The remodel of the Lobby Art Space at the County Commons building in Frisco is complete, and to celebrate, the Summit County Arts Exhibit Committee will host a grand opening on Sunday, June 29, at 4 p.m. The committee has worked for more than a year to complete the space, which allows for an eclectic presentation of local art year-round.
“The whole idea is to have an expression of good art, mostly from Summit County, that we can access on a daily basis,” said Sue Paluska, an exhibit committee member. “It’s free to the public; they can come in and sit down, spend a half hour or an hour, leisurely enjoy it and go to the library if they want.”
The lobby space has two rotating art installation sections. One is a smaller strip on the north wall devoted to a single artist that will rotate three times a year. Artists who display their work in this space are sought out and chosen by the exhibit committee, said Simone Belz, another member of the committee.
This wall features channeling close to the ceiling, providing the potential to hang very large pieces of art, she said. The current exhibit, by mixed-media artist Joe Wakeman, is titled “Light for the Soul: Looking for the Beauty Inside” and includes six works constructed of handmade paper, acrylic plasters, paint and LED lighting.
“The smaller wall that rotates three times a year, that’s pre-selected and predetermined on that schedule of who’s coming in and going out,” Belz said. “Joe’s work will hang through August, and then for the four remaining months of this year, we’ll have another installation coming in that we’re already working on.”
After its four-month tenure, the art from the smaller exhibition space will rotate to the Summit County Senior and Community Center. The remainder of the large exhibition space, including two lighted display cases near the west entrance to the building, is dedicated to a variety of artists, with juried pieces that will rotate less frequently, about once a year, Belz said.
Work from a handful of local artists will be on display for the grand opening in these areas, including oil paintings from Kate Kiesler, acrylic pieces from Tim Adrian, watercolors from Bruce Spinney and mixed-media art from Bonnie Norling-Wakeman. One of the lighted cases contains examples of art from Summit High School students Danny Daigle and Calais LeCoq, the exhibit committee’s 2014 Bob Anderson Art Scholarship winners.
The other case contains glass vases handmade by artist Kerry Feldman. Feldman’s work is also featured at the Art on a Whim Gallery in Breckenridge, but Paluska said the way the County Commons area is composed, with pieces being displayed but not priced for sale, means it’s not in competition with local galleries.
“We have had wonderful response from some of the galleries that have allowed us to use some of the Summit County artists in this yearlong program,” Paluska said. “That has been a really wonderful community emphasis with this space.”
To have their work displayed in the yearlong rotation, artists can submit a formal request for proposal form to the exhibit committee. Members of the committee review the proposals for certain criteria, including size of installation, visibility and other physical requirements, before notifying the artist of the acceptance of his or her work, Belz said.
Grand opening reception
The renovation of the County Commons lobby space allows for more art to be displayed in a more professional and visually pleasing manner, Paluska said, and the grand opening event is a time to show the community the work that has been done and to recognize the entities that have contributed to its progress.
“The county was very, very helpful,” she said. “When the lighting went up, they brought the big rigs to put it up. The goal is to show the beauty of how we’ve transformed the space, made more space for more art, but also to thank the people, our donors. We just want to celebrate the fact that it’s finished and we have something special, to get the word out so people know and come and see.”
Paluska said that in addition to monetary donations from The Summit Foundation and the Summit Rotary, many other organizations and individuals offered in-kind contributions, including discounts on labor and materials.
The Lobby Art Space provides an attractive entrance to the Main Library and is a display piece for the county to use for student field trips and as an example of a successful community project that brought together many groups with a common goal.
“It’s summer and many people who are only here in the summer are here,” said Leslie Aaholm, a member of the exhibit committee. “There are many people who haven’t followed this transition over the past months. They ought to come in and say, wow, no longer are those big lights hanging in front of the view of the mountains.
“It’s more than a paint job, although that was a huge part of it. … It’s a very professional space.”