Scott Wilson has had a big year. Not only did the Denver-based photographer win international awards for "Anger Management," a photograph he took of a Colorado mustang, but his photo gallery will open in a new location in the Art District on Santa Fe tonight, May 6, on First Friday.
Gallery 6 had been on East Sixth Avenue, on the edge of Cherry Creek. "It was just outside of the typical walking zone," Wilson says. "It was a great space and we had nice neighbors, but we didn't have the foot traffic. ... We had fond memories of being in a gallery on Santa Fe Drive, and we just had to get that buzz and traffic back."
Wilson's first experience on Santa Fe Drive was showing works in photographer John Fielder's gallery. "First Fridays were just an incredible buzz," he remembers. "People were so interested in the art, so just to get that feeling back is amazing."
The new gallery, at West Eighth Avenue and Santa Fe, is a 1,400-square-foot space that provides ample room to display photos. "You won't see false walls appearing to cram in as much art as possible," Wilson notes. At a portfolio table, visitors will be able to flick through photographs as a catalogue rather than look through bins used at the old gallery. "It's just a little step forward in what we present to visitors," he adds.
The opening show will include photos by Wilson as well as other resident artists, including Dave Stephens, Kevin Schwalbe and Tony Eitzel, a Denver art scene veteran. "Eitzel is who we describe as our master framer," Wilson says. "He has a technique called the deckled edge, which is like torn paper but looks so classy...it just oozes quality. And you can't notice it online. You have to be in the gallery to see it."
After Gallery 6 opened in its original home last year, it became a place for photographers to meet and discuss their craft. "I would expect, hope and be delighted if that were the case in our new space," Wilson says, adding that after the gallery finds its footing, he wants to give space to new photographers who aren't resident artists.
"We're mostly outdoor photographers," he says. "There's some very fine Colorado art, and then you're getting a sprinkling of international landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes — and for a lot of my followers, it's all about the wild horses. They're certainly very present on the walls."
Since taking that top honor, Wilson has been building his portfolio with more urban landscape and seascape photographs, though his focus is still on wild horses. "My biggest principal project at the moment is the wild horse issue. Just from an artistic point of view, they've done well on the award front," he says. "But the important thing for me is the ability of the art to raise an issue, and the American mustang is under the constant threat of roundup; 117 horses have died in the last week in Cañon City, just south of Denver. So just having wild horses in the public eye is crucially important to long-term conservation."
And this new gallery will move them front and center on Santa Fe. "Getting back into an art district which I see as thriving again is incredible," says Wilson.
Gallery 6 opens Friday, May 6, at 918 West Eighth Avenue. Follow the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.