March afternoons aren’t subject to predictability, but sunny skies and pleasant Saturday breezes produced the perfect weather for a semi-outdoor art exhibit co-created and curated by the Pueblo Food Project and the Pueblo Art Guild.
The aim of the program was to help introduce more audience members to the Art Guild, if they were familiar with the Food Project, or vice versa. Held at the Pueblo Art Guild Gallery in Mineral Palace Park, many community members stopped by while strolling or took time to relax nearby after enjoying the show and exploring what food meant to them .
“We had a very short lead time to put on this show, and we had almost 70 admissions, which is incredible,” said Food Project Director Monique Marez. “(the pieces) are all different, all different kinds of artist and media as you can see, and we’re so excited that so many people wanted to join in on the fun.”
She said the project was started by Tom Carrigan, a member of the Pueblo Food Council as well as the Pueblo Art Guild.
“He thought it would be interesting to talk about food in a different way and just see what the different interpretations of the community would be,” Marez said.
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Bob Labenberg, president of the Art Guild, said the collaboration began when Carrigan’s joint membership in the two groups resulted in a brilliant idea: why not combine the idea of food insecurity with a gallery of art to help bring community members who might not normally intersect with either the Food Project or the Art Guild into contact with the groups.
“It turned out to be really, really cool,” Labenberg said. “This is the first time that we have done something with another group, and we just think it is beneficial to get involved with other organizations in the community. It has been a success, more than I did. thought so. “
Marez said she hopes the collaboration connects the two communities – the art and advocacy of food – in the hopes that further positive impacts could take place on Pueblo.
“I think it’s great to have these overlaps as food advocates, connecting with the arts community can be very powerful,” she said. “So it’s just an opportunity for us to make those connections and keep telling the story.”
Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar and a representative from the Blo Back Gallery judged the submitted artwork, determining the first, second and third place ribbons for the few dozen submissions. Several of the works submitted were purchased during the show.
Visitors to the gallery were encouraged to vote for their favorite work, which was ultimately titled “Icythyopia”, and was created by Edwin Soriano. The piece was made from plasticine, resin, and other mixed media to create a 3D fish with a fetus in the stomach.
Soriano’s piece also received a third place ribbon from the Art Guild.
“I don’t care if we have 40 or 100 entries, we always have some great entries here in Pueblo,” Labenberg said.
Soriano said it was his first time at an Art Guild show and that he won a gift card and basket of local Pueblo products provided by the Pueblo Food Project. He asked those who watched the play to create their own meanings for it.
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Springside Cheese Shop also sponsored the event, which provided a 40-pound chunk of cheddar cheese for a ceramic artist to sculpt and shape. Artist Cristine Boyd provided drawings for event visitors to choose from for her to sculpt. She owns and operates “All Clay”, a studio on South Grand Avenue in Pueblo.
“It’s obviously fabulous to bring people out, and it’s a fantastic way to get people’s ideas on what they want to see,” Gradisar said. “It’s a great event, and it’s a great day for him too.”
Chieftain reporter Heather Willard can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter: @HeatherDWrites.