The galleries, or gallery hybrids, below are worth a visit if you've got a little money to burn. If you don't, consider walking around and practicing.
Commonwheel Artists Co-op
102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1008
Best Of 'o8
An arts staple since 1974, Commonwheel bottles Manitou's spirit, by way of pottery, ceramics and fiber art Only local artists show and sell their wares here, and if tradition holds out, Commonwheel should see another 35 years.
Dero 72 Studios & Gallery
934 Manitou Ave., #103, Manitou Springs, 685-3376
Famed music poster artist Jermaine Rogers has set up shop in the Manitou Spa. Framed limited and rare editions create a de facto museum that chronicles his highly successful career. There are smaller versions for sale as well, and even postcard-sized prints a budding after-school collector can buy.
Duryea Fine Art
1003 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9050
With a signature psychedelic, mystical angle, Bill Duryea's swirling, shimmering works of landscapes, towns and gardens are accomplished and unique. Duryea's take on Manitou Springs might soften the most unsentimental critic of the area.
210 E. Cimarron St., 632-2132
Not many of us could actually walk out of this high-end contemporary establishment with a piece of art, but it's worth a visit, anyway. Browse the primarily abstract works, all created by Colorado artists. The paintings and sculpture on display befit the largest retail gallery in town.
725 Manitou Ave., #3, Manitou Springs, 685-1201
Range turns out some of the best photography anywhere traditional landscapes, humorous snapshots and ultra-stylistic images with a framing business on the side. Owner and photographer Kathleen McFadden adds Western flair in small doses to her works, her taste listing toward natural nostalgia rather than 10-gallon hat iconography.
Seven Arrows Gallery
118 W. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 302-2282
The gallery officially opened at the end of March. But as the headquarters of the Woodland Park Arts Alliance, the wheels have been turning for months. For art and dcor, the space features a variety of Western-style works in paint, pewter, glass, copper and photography.
T Benton Brooks Studio Gallery
906 Manitou Ave., #107, Manitou Springs, 641-0795
Brooks oversees his establishment, which mainly shows the paintings he created over a decades-long career. The genres Brooks executes include abstractionism, cubism and realism.
220 N. Tejon St., 888/ 666-3253
Native American (North and South) folk art and crafts characterize Velez's collection. The shop bursts with baskets, muertos figurines, neo-Aztec-style paintings and pottery. Every item comes from a specific artisan the gallery contracts, and often their stories are as interesting as the works they create.
Going to the show
This is museum territory, with works that are edgy or famous. At this point it's not about wanting to hang it in your house, or falling into that old "I don't know much about art" straitjacket. Now the only money you're spending is the ticket price.
Coburn Gallery at Colorado College
Worner Center Main Floor, 902 N. Cascade Ave., 227-8263
Before Cornerstone Arts Center was finished in 2008, Coburn was CC's sole gallery. It now generally hosts shows by guest instructors, professors and alumni.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
30 W. Dale St., 634-5583
121 S. Tejon St., #100, 634-5583
Best Of 'o8
With a constant stream of stunning temporary shows and a fabulous permanent collection under the insightful yet accessible direction of its curators, the Fine Arts Center has the right stuff. Look for upcoming exhibits with works by painter/sculptor Fernando Botero and photographer Diego Lama, and at the end of the year, a collection of space-exploration-themed art. The Modern still seems undecided as to its purpose, but it's an excellent downtown venue for installation art.
Downtown Studio Gallery at Pikes Peak Community College
100 W. Pikes Peak Ave., 502-4040
The gallery space itself is far from glamorous, but Pikes Peak shells out some of the best student art in town, and regularly mixes in pieces by seasoned locals for its quarterly exhibits.
Fine Art Gallery at Colorado State University at Pueblo
2200 Bonforte Blvd., 719/549-2418
Offering far more than standard student and faculty shows although the ones it offers are good CSU-Pueblo is gaining momentum as another player in the regional college art forum. Expect works by national artists and guest professors.
Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Science Building, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 255-3567
The Gallery of Contemporary Art will see less action on the gallery walls this year due to construction within its building. Its program will remain vigorous, however, under the guidance of interim director Caitlin Green, who will oversee satellite shows at different locations throughout the city.
I.D.E.A. Space at Colorado College
Cornerstone Arts Center, Main Floor, 14 E. Cache la Poudre St., 227-8263
The I.D.E.A. Space hosts contemporary exhibits by international artists, focusing on the interdisciplinary connections between art and other studies. Its inaugural exhibit, Phylum, featured work meshing video art and science, while the Architecture of Desire series crossed boundaries within history, sociology and gender studies.
Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center
210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, 719/295-7200
If Pueblo's Riverwalk doesn't do it for you, take in a show at the Sangre. Its six galleries all fall in line with each season's exhibit topic, keeping the center interesting. Among recent highlights: rare collections of Japanese woodblock prints. The spring '09 show displays works from local, regional and international folk artists.
For those days when playing the hermit is most appealing, there are a few Web sites which can connect you with the local visual arts scene.
Colorado Springs Art Guild
This is a local nonprofit with information on classes, clubs, artists' bios and events relating to the guild. You don't have to be a member to browse around. Hit the site for images of traditional landscapes and portraits.
Best Of 'o8
Sadly, the brick-and-mortar gallery went out of business. But Edifice's Web site still runs with regular posts on all things hip and urban. Besides an art-news blog and links to artist Web pages, the site will announce the next Nocturnal Mockery art festival, if it happens. Keep your fingers crossed.
OpticalReverb Artistic Hub
You can hit up OpRe's physical shows at several locations, but the Web site is a veritable library of images and bios of local artists in the ring. There's also a small database of short stories, memories and poetry by area writers.
If you like art but you can't make any yourself, join an arts activism group or culture organization. Many of the groups keep an eye on art movements within the community and support festivals, galleries and other projects.
The Club of Arts
505 E. Columbia St., #130, 520-9222
With the help of the Club of Arts, people with disabilities integrate into the community via affordable classes.
COPPeR (Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region)
121 S. Tejon St., #111, 634-2204
This far-reaching cultural supporter for the region promotes and pursues community interaction with local artists and arts organizations.
685-1861 ext. 43
This well-established nonprofit organization taps into art and the creative process as a way to help underprivileged youths improve their lives.
In an effort to foster creativity and community, Imagination Celebration organizes, promotes and presents arts events year-round.
Manitou Springs Arts Council
The council seeks to bridge collaborations between the arts and the Manitou community and has sponsored events such as Art on the Avenue, Art at the Lofts and the ongoing First Saturday Art Walks.
Pikes Peak Arts Council
A fiscal sponsor and supporter of local art projects and organizations, the council may be best known for the annual awards for excellence it gives to the arts community.
Woodland Park Arts Alliance
Through art galleries, concerts and festivals, this new organization is promoting creativity and culture in Woodland Park and Teller County.