By Margaret Hedderman
When I first moved to Durango this time last year, one of my first writing assignments for the local paper was covering “The Soul of All Souls” at Studio &. The show, a celebration of the Day of the Dead, was a collection of work from the Studio & artists and friends. I described the show as, “funny, morbid, poignant and downright creepy interpretations of that final event.”
Studio & is one of those rare and exciting venues that confuses a first time guest. It’s a studio, but it’s also a gallery. But more than that, it’s an idea. Some people get it. Some people don’t. As per the & website:
& is our way of thinking, and it’s the unique mindset that guides our design, our art, and the way we experience life. & is a connector, joining ideas to people. With &, there is always another idea to be added. With &, progress is unending; the possibilities are limitless.
Step into & and (that just happened, btw) you’re stepping into a creative space. Work is being done. Something is happening. Anything but a sterile atmosphere, the gallery/workspace is in constant motion, flux, and reinvention.
Back in February I wrote about the creative process behind the show “Previously Entitled.” Much like a writer’s exercise, Tim Kapustka of & challenged other artists to create a piece of art based upon a previously created title. Over several months the & artists (and many other from the area) created works of art based upon their title. In my article, I explored the complexity of the project:
Therein lies the complexity of Kapustka’s seemingly simple idea: How do you promote the artistic process while simultaneously containing it? Previously Entitled is essentially an exercise in testing the adaptability of creativity.
This is what I love about &: they consistently challenge themselves as artists, pushing their limits and also the limits of what is expected in a rural Colorado town. A true cooperative, the current artists, Kapustka, Shay Lopez, Elizabeth Kinahan, Clint Reed, and Tirzah Camacho run the gallery, support each other’s shows, and consistently produce thought-provoking, contemporary and always, very, very different art.