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Charles Ewing Fine Arts Gallery opens on Antonito Main Street

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 7th, 2009

Charles Ewing with an oil painting inside his new art gallery
ANTONITO — Up to now, Antonito has not been known as the art center of southern Colorado, but an artist there has opened a gallery of his own works and is looking for “kind of a generational change” that may bring more such outlets to the town.

Charles Ewing, 63, opened a small display shop south of the closed Palace Hotel on Main St. “two or three weeks before a grand opening Labor Day,” next to the Conejos Medical Clinic. The Charles Ewing Fine Arts Gallery exhibits around 25 oil paintings, ink on claybord, bronze sculptures, original prints and commissioned works. One of his specialties is “giclee prints” which he describes as “permanent non-fading digital, high end works.

If you seem to detect misspellings, Ewing clarifies that is the way the words are spelled in the art world.

Although his gallery is the only one in Antonito now, Ewing tells the Citizen that a sculptor, David Leroy, and painter Carol Dickey are hoping “to open galleries here next year.” Planned locations are near the Helen’s Liquor north of the Ewing Gallery.

Although there is no admission charge, Ewing says that all the art is for sale, and also “I’m working in here, not just sitting here when not too much is going on.” Current hours open are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., although he concedes hours may shorten during the winter. Ewing is not always at the gallery, having teaching activities such as a workshop October 23-25 in Durango on the ink on claybord technique.

He adds that he invented the original drawing method “in my home nearby the gallery several years ago, and now such work is sold internationally,” by artists.

Ewing has a long history in art, but explains that when the opportunity arose to have a spot in Antonito he could not resist. The owner of the building is Ron Rael, born and raised in Antonito, teaching architecture in Berkeley, California, who also wanted to see an art business in the town.

“The gallery situation in Santa Fe and Taos had gotten bad, sales had gotten so low, I decided I would have to pull myself out of the recession . . . there’s so much potential here, we want to get people here, not just stopping for gas and lunch.” Like others, he is also “looking for progress on the train station.” The desolate looking depot is within sight west of the art outlet,

A former Peace Corps volunteer, he is also a former gallery owner in Cimarron, New Mexico. After only a year of operation in 1976, the operation burned down. He also operated a guide and outfitters service in high country for six years.

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