Picerne landscape collection lands at Kolb Studio

By Marielle D. Marne | April 14, 2010

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grand canyon painting

CAVE CREEK – Gary Fillmore of the Blue Coyote Gallery has outdone himself in securing an outstanding venue for the Picerne Collection of Arizona Landmark Art. Schedule a trip now to see the exhibit at the Kolb Studio in the Grand Canyon Village through June 20.

Fillmore said this coupling has historical significance on dual levels. The more than 30 artists included span the period from the late 19th century to modern times. "It's sort of a bell curve, if you will," he explained. And from their very different backgrounds, they offered their perspectives on Arizona's natural beauty. People may know some painters such as the Cowboy, the Santa Fe Railway or the Taos Society artists featured. Yet some may be less familiar. In any case, these are treasured works of art the Picerne family generously shares with fellow art fanciers.

The Kolb Studio has its own story. Its exhibit curator, Pam Frazier, explained the building dates back to 1904 and was originally owned by Emery and Ellsworth Kolb, set up as a photography studio at the trailhead of the Bright Angel Trail. They took portraits of hikers headed down the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Today, this building, that was added on to twice since its original construction, houses a bookstore and an exhibit gallery. It hosts more than 70,000 guests from around the world each year. And those who visit this spring will be able to see "Canyon Magic."

The collection of diverse and noteworthy artists showcased in the 6,000 square foot Kolb Studio is a must-see exhibit. "I couldn't imagine a better location," Fillmore admitted.

Helen Ranney, public relations spokesperson for the Grand Canyon Association (an official partner of Grand Canyon National Park), commented on the unique locale, "There's not many galleries where you can go and look at a collection of paintings such as the Grand Canyon, then look out the window of that gallery and see the Grand Canyon, the actual subject that inspired the artists to paint."

Given its unassuming facade, many tourists don't realize what the Kolb Studio has to offer. "Most times, people stumble on it," Frazier said. What happens next is they come in and enjoy it. Even children take home stories that they went to an art gallery at the park and it was pretty cool!

There's no doubt artists and national parks go hand-in-hand. Artists were the pioneers, the visionaries to come out west and capture the beauty and the unique formations on their canvases. They shared their works with family and friends in the east, fostering interest and excitement in these unfamiliar territories. "Canyon Magic" is reflected in their styles – realism, tonalism, impressionism, cubism. "There will be no other show like this that will be as broad and as steep," Fillmore opined.

So, pack up the car and make the drive this spring! As the Picerne collection curator, phone Fillmore at 480-488-2334 or visit bluecoyotegallery.com. Also see www.grandcanyon.org. Entrance to the Kolb Studio is free with paid admission to the park.