The Great Return is an outdoor art experience that showcases installation art in an elemental and exciting meander around the Publick House. The walk through art show will orbit for three months and will include artwork from local artists, musical performances, and theater experiences. We are eager to offer an engaging experience that returns people to the essence of imagination, beauty, and awe.
Are you an artist?
to include your work in the show.
Huge thanks to the amazing artists that have generously donated their time in participation so far. Explore their array of biographies and stories below:
Artist Melina Bernhardt has been exploring creative possibilities in textile: weaving, felting, knitting, sewing… jewelry making and leatherwork for nearly a decade. Each of these mediums have become integral parts in fulfilling her passion for creating new clothing designs, and accessories. She especially thrives off finding new ways to combine all of these various means of expression to create one of a kind accessories and wearable art. Working at Lambspun of Colorado for almost 15 years has taught her most everything she knows relating to Fiber Arts. Bernhardt hails from France and Germany and brings a European sensibility to her creations that distinguish themselves through a modern aesthetic and a bold approach to color. She prefers to use natural fibers such as alpaca, silk, organic cotton, angora, bamboo, and many others. She reserves synthetic fibers for sparkle or texture purposes.
Find Melina online at melinabe.com.
& Lauren Nagle
TO ACTIVATE THE PAINT: pick up a spray bottle and spray a few squirts of water on the paint. Watch as gravity and the water act as a brush. Ephemeral like shapes in clouds, the paintings take on the life of an object for a moment, only to change in an instant to be something else. What images do you see hiding in the pigment? The blooms of flowers? A sad robot? Welcome to our studio, you are making art!
One day we realized that Rosemary likes to answer questions and Lauren likes to ask them. So we decided to record a podcast and talk about pigments. Impressed at all of the great colors that can be produced by nature and our brains full of ideas, swirling around like watercolor paint on paper, we decided to bring it back to nature. During the last big snowstorm that broke all the branches we set out canvas with watercolor paint on it to see what would happen. These pieces are an extension of that, and are works in progress, meant to be painted by you and by nature over the course of this show.
To learn more about pigments and to answer questions you never knew you wanted to ask, check out The Art Questions podcast. If you are interested in purchasing one of these pieces, we will restretch the canvas for you in June. There are no guarantees on what the pieces will look like at that time. $100 each.
As an installation artist, I create new landscapes that seek a balance of building new worlds from the waste of this one. I am compelled to find moments of intimacy, beauty and wonder through the transformation of common and abundant materials. With a reverence for the natural world, I am inspired by transitional landscapes where culture and nature collide. The scale and volume of the work speak for itself as a call for action and awareness to the state of global consumption and industrial waste in our evolving world.
See Chelsea’s work starting and closing out the show as well as scattered throughout.
Find Chelsea online at chelsea-gilmore.com.
Delia LaJeunesse is a visual artist, arts literacy instructor, and organizer living and loving in Denver. Her visual art deals largely in symbolism, and specifically in symbolisms of femininity, as she explores braids, eggs, branches, textiles and mirrors. She teaches critical engagement through visual literacy, and facilitates trainings and events that center the arts as a healing modality. Delia’s work in the arts and community events started nearly a decade ago at our beloved Wolverine Farm.
Braids are something so beautifully handed down, literally, hand over hand, finger to finger taught from older generations of women to young, all across the globe. Braids weave stories. Braids invite us beyond binaries and into the threes. All things in threes. Braids remind us to think not of either/or, but rather of the third strand that slips between the two, that offers up complexity, that blurs the lines that distinguish one from another. A braid cut from its source feels like some homage to the loss of the feminine. Or, the loss of the innocent girl. Or, some invitation to find it again, in the structure of three spirals, and a triangular mirror.
Find Delia on Instagram @sb.vrt.
Michael Bussmann was born in St. Louis, Missouri in March of 1978. He is now an adult-aged-person living in Northern Colorado writing about daily life, fatherhood, mental health and some other stuff too. Michael’s work has recently appeared in Matter 14: Animal, The 2018 Las Positas Anthology, A Poetic Inventory of Rocky Mountain National Park and a few other places too, some print and some digital. He is currently working on a children’s book about boogers.
Find Michael on Instagram @carnievore.
A Nest is not a Home.
An indigo silk sheet surrounds us, vast as the ocean is wide. We sleep and dream, imagine big things and infinite things wrapping our minds in the darkest depths and tell tales of the creatures that inhabit them. We seek comfort and hug the familiar.
It’s the tangible things I can attest to that I have a hard time letting go of. As an offspring of what has kept me safe, these structures have licked my wounds and fed me when I couldn’t myself.
It was challenging, but not against my nature, I found myself picking up sticks, finding grooves and bends to intertwine from fallen branches following the great big storm of March 2021. I didn’t know I could do this but soon it became a compulsive routine, to wake before sunrise, seek out the best branches and weave with a special fervor, listening to birds that sing before they dine on worms and seeds. They may have laughed and gawked before, but now they fly over and coo their jealousy. All aboard this boat! We shall sail the high tide and spring monsoons at ease!
In the midst of a quarter-life crisis in 2002, Todd quit his job as a social scientist with the National Park Service, built a yurt, and moved from Idaho to Colorado to spend his days writing poetry. After landing in Fort Collins and meeting like-minded writers and artists and activists, he started Wolverine Farm Publishing and released their first publication, Matter. Soon after he turned Wolverine Farm into a 501(c)3 non-profit, and opened a volunteer-run bookstore in the back of the Bean Cycle Coffeehouse. Between 2002 and 2015, they published dozens of community newspapers and about 40 books. In 2015 they opened a community center including a letterpress print shop, locally-sourced cafe and bar, and event space in the emerging River District of Fort Collins.
Todd is a handyman of (almost) all trades and can be found around our Publick House exploring utilitarian projects as well as those filled with wild artful play.
Faith Johnson was born in Fort Collins, CO. Having grown up with both parents as artists – she, too, is carrying on their legacy. Throughout her life, Faith has always been fascinated by the details of her surroundings and how the world’s beauty is represented through nature and heard through music. Naturally, she was drawn to illustration. The interest was cultivated during her teenage years and further developed when she began to paint murals for her community.
After being offered her own studio in a warehouse full of creatives, Faith delved even more into her career as a Public Artist. The paintings are only part of the narrative. She uses the practice of woodworking to create functional art that can be seen in homes, festival stages, and film sets. It is a collaboration between the artist and her mind’s home. She feels that the artistic exchange between space and the artist opens up many opportunities.
Find Faith online at faithjohnson.art.
Jen Enos & Chad Seidel
Born from a pile of unwanted books collecting dust in a silo, this floating village peacefully drifts across the blue sky. We make homes of stories together and alone, finding meaning in the symbols that condense and fall as rain.
Find an updated timeline of Chad’s work at The Open & Closed Institute.
Find Jen on instagram @thedreamretriever.
Thank you so much and we will see you there!