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SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Peter Campbell’s “August on the Animas” is the featured selection for the 19th annual La Plata Open Space Conservancy’s Snowdown Wine Tasting and Fine Art Auction. The image will appear on commemorative posters and wine labels given to patrons at the event.

By Ted Holteen Herald staff writer

There’s a new leader at La Plata Open Space Conservancy, but Scott Perez is as enthusiastic about the organization’s top annual fundraiser as was his predecessor.

“It’s really popular, and I’m not into changing what works,” Perez said of the Snowdown Wine Tasting and Fine Art Auction, which was created 19 years ago by Conservancy founder Kathy Roser.

The event will feature works by 15 artists, including painting, photography and jewelry. The visual pieces are on display in the lobby of Bank of Colorado until Thursday morning, when Perez will move them to the DoubleTree Hotel for the big night. The jewelry can be previewed at Diane West Jewelry & Art on Main Avenue.

This year’s featured piece is Peter Campbell’s “August on the Animas.” The Open Space board of directors picks one piece each year, and that image appears on the poster and wine label that each attendee receives. The wine is selected and provided by Joe Leder of Animas Wine and Spirits. Patrons will dine on a main course from Sunnyside Meats as well as dessert from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Perez also won’t change what makes the auction a favorite for artists: The sale price of each piece is split evenly between the artist and LPOSC. That ensures a high level of quality rather than just an opportunity for the artists to clean out their studios.

“That’s been a winning arrangement for everyone,” Perez said.

He said the event typically raises about $15,000 for the conservancy, which uses the funds to fulfill its mission of preserving open spaces through conservation easements, education, outreach and advocacy.

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