An energetic connoisseur of the arts has emerged from the Utah wildlands to open an art gallery in Dolores.
Pam Allred, who resides "somewhere between Dove Creek and Monticello" has opened the appropriately named Artistic Wilds gallery on Railroad Avenue (Colorado 145) next door to the visitors center.
"I've done this before, once in La Veta, and another time in Alaska," she says.
The art world is close to Allred's heart, and Dolores' edge-of-the-wilderness aura is a good fit for her eclectic style.
"I think a lot of interesting artwork never gets seen because there are limited venues for artists who are not famous," Allred says. "I got a good feeling in this town and this location."
The charming gallery is neatly arranged with a sense of space to give people room as they view paintings, sculptures, mixed media, and abstract subject matter.
"The Party" by Peggy Hohlaus exemplifies youth, and the expressive faces are laced with real gold.
"She's passed on. Even though she was older when she painted it, in her mind she was still a kid - the key to a happy life, wouldn't you say?" Allred says.
Dove Creek artist Cam Waschke's bizarre sketching of an exotic woman combined with surreal imagery catches the eye. Is it modern? "I don't believe in descriptions!" Allred says. "It either appeals to you or not."
A subtle but alive scene of a Taos Pueblo harks back to the time before trendy margarita bars and Southwest kitsch took over the tourist trap. Artist Helen Martin used batik on silk to create a comforting vision of the past.
Allred is also an artist. She specializes in "fiber art" creating woven rugs and unique braided sculptures using materials that call to her, including denim and textiles that she finds on her wanderings.
A unique basket of woven material she found in a pet store has a practical form that could be used to store a child's toys, or exist as a conversation piece in a home.
A woven sculpture of denim and soft fabrics Allred created has a sensuous form of a woman that appears to move when viewed from different angles.
Nearby guarding a corner is a striking Navajo mud head by artist Alvin Marshall, her most expensive piece.
"What makes me happy is to have a nice mix," Allred says. "It will be a revolving exhibit, always changing."
She has a vision for Dolores, where shops display their wares in each other's shops to inspire at type of mercantile community connection.
"It helps to increase traffic when I can say, If you want to see more of this, walk down the street to my friends shop, and they do the same," she says. "It adds to the excitement and gets people to park in Dolores, walk around and check things out."
Artistic Wilds works on a consignment basis and is nonjuried. Artists of all ages are encouraged to display their creations. If they sell, 70 percent goes to the artist.
"You never know what will sell," Allred says.
Her prices on major pieces run between $75 and $500. But she has smaller items as well at lower prices, for example informative cards featuring petroglyphs that a well-known archaeologists believes are comets.
In the future, Allred hopes to host art classes in the space, and feature performance art as well.
Her hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.