Life on the Summit: Artists celebrate the remodelling of County Commons Lobby |

Life on the Summit: Artists celebrate the remodelling of County Commons Lobby

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily

Successful artists don’t stagnate, and galleries — public and private — should follow suit.

A good example of this is the lobby of the County Commons Building in Frisco. The lobby doubles as a free public gallery, open again after a renovation spearheaded by the Summit County Arts Exhibit Committee, a Sandy Greenhut-inspired pursuit.

To celebrate the remodel, the exhibit committee is hosting a free “Art Talk” by Silverthorne painter Marianna Manning Duford, whose artwork will be on display.

Marianna’s presentation is set for Sunday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m., in the Mount Royal Room at the County Commons.

Her show runs Feb. 1 to May 1.

“We think you’ll be surprised and pleased with the new look,” says the exhibit committee’s Sue Paluska. “Gone are the distracting ceiling lights, replaced by slimmer ones. Spotlighting was added to highlight the art and a new hanging system was added. The final component is the refurbishing of the display cases to better enhance the items.

“Many people have helped make this project possible,” she adds, “and we are extremely grateful to the craftspeople, painters, county staff and many volunteers and donors — especially The Summit Foundation, which got things started with a generous matching grant.”

Others helping make the improvements happen include Leslie Aaholm, Randy Glover, Daphne Schroth and Simone Belz and Roger Paluska.

The goal “is to create a free, public gallery space with rotating art displays, 95 percent of which are created by Summit County artists,” Sue adds.

And Marianna is one of those locals.

“This exhibit will be 14 of the 44 paintings that the Outdoor All Weather Canvas Art company West Of The Wind has licensed and is manufacturing,” says Marianna, who also has an agreement with Jake Jabs’ American Furniture Warehouse, which sells a series of her “indoor” works.

Marianna’s artist statement says it best:

“Marianna is a native of Colorado and a lifelong artist who brings her love of the outdoors to her art and everything that she does. She doesn’t limit her artwork to just one medium and likes to let the inspiration decide whether it would be better in watercolor, oil or acrylics. Her love of plein air painting and travel have been the perfect complement to each other. Art and travel forays have taken her from Italy to Africa, the Mayan coast to Portugal, Florida to California and in between, the South Island of New Zealand to Tasmania and back again. Always, upon returning to her mountain home in Colorado, she wonders why she had to go so far to be inspired when she is surrounded by beauty every day of the year.”

As for her latest event, Marianna says, “I’m thrilled to have been chosen for the reopening celebration exhibit and am looking forward to chatting with the public regarding what Outdoor All Weather Canvas Art is all about during the free Art Talk at the opening for the new space.

“I’m the last artist to be hanging a solo exhibit; the exhibits scheduled to follow mine will be group exhibits with a theme,” she notes.

Her prints will be for sale and a portion will be retained by the committee to help ensure that future exhibits are free to the public.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. He and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social information to

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