Fuller Lodge Art Center Turns 40 This Year

Fuller Lodge Art Center Executive Director Ken Nebel with Portal Gallery featured artist Cathy Bennett at Friday’s opening reception of Warp and Weft. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

 

Patrons check out the entries in the Fuller Lodge Art Center’s newest show, Warp and Weft. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

 

By KIRSTEN LASKEY

Los Alamos Daily Post

 

The Fuller Lodge Art Center had much to celebrate Friday night as it kicked off the opening of its first exhibit of the year, Warp and Weft. 

 

This year the art center turns 40 years old but in addition to its own milestone, the organization is recognizing a whole slew of others. All the exhibits this year will celebrate an anniversary or a birthday, said Amy Bjarke, who handles exhibits, marketing and the center’s arts and crafts fairs. “We’re calling this the anniversary trail,” she said. 

 

For instance, during Friday’s Warp and Weft show, the art center is honoring the 216th birthday of the jacquard loom, the power loom. The center will toast its own anniversary May 5 with the Look Who’s 40! Exhibit. The center is encouraging residents to contribute artwork that is either created in Los Alamos or depicts life on the hill.

 

“We’re celebrating our ‘over the hill’ on the hill birthday,” Bjarke said.

 

The fun continues in June with the show, Get Your Kicks, which will pay homage to Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” and the 90th anniversary of Route 66. In August, the show, Meanwhile Back at the Ranch, will tribute the 100th anniversary of the Ranch School.

 

Bjarke said in several of the upcoming exhibits, the art center is reaching out to different local entities such as Pajarito Environmental Education Center and local boy scout troops.

 

The art center is celebrating more than just an anniversary; it is also recognizing what has been accomplished during the past 40 years.

 

“I’ve seen artist growth,” Bjarke said. “I’ve watched their artwork get bigger and better.”

 

She also credits Fuller Lodge Art Center Director Ken Nebel for revitalizing the center’s shows. “Ken has done a tremendous job bringing life into the shows.”

 

Nebel said he appreciates the public’s enthusiasm and involvement in the art center. When people get excited about a show, “that’s always gratifying,” he said. “We’ve become really well known for the themes we take (in our shows).”

 

Having that relationship with the community is huge, Nebel said. “You can be doing a wonderful job … but unless you get to share in that there’s really no point.”

He added, “I wouldn’t have met as many characters if I hadn’t worked in this place.”

 

“Everyone who goes through the door is just fun. Being here is such an inspiration and that’s because of everybody who walks through the door.”

 

In addition to the art shows, the art center’s classes have grown significantly. “Everything class-wise has expanded,” Bjarke said.

 

Nebel mentioned he too has seen growth in the classes. Last summer, every single class filled up. Art classes are increased from one week to eight weeks and enroll between 60-100 kids a week. Plus, they are able to offer everything from glass blowing to welding.  

 

The art center has also shed some old looks and gotten some new ones. The gallery space was re-arranged, the website re-designed and the organization’s logo changed.

 

“Change is always good,” Bjarke said. With the anniversary approaching, she said it allows them to “welcome in the new but also celebrate the history at the same time.” “You can feel the buzz in the air,” she added.

 

While changes are being made, the art center always had a good foundation. “It’s always been a strong organization,” Nebel said.

 

 

Karen Waters, left, and Amy Bjarke of the Fuller Lodge Art Center take part in Friday’s opening reception of Warp and Weft. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

 

Kathy Konecki and Samuel Buelow at Friday’s opening reception for Warp and Weft. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

Kathy Konecki’s piece, ‘Vortex’. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

Valentina Devine’s crocheted kimono jacket, ‘Rip-Rap’. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

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