Art Room a Delightful Surprise in Smiley Building


Walk into the main entrance at the old Smiley Middle School, and an auditorium that once hosted student performances and plays, now hosts a different kind of performance. Stop by and see the ArtRoom Collective. This story is sponsored by Ute Mountain Casino and Pop's Truck and RV Center

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The old smiley middle school auditorium that once served as a venue for student, concerts, and plays, now hosts a different kind of performance. Artists producing their art for anyone who drops by. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel and Pops Truck and RV Center. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

Well, the Art Room Collective is a group of 22 individual artists that rent space in this collaborative art space at the Smiley Building, which used to be the auditorium of the Smiley Junior High School. And we each have a different style and a different medium, but we all come together as a collaborative group to exchange ideas, to laugh, to share snacks and monthly cocktail parties. And this whole group is really passionate about what each of us does. And it's nice to have a working gallery where we can share our passions with the community while doing what we love.

The art room is the creation of Smiley Building owner Charles Shaw, who has spent the past 20 years converting the old Emory Smiley Junior High School into offices and meeting spaces. The conversion offers open booth spaces separated by casement windows from the old building. Walking through the aisles is like walking through an open air art market where you can not only see finished pieces, but you can watch the artists at work. Atchison said the room's design facilitates quite a bit of cross-pollination of ideas between artists working in different media, while also giving the public an opportunity to see how an artist produces a work of art from conceptualization to final touches. And the best part, at least from a working artist point of view, art lovers can buy the pieces they see.

I've actually been surprised at the success of the art room as a retail space. I wasn't expecting that at all. I was just expecting to paint here and do graphic design at home and do both part time. But it's been really wonderful to have people express such an interest in the art in the art room that they see us as a place to shop for local art during the holidays and the rest of the year.

The art room is located off the Smiley Cafe Dining area and is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily or whenever the cafe is open. The collective also will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. during the Fall Art Walk schedule on Friday, September 16th at Art galleries throughout Durango. And the art rooms Autumn Exhibition and Market will follow on Saturday, September 17th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To see a list of artists in the art room or to sign up for the collective's newsletter, visit Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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