INSPIRED by 40 West...

It truly was a "whirlwind weekend of the arts!" That's the tagline I coined when writing the Call for Entries application for a very special local event our team of art-loving volunteers were planning and preparing for. And what a joy it was to see our vision come to life, exceeding our expectations! I'm referring to this past weekend's 40 West INSPIRE Gallery show. For those of you who follow ME and / or 40 West Arts District on facebook, you will know that creating, branding and building this arts district has been and continues to be a labor of love. For the past year, I have been juggling my personal art business with the growing needs of this emerging creative district. Fortunately, it's all very close to home, and each inspires the other. We have accomplished so very much in a short amount of time, and last weekend's inaugural gallery opening certainly put us on the map! I sat on the jury and helped curate this unique show, organizing the entry finals into themes that allowed for a fun cross of mediums to mix and mingle. I have to say, my head is still spinning from all the pre-show hype, including my Artist Feature in the Your Hub section of the Denver Post to my interview with the Mayor of Lakewood! Who would have ever known that I would have been so involved with my community! Seriously, I have truly been a hermit for years..... well, that is until my ears started burning about a local arts district just down the street!

Long story short, we had around 550 in attendance at our first gallery event!  WOW! I want to thank all of my friends, neighbors and fans of my work who joined me and the 40W gang kick off our new public studio facility and celebrate our accomplishments and momentum. Below are just a few images from this exciting 3-day experience. Many more photos are available on our fan page!  ENJOY!


* That's me in my stylish 40W apron, the day before the show.  JP and I had just mounted my trio of one of a kind carnival characters. I was also handling and dusting off various works of art; hence the white glove!


* A slightly closer peek reveals a cat, a clown sitter and a mouse all ready for my upcoming Summer-Boo Web Sale on June 24th! The full collection of 11 various characters will reveal a more chromatic palette from me with a hint of Halloween. So far, the feedback has been quite favorable, so I look forward to sharing them all with you soon (well, once I finish them!)

The wooden shelf was a last-minute magical collaboration between JP and myself as we scoured the garden shed for pieces and parts. The swing seat is made from 2 faces of an old flower box and the metal brackets were discards, all found on various alley hunts.


* Here's a quick peek of the front reception room at 40 West Gallery & Studios. Attendees were warmly greeted by staff and were handed a program and invited to meander...


* Outside, the skies were blue and the sun was shining while waves of people from all ages arrived, anxious to see the art and experience the space.


* At 5:30, the warehouse space out back was brimming with folks ready for the ribbon-cutting ceremony!


* 40 West Champions formed a line across the entrance of the very first studio space, while leader Bill Marino praised their efforts and led a round of applause...


* Afterwards, I oversaw the community arts project where mostly children, along with a few willing adults, added paint and patterns to canvas squares.


* The kids jumped right in with no inhibitions and began painting what inspired them!


* Up front, JP was sipping wine and mingling with guests... I like my man in an apron!


* The sunny, front "Abstractions" room was a big hit with its variety of mediums from glass, mosaic, textile and stone to oils, photography and acrylics...


* Guests marveled at the varied children's exhibit in the large warehouse space out back.


* For most of the youth on display, this was their first opportunity to show their work in a gallery setting! I was reminded of the importance of nurturing the artist in every child, recalling when I too was a budding artist. The thrill of seeing my drawings on display in public exhibits certainly inspired me! (Thanks Mom :)

Again, if you would like to see more images, please visit the 40 West Fan Page ~

I feel very fortunate that we had such a wonderful turn-out with ample smiles and energetic excitement. The experience has me inspired as I complete the last few characters for my Summer-Boo Carnival collection, soon to debut on Sunday, the 24th. Following that festive web sale, I will be continuing my collection of Halloween & holiday originals for my fall and winter shows. So, you know where I'll be ~ in the workshop!!!

~ Johanna