Archive for the ‘Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art’ tag
When I was a kid, I had a porcelain mask hanging on my wall that I begged my mom to buy for me at a craft fair. I stared at it all the time – there is something about a mask that exudes a sense of mystery and adventure. This week the Masks at MOCA exhibit at the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art was calling me. No, the masks aren’t made of chocolate as the title of this post suggests… I also visited the nearby Chocolate Café and I think it’s the perfect post mask-viewing destination, but I’ll get to that later in this post.
Masks at MOCA started in 2004 and this year the museum invited 150 local artists and community members to take clay masks and turn them into stories and original pieces of art. This year’s masks, along with some of the best from years past, are on display now until May 7 at the museum. You can visit the museum to view the masks and bid on your favorites in a silent auction. This annual fundraiser contributes nearly one-third of the museum’s annual budget.
Visiting the Masks exhibit brought back memories of a program in Chicago called Cows on Parade. Local artists took massive cows and turned them into their own pieces of art and they were displayed all over the city. There is something about an Elvis cow in the middle of downtown Chicago that stops you in your tracks. The community went wild for the cows – everyone had a favorite and people were pretty passionate about defending their cow.
I was reminded of this enthusiasm when I bumped into Rose Moon of HalfMoon Arts Center at the Masks at MOCA exhibit. She was checking on the totem mask she created and seeing how her bids were holding up on her favorite masks. One of the things I love about Fort Collins is how much camaraderie there is in the arts community. Rose was a great guide – I loved her enthusiasm for the work of other artists and passion for this community.
The exhibit takes up most of the first floor – there is a main exhibit room and a room with predominantly student masks. Upstairs you’ll find the “Best in Show” masks from the last five years. Some of them are incredible. Not only is the Mask exhibit a reflection of the creativity and talent in this community, I found it made me sort of reflective. It’s not about which mask is best – it’s about what you relate to, what inspires you and what reflects your unique perspective. Here are a few of the masks that personally called to me. I’d love to hear about the masks that called to you…
Harper’s Journey (A Walk with My Daughter) is by artist/educator Samantha Pagni. The artist likely isn’t a stranger to taking in beautiful things, but what I took from her description, is her daughter helps opens her eyes and sees things she might miss. I recently moved a lot farther away from my parents and this mask makes me a little nostalgic.
Beatrice, Patron Saint of the Beet Workers is by registered nurse Kathleen Leuck. Not only is this mask beautiful, I identify with the description because I too see a picture or read something and my imagination automatically creates an elaborate story. I’m a daydreamer…
Mystical Prince is by Taryn Wise. Rose pointed this mask out to me and I immediately connected with it too. I love the description, “The wonderful thing about masks is they allow us to be someone different than who we are in our everyday lives. If we are timid and dowdy, all we need is a little razzle and dazzle and voila! We become a mystic prince or princess.” I don’t know if I’ve reinvented myself since I’ve been in Fort Collins or more likely become reacquainted with parts of myself that I missed, but I do feel like the everyday life and mystic princess can co-exist in a place like this.
Front Range by painter Joan Mangle was inspired by her drives on I-25 an hour before dusk. Says the description, “Colors that could only come from a paint box, expansive shapes that angle and reach and stretch farther than I can see.” I too find myself lost in the scenery as I’m driving here and often think, “Even if I have to go to a strip mall, at least I see the mountains behind it.”
Fabric of Life is by Rae A. Todd who works in communications and media relations. I have a similar background and sometimes step back and smile thinking about all of the unique people I’ve met and experiences I have had over the years. Like Rae I feel very fortunate. He says his mask is a reflection of “the richness and unique texture of the fabric of my life.”
Floating by artist Alison Dickson is about those people who rise under pressure. According to her description,” Rather than sinking under life’s stresses, tests and challenges, we can choose to stay afloat.”
I found the masks by high school students particularly interesting because I’ve always considered high school a time when many don’t feel all that comfortable in their own skin – when many wear masks. I was so impressed by the thought and the stories behind the masks created by these students. They are so much more in touch than I was at that age!
Lacking Enthusiasm by Rocky Mountain High School student Morgan Myers includes this description: “Age may wrinkle the face, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” As I was sitting in Mugs this morning finishing up this post, I overheard an exchange between an employee and a guest and one said, “another beautiful day in a beautiful city.” One of the things that makes Fort Collins so appealing to me is people love life, love their city and don’t forget it. There aren’t many wrinkled souls here.
It’s Just a Game by Rocky Mountain High School student Molly Clark. I can relate to the passion she finds in the game of soccer – particularly because I broke my ankle two years ago trying to re-live my soccer playing glory days. According to the description, “The 2006 World Cup Game between France and Italy was a game in which no fan, coach or player accepted mediocrity.”
Perhaps the Stevenson’s Dream mask by Eryn Gammorky, Student at Fossil Ridge High School sums up the experience best,” The real mission is to blend theses different faces; to become our most authentic selves.”
I hope you have a chance to visit the Masks at MOCA exhibit and take time to reflect, find parts of yourself in the masks, think about the masks you wear and then go eat a big piece of chocolate cake. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon or evening.
And now for the Chocolate… Whether it’s a girls night out, a date or you are flying solo, The Chocolate Café on Olive is a great place to connect and indulge your love for dessert. Yesterday I tried the black and white cheesecake with an Oreo-like crust and the chocolate molten lava cake. They were both super rich and so good. I was introduced to The Chocolate Café a couple weeks ago when my roommate brought home a piece of the traditional chocolate cake for me and I think I opened the fridge about 10 times that night – no you can’t have just one bite.
Masks at MOCA is open through May 7. Museum Hours are Tues. – Fri. 10-5, Sat. noon-5. Admission is $5 for adults, and $2 for seniors and students. Admission is free for children under 18 and FCMOCA members. The Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 201 S. College St.
The Chocolate Café is open Mon. – Thurs 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. It is located at 102 W. Olive St.
What’s happening this weekend in Fort Collins?
Well, perhaps you’re a regular participant in First Friday, Old Town Fort Collins, but if you just keep planning to see what it’s all about and don’t manage to get there, this Friday is the next opportunity for you to join in! On the first Friday of every month between 6-9 p.m., Old Town Fort Collins galleries keep their doors open so that you can see what’s going on with a self-guided tour. The participating Downtown Business Association Member Galleries are Art on Mountain, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Illustrated Light Gallery, Lincoln Center Galleries, Meko’s Gallery & Framing, and Trimble Court Artisans. Leap of Faith is also participating and Georgia Rowswell will be there this weekend to meet people…. Where you go and what you choose to see is up to you–get your map here! As John Updike says, “what art offers is space–a certain breathing room for the spirit.” So this Friday, take time to make space and allow the arts in Fort Collins to feed your spirit. First Friday Gallery Walk provides a great way to engage with and celebrate creativity.
Have you noticed that no matter how many times you stroll through Old Town, there’s always something to explore? For example, this Friday evening, Trimble Court Artisans presents a new exhibition of Colorado Miniatures by artist Patsy Barry. At The Center for Fine Art Photography, you can also see the photographs of 39 artists from 4 countries, selected by Chris Jordan for the Works of Man exhibition and experience Poetry Night in the cafe. If you’d like to take a “peek” at the kind of art and furniture Fort Collins area residents collect, see the exhibition Fort Collins Collects, at FCMOCA. Then, over at Old Town Art and Framery, you can see the original painting used for this year’s Fort Collins Jazz Experience poster and meet the artist Daryl Price at a special reception. As Peggy Lyle, from the Downtown Business Association, says, “The image is a perfect example of how jazz can transcend music and blossom into many art forms, making jazz a subculture and way of thought. It perfectly embodies the Fort Collins Jazz Experience’s mission and emphasis.” The list goes on. . . You could visit the new gallery Kirsten wrote about last week — Leap of Faith on Oak Street, or plan to enjoy the summer evening by listening to local jazz musician Kenny Workman, the scheduled performer for Benny and Jerry’s FAC Concert Series. Old Town Square isn’t the only place to listen to music on Friday night either. All over Fort Collins you can hear cool sounds, including the The Poudre River Irregulars and Heidi and the Rhythm Rollers at Avo’s, and All that Jazz: Kevin Kerrick and Friends over at The Tap Room (@ Catalyst). Get more details at the Fort Collins Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.~Erma Bombeck