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A brown bag: the ubiquitous lunch-hour companion and symbol of mom's love, a partner's thoughtfulness or one's own self-sufficient culinary ability. The common brown bag's utilitarian virtue rivals that of duct tape or the all-relative "f" word.

Lest we dismiss the brown bag as a medium for artwork, local members of The Bridge Gallery have chosen the papered pal as the subject of their current group art exhibition, simply titled Brown Bag.

The display promises work in mixed media "created with or about or on brown bags," with no imperative beyond the incorporation of the bag itself. Expect anything, from a brown bag still life to brown bag photography or a paper mask.

"We chose the brown bag because it seemed to have a lot of creative possibilities in which to make something extraordinary out of the ordinary," says founding gallery member Betty Atherton.

Atherton and 11 other Bridge co-op members collaborate on group shows every other month, alternating individual shows in between. The Bridge, which markets itself as a contemporary fine art gallery, has been operating under the Colorado Street Bridge for almost nine years. Members represent artists of all trades and crafts, and the group is dedicated to experimentation and mutual challenge.

"We like to surprise each other," says Atherton. "Everybody does a little bit of everything. We take common ideas and go different places with them."

--Matthew Schniper

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Brown Bag

The Bridge Gallery, 218 W. Colorado Ave.

Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays, noon3 p.m., June 3 to 26; opening reception June 3, 5-8 p.m.

Free admission; call 719-232-9368 for more information.

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