Meeting an artist at a gallery usually happens only at openings or special events. At Gallery 113, though, you'll be able to walk in on any given day and buy directly from one of the gallery's artists.
That's because Gallery 113 is entirely owned and operated by the very artists whose art is for sale there. After the owner of Lasko Fine Art Gallery, Geoff Lasko, moved his gallery to Taos recently, the artists who had been showing there decided to take over the space.
Now, there are 18 artist-shareholders who share in running things, including painters Nard Claar and Cindy Davies. They don't take commission; instead, they rent wall space. Though many galleries can charge up to 50 or 60 percent commission, the artists at Gallery 113 get to keep all the revenue from their sales, which also means they can charge as much or as little as they'd like.
But "the support is not only fiscal, it's also physical," says Gallery 113 president Karen Standridge. All artists who show here are also expected to work at least one day a month.
The group is still taking applications for new artists. When applications are submitted, "All of the members of this gallery vote people in or out," says Standridge, who adds that "there isn't one person overseeing, so it's all different."
And the Gallery 113 artists share a pride in displaying their work. "The prestige, the honor of being in a gallery of this caliber, in this darling little place right on Tejon Street, where every season there's something crazy and wonderful going on out in front of you, many artists feel that that's enough," Standridge says.
They also take pride in the community at large. "I chose Colorado Springs many years ago because of the downtown — it is so beautiful and so vital and so precious to me, and so important, I think, in the life of this community, like no other city," says Standridge, who moved here 30 years ago from Oklahoma City. And that's why she hopes to make the downtown art scene as big as those of Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.
"The more galleries in a closer proximity there are, it benefits all the galleries," she says. "People like to gallery-hop, so if they come downtown to look at art, it's important for them to have a variety of places to look at art."
Standridge has been working with Pam Gressett, director of Shoestring Events, to organize an art walk for the downtown area that would start this spring. "We've got so many wonderful art galleries here," she says, along with restaurants that feature local art, that a downtown walk just makes sense.
Though Gallery 113 is, of course, a commercial endeavor, Standridge says, "We would do it even if we never sold anything, because we love it."