It has been a good January for Milt Beens.
The Durango painter is the featured artist for the 20th annual La Plata Open Space Conservancy Snowdown Wine and Spirits Tasting and Art Auction on Thursday night. His work also is on display through March 1 at Olio in Mancos (formerly Arborena).
This year’s auction will feature works by 10 artists as well as a host of other items. The Wine Tasting event originated in the 1980s at Toh-Atin Gallery but ended for several years before it was resurrected in 1995. The Bank of Colorado backed the venture, which then-President Steve Parker spearheaded on behalf of LPOSC; the Conservancy has hosted it ever since. After a stint at the old Sundance Saloon (now the Wild Horse) and several years at the bank, it is now a staple at the DoubleTree Hotel, dousing the debauchery of Snowdown with a splash of culture every year.
In addition to Beens, this year’s artists are Sharon Abshagen, Gardner Catsman, Susan Giddings, Rebecca Koeppen, Lisa Mackey, Jane Mercer, Judy Morgan, MaryAnne Nelson and Linda Pampinella.
It’s a smaller stable of artists this year (down from 15), a fact attributed to a change in executive director at the LPOSC during the crucial planning period. But new executive director Amy Schwarzbach said that also “smaller” is the limited-edition print size of Beens’ “The Animas Valley” with which attendees get to leave with, even if they don’t bid on the original.
“People mentioned that the big prints were too expensive to frame, so we think everyone will be very happy with this new size,” he said.
La Plata Open Space Conservancy will present the 20th annual Snowdown Wine & Spirits Tasting & Silent Auction from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the DoubleTree Hotel, 501 Camino del Rio. Regional wine, spirits and food will be presented along with 10 fine art originals to purchase by silent auction. Ten outdoor auction items also will be available, including a Trek Commuter Bike, outdoor gear, Silverton package, private party at Zink’s Pond and more. Tickets are $50 each, available online at www.lposc.org. For more information, call 259-3415. All proceeds help La Plata Open Space Conservancy to conserve lands in Southwest Colorado.