Local artists Nicholas Reti (above left) and Ivy Walker (above middle) received a Paid to Create grant in Fall 2017 for their project called “The History of Art in Crested Butte” with the goals of uncovering, discovering, and archiving our local art history. The project quickly demonstrated that Gunnison Valley had a longer and deeper art history than many imagined. Through their research, Reti and Walker realized that the earliest art in the valley can be traced to the first U.S. Geological surveys of the area that occurred concurrently with the mining boom of the 1870’s. Reti compiled months of research and purchased a small number of historical prints and photographs to build the foundation for the project while Walker took the lead as project manager. Additionally, Peggy Morgan Stenmark (above right) volunteered hours of research to the project. Lastly, Shaffer Nickel, created this video about the film featuring animation by Ryan Sullivan.

“Drawn west initially by the romance of riches that followed mining booms, artists have been finding ways to record their experiences in Gunnison Country for over 150 years. The character of the West attracts artists with entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, independence and determination. The goal of the History of Art in Crested Butte project is to discover and archive the art, people and events that made our town the creative community it is today and to chronicle our place in Western Art.” – Ivy Walker