JERRY McBride/Durango Herald
JERRY McBride/Durango Herald
Karyn Gabaldon could be forgiven if she threw herself a big party to celebrate 30 years as a gallery owner in downtown Durango.
Actually, that’s exactly what she’s doing, but in typical selfless fashion, Gabaldon has chosen to start things off by sharing the limelight with a fellow artist.
“She’s family and has worked here for years, and I wanted to give her the opportunity to show her work,” Gabaldon said of her employee, Marie McCallum.
In the first of several 30th anniversary events, Gabaldon will host “Windows and Reflections of Durango,” featuring about 20 of McCallum’s paintings.
“I really like her artwork, and she doesn’t get a chance to show it here – she’s really a great painter,” Gabaldon said.
McCallum is a relative newcomer to Durango, especially when compared with her employer. She and her husband moved to Durango in 2000 from California, where she had worked as a sign painter and gilder. That background is reflected in her paintings, many of which are images of storefronts and window displays.
“I also have a background in dressmaking, and I’ve always been interested in clothing,” McCallum said. “My grandmother used to window shop for clothes ideas, and that’s what inspired it. It’s not the whole consumer thing, but more just the idea that making clothes can be a personal, creative process.”
“Windows and Reflections” features 11 Durango storefronts that have caught McCallum’s eye, including Stuart’s, the Ralph Lauren Polo outlet store, From the Heart (now Blu) and Pine Needle Mountaineering. There also are some scenes from her travels to places such as Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam.
“Sign painting isn’t very exciting, but being an oil painter is looser and gives me an artistic license when I see something that moves me or interests me,” McCallum said.
Gabaldon opened her first Durango gallery in 1980 in the 1200 block of Main Avenue and has had several locations since, culminating with her current location at Seventh Street and Main Avenue across from the Strater Hotel.
If the math doesn’t quite add up, it’s because she took a couple of years off along the way to travel and focus on her art instead of the business. Neither are easy to maintain with any success in this town, which makes the anniversary all the more impressive.
“I didn’t think I’d make it two months,” she said. “I had to sign a three-month lease for $150 a month, and that scared me to death. I’m just thankful and amazed, and I hope I’ll be here another 30.”
Gabaldon’s got several more parties planned for her spring-long anniversary celebration, but as with “Windows and Reflections,” she’ll again invite other artists to share in the fun. She’ll host a show of her “reinherited” pots and pottery during the first week of May to benefit the Durango Friends of the Arts; for the May 11 Gallery Walk, she’ll feature the artwork of Cheryl Williams; and she’ll finally acknowledge her place in Durango’s artistic history with a solo show June 8 titled “Heart and Soul of Durango ... a River’s Journey.”