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Experimental art at LVSA: Inner ideas take shape through art

LA VETA — La Veta School of the Arts director Peggy Zehring is watching her seven students. She sees them, but they can’t see her due to the blindfolds covering their eyes. The students are looking inside, towards their inner artist. Zehring has been playing a variety of music. The students are virtually dancing as they move charcoal over paper. Zehring heads back to the stereo system and stops the music, returning to the plastic shrouded classroom. With blindfolds removed, Zehring converses with each student asking them what they felt during the music; what did it evoke? Several of these students will join Zehring in New York City soon for an art opening and showing. Most of the students are local, but some traveled in from further away. Nancy Watkins, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, met Zehring years ago in Wyoming and has taken several classes with her since then. “I have painted all of my adult life,” says Watkins. Referring to the just ended charcoal and paper session Watkins states, “Listening to the rapid music while blindfolded, I don’t really think a lot. It is always new and different. It brings out where you

are at.” Like Watkins, Fred Bender is a returning student with more than 20 LVSA classes under his belt over the past 12 years. He has been coming to La Veta for more than 30 years. “La Veta is so rich in the arts for its size. It is filled with arts, artists and musicians,” notes Bender. A retired professor of philosophy at CU Colorado Springs, Bender now lives in Denver. He now sells his art and is in several galleries including the Inner Idea artists Gallery in La Veta. Always trying new techniques, Bender stands in the Tree Pose, a yoga position where on stands on one foot with the other foot placed on the other inner thigh above the knee. He is using a hairdryer to both dry some paint and causing it to crack. Bender quips, “It is an experiment. Everything is an experiment.” As the class progressed, the students moved on from charcoal to paint. Many utilize various objects to add dimension and texture to their work. Local artist Maggie MacIndoe used an old cheese grater along with what appeared to be hair from the mane of a horse. With the last experimental art workshop of the year wrapping up September 14, the students come together to critique one another’s work. Each student places several pieces on a wall and the group discusses each piece, asking questions and hearing what the artist felt. Zehring explains in art history one sees shifts in dialect like a pendulum swinging from truth to beauty. Referring to the quote, “Form follows function,” by American architect Louis Sullivan, Zehring says, “Beauty follows truth, but truth doesn’t always beauty.” These are some of the basic concepts Zehring and her students follow as they seek out their inner artist. Editor’s Note: Zehring and her students show runs in New York City at the Montserrat Gallery from October 13 to 31. For more information go to: www.InnerIdeaArtists.com.