing things on so many different levels... it's all these abstract pieces I put together to make a realistic image out of it. That is my interest and challenge -- the architectural part of our culture." Susan Dell"Colorado culture is changing a lot, but what attracts people here is the same as what always attracts people to The West: the free spirit and outdoor life."