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The Art History of the Gunnison Valley: The Steve
June 4, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
Western Colorado University’s Quigley Gallery is proud to exhibit the Art History of the Gunnison Valley: The Steve Glazer Collection—Crested Butte Art, 1970-1990. The exhibition will open Friday, June 4, 5-8 PM for the Gunnison First Friday Art Walk, and it will continue to be up until August 6. Showing this collection represents the next stage for the M.A. in Gallery & Museum Management (MGMM) program’s continuing project to document the art history of the Gunnison Valley. Steve Glazer was an icon in the Gunnison-Crested Butte area on account of his extensive support of the cultural economy. Glazer resided in Crested Butte from 1969 until he passed on June 24, 2016, from a long battle with cancer. He purchased the Princess Theater in 1970 to save it from shutting down. He was involved in performances and production of films and shows, as well as helping with the Crested Butte Mountain Theatre. The illustrious Princess Curtain, commissioned by Glazer for the theater, represents a rendition of Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus with the inclusion of the Crested Butte landscape. The curtain is now on display at the Crested Butte Heritage Museum. Glazer also established the Earth Station Radio, which is now the KBUT radio station. He is a founder of the Crested Butte State Bank, now known as Bank of the West. Furthermore, Glazer was an outspoken activist in the protection of Crested Butte’s water supply and created the Coal Water Coalition in 2003. The town named their water supply the Glazer Reservoir in his honor. The Steve Glazer Collection is comprised of thirty works of art that were donated by friends, family, and people that recognized his legacy in the valley. Steve Glazer one day hoped to establish an art museum in the valley and this collection serves as a remembrance of his wishes. Primarily local to the area, the artists exhibited include Patricia Dawson, Susan Anderton, Adam Freed, and many others. The art collection was compiled by his wife, Diana Graves, to serve as a tribute to his life and achievements. Bailey Backus, a second-year MGMM student curated the exhibition. She explained: “The works document the ever-changing environment of Crested Butte and its growth from a small mining town in the 1970s to the outdoor recreation and creative industries destination it is today. Some of the works reflect a commercial approach by painters to sell works prized by tourist, but other pieces show that these artists were on the cutting edge of experimental trends.” The exhibition serves as another milestone in a long-term project. Dr. Jeffrey Taylor, the director of the M.A. in Gallery and Museum Management, as well as director of the Quigley Gallery, explained, “this project began a couple years ago with a Crested Butte Creative District grant to Nic Reti and Ivy Walker to research the art history of Crested Butte. Since then many others in the valley have contributed their expertise and collections in order to develop an art history of the Gunnison Valley. Most recently, our graduate program put on an exhibition at the Gunnison Arts Center, that highlighted the first painters of the Valley, all women, who worked from 1880-1910. The Steve Glazer collection now gives us a chance to continue the story through the 20th Century.”