`This is Colorado' art show returns to Arapahoe Community College

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Eighty paintings by Colorado's fine artists fill the Colorado Gallery of the Arts at Arapahoe Community College, in the annual “This is Colorado” exhibit, sponsored for many years by the local Heritage Fine Arts Guild of Arapahoe County. It has appeared at numerous venues previously, but not in this handsome gallery, a natural location for it.

The show, which runs through Nov. 15, was juried by artist Phyllis Vandehaar, former chair of the art department at Arapahoe High School and popular local teacher at Roxborough State Park and elsewhere. “If art isn't challenging, enlightening and enjoyable, something is wrong,” she said. She gave a written comment to each artist whose work was accepted in the show.

Paintings in the show vary from traditional oils to abstract acrylics to several mixed media fabric collages, which verge on sculptural — although the show features only two-dimensional works.

Veteran painter/teacher Robert Gray of Highlands Ranch won the Best of Show award for his large romantic watercolor, “Rainbow Sky,” which depicts a mountain lake at a magic moment when a rainbow fills the sky and is reflected in the water. Located just inside the gallery entrance to the right, it shows great skill with a difficult medium in the careful interplay of color and light and dark. Gray once maintained a studio in downtown Littleton (on Alamo) and has been teaching at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake recently, as well as HFAG and other workshops.

First place was awarded to Lee Wasilik of Littleton, also an experienced painter, for his “Rocky Mountain Sunday,” a cozy scene of congregants gathered in front of a white traditional wooden church. The painterly technique in this acrylic work stands out.

MK, Marykay Moore Jacobus' jovial “Women — All That Jazz” won second place. Jacobus, current HFAG president, has worked tirelessly to keep this significant statewide exhibit going for a number of years, aided, of course by numerous guild members. She deserves community recognition.

Third place winner was Diane Edwards' cheerful “Poppies on the Front Range,” a drift of red poppies, with mountains in the distance.

The ACC Gallery Director Award, selected by Trish Sangelo, went to Janet Ford for “In the Colorado Moment.” Merit awards were given to Linda Metcalf for her abstract “All That Jazz”; to longtime member Orrel Schooler for “Ancient Homes”; to Kristine Orr for “Outer Reaches”; to Nancy Raskin for a pastel, “The Forest.”

Gallery hours: Mondays through Fridays noon to 8, according to the student who was staffing it.

For information about the Heritage Fine Arts Guild programs and prospective membership, contact MK Jacobus, mkstudio@comcast.net, 303-741-5875.

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