Over the years, the food at Adam's Mountain Café hasn't been the only artful element of the restaurant. Over 50 original pieces of art by renowned Manitou Springs artist Charles H. Rockey also adorned the walls.
However, due to the flooding fears (which we've covered here and here) that swung into high gear with the rains last week, Rockey removed his works from the creekside restaurant. Adam's owner Farley McDonough understands the artist's concern, and hopes that the art will be back by September, but there's no agreement made just yet.
(As for the current location, McDonough is trying to stay prepared for the worst: “We’re just taking it one day at a time is, I guess, all I can say. I have to accept that it may be a reality, there’s no doubt about that. But we’ll just see what happens.”)
According to David Ball, who works as a graphic designer for Rockey, the works are all in storage, including those in his house, which is just down the road from Adam's.
A call in to the Cliff House confirmed that the works that hang there are still in place.
Adam's, however, was a major spot to see paintings and drawings by the somewhat reclusive artist. According to McDonough, they have always had a "super loose" arrangement: The works are loaned, there is no written contract, and they are not for sale. When McDonough bought the restaurant in 2001, the works came with it.
“I just sort of inherited this obligation to protect them," she says, "So we always have an alarm on them and our staff is instructed to care for them, to keep them dusted and polished and so we’ve always taken care of them that way. But other than that, there’s never been anything formal in place. Which is how he works.”
“It was very, very Manitou,” she says with a laugh.
For now, McDonough has hung a few personal pieces, as well as art that hung in the restaurant's original location 15 years ago in the Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant building. McDonough is hesitant to start up with a new artist, should Rockey return the pieces.
“I can’t just hang stuff up just because we need to have things on the wall," she says. "I have to really feel it and that’s how I am with Adam’s in almost every way.”