A new gallery is the latest addition to a historic building in downtown Cheyenne that is becoming a hotspot for local artists as the city expands its arts scene.
Artists Georgia Rowswell and Terry Kreuzer opened their new gallery and studio, Blue Door Arts @the Hynds, at the end of March in the historic Hynds building across from the Depot Plaza.
The nonprofit gallery will celebrate its opening and first show during the April 12 Cheyenne Artwalk. The gallery features human figure work by Kreuzer and Dave Rowswell, including a life-size blue sculpture. The gallery owners also plan to showcase work by others artists around Wyoming and the region as well. They hope to offer workshops and artists talks, Rowswell said.
“We’re wanting to put in contemporary art that may be somewhat different from what people would see in a more traditional Western-themed art gallery,” she said. “We want to bring in new and interesting art.”
The studio is one facet of Cheyenne’s art scene, which local organizers say is growing after a recent slump. There are more people at the city’s art walks and a growing community among its artists, they said.
The studio owners spruced up a vacant space in the old building, which now means the whole ground floor is filled with art spaces, Rowswell said. The new gallery neighbors an artist’s collective showcasing four artists called Art@the Hynds to the north and Three Crows Gift Gallery to the south.
Rowswell and Kreuzer also just took over the nonprofit group called LightsOn!, which aims to bring arts education and vitality into the downtown core. The group added windows seven years ago to the Hynds building, which Rowswell was told had boarded up two decades ago.
Blue Door Arts @the Hynds is part of that effort as well.
“We feel the arts are really important to the vitality of the city and important to attracting and maintaining a youthful work force that want to stay in Cheyenne, and not work here and go across the border and work in Fort Collins, which is one of the things that we deal with,” Rowswell said.
She and Kreuzer now create the art in studio spaces at Blue Door Arts. Visitors can see how she uses old clothes to create her art and watch Kreuzer create ceramics and jewelry art. The studios add variety and give people a chance to learn more about how art is created along with the work and skill involved, she said.
While Rowswell believes that art is influenced by where artists’ live, her process and use of fabric is a different take on classic art inspired by the West, she said. One of her projects uses upcycled textiles to create art that is inspired by the colors and textures of the geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park.
“So that’s just an example of wanting to talk about the West in maybe a different voice than you would traditionally think of in Western art,” she said.
People have shown interest in what’s happening in the historic building and the Blue Door Arts @the Hynds, including several artists.
“Once they see that there’s an arts presence down here, we find that artists are kind of coming out of the woodwork and enjoying talking with each other,” Rowswell said.
She’s also part of an effort to start an artist-in-residency program at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, another example of how the arts are growing in the city, Rowswell said.
The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens is hosting art exhibitions in a second-floor space in its new $16 million building, which opened in August, interim executive director Tina Worthman said.
The Botanic Gardens joins the art walk this month for the first time as a stop on the trolley route. This month its gallery features art by Wendy Lemen Bredehoft followed by Rowswell’s art next month. The center also plans educational programs to coincide what artists are working on, Worthman said.
The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens is part of the city of Cheyenne under its Community Recreation and Events Department, which also houses the Cheyenne Civic Center and Depot Plaza. The Civic Center features an influx of upcoming entertainment events, she said.
“It’s nice to be able to offer all that in Cheyenne, so people don’t necessarily feel the need to drive to Colorado to do those things — that we are actually going to be able to offer those things here,” Worthman said. “It’s a resurgence for sure. It really feels exciting in Cheyenne that we’re able to have those kinds of things going on.”
Harvey Deselms of Deselms Fine Art & Custom Framing said it’s been a slow year, though people seem to be growing more attuned to the arts and events in town. He’s seeing more people at the Cheyenne Art Walk and more shows at Cheyenne Civic Center, for example.
The Cheyenne Arts scene, like most places, is one that’s always in flux, he said.
“Sometimes it gets more vibrant than other times, and then it kind of falls off. Part of that is seasonal. The bigger scale part of it is economical,” Deselms said. “There seems to be right now I would say a little more interest in the arts. It’s not necessarily transferring to more sales, just more interest in the arts. “
President of the Cheyenne Arts Guild Brenda Treuthardt said the art scene seems to be picking up in the past year after a slump. Even though the guild is off the beaten path, foot traffic is up and more people are turning up for shows.
The new activity at the Hynds building as well as increased focus on the Cheyenne Art Walk are good signs, she said.
“We’re all trying to work together and it seems like it’s going in the right direction,” Treuthardt said.