On the Scene: 
At Blue Pig Gallery, CAVE reception

John Barbier, Charlotte Wheeler (The winning artwork, “Vineyard View,” can be seen behind her) and Iris Wilkie

Clara Ward, Steve Aquafresca and Kay Crane

Keith Albers and Monty Haltiner

Nick Santos and Avery West

Connie Parenteau and Jennifer Lasher

Jack and Babette Furchak

Bety Feely, Cynthia Delles, Darlene “Poozie” Holmes, Vinje Lawson and Kathryn McKenzie


The Blue Pig Gallery is one of the most pleasant of venues for viewing some of the best local art created by the Grand Valley’s best local artists.

The gallery also throws really good parties, or receptions as they’re called in the art world. Friday night’s shindig was no exception and it was definitely a “Party with Purpose” as guests stopped by to choose the image to represent the 2014 Colorado Mountain Winefest.

Hosted by CAVE, the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology, whose office is one set of railroad tracks and one parking lot away from the Blue Pig at the corner of Main and Third streets in downtown Palisade.

The gallery occupies a charming turn of the century building built to house J. W. Hugus Mercantile.

The crowd was enthusiastic and well aware of the importance of its mission. The works of three finalists were hung together in the center of the room and the other strong contenders were on display as well.

Just as I came in the door, wine was being served. I declined. Best to get my work done first.

There I found Monty Haltiner and friend Keith Albers. Monty was enjoying a Petite Syrah from Turquoise Mesa out of Broomfield. Monty knows a thing or two about wine and currently works for C. R. Goodman, a company based in Commerce City, selling craft beers. Keith was there with his wife and daughter, lending their support to the Blue Pig.

Connie Parenteau and Jennifer Lasher looked like a couple of ladies I’d like to meet. Connie is from Denver and manages the Retreat Communities, assisted living centers in Palisade and Grand Junction. Jennifer in the interim manager of the Palisade Retreat and originally is from Denver, same as Connie. They checked out the Palisade Tribune and saw the Blue Pig event and decided to stay in town for the weekend. Both attend Colorado Mountain Winefest each year and knew their vote for the poster art would count.

It was time to check out the snacks, and I was delighted to see that they were from Café Sol, the fresh, “good food for you” restaurant at 420 Main in Grand Junction. My favorite snack that night was the spiced cream cheese on celery topped with a toasty roasted pecan.

Nick Santos was there with his wife, Avery West. The couple are the owners of Café Sol. Avery is the daughter of Jim and Gail West, friends of mine for the past 45 years. I wasn’t the first person to suggest Nick and Avery open another Café Sol in Palisade.

John Barbier, owner and winemaker from Maison la Belle Vie Winery, dropped in to give his vote. So did Palisade locals Charlotte Wheeler and Iris Wilkie. Charlotte had been at the Blue Pig on Jan. 15 as the gallery hosted the Palisade Chamber’s Business After Hours and she came back to vote. Charlotte told me she’s a regular Chamber volunteer.

Jack and Babette Furchak read about the event in The Daily Sentinel and came to specifically vote for Kay Crane’s offering. Seems after 48 years of marriage they know how to pick a winner.

One group of ladies that showed up were Bety Feely, Cynthia Delles, Marget Shultz, Kathryn McKenzie and Darlene “Poozie” Holmes. They were there to support Vinje Lawson who had entered a wonderful alcohol ink painting that didn’t make the top three, but was very popular with the guests.

I hadn’t seen Clara Ward for years. She just moved back to the valley after having spent some time in Denver where her daughters live. She didn’t get to see them as much as she had hoped and missed her Grand Junction friends so she’s back and working for the Allergy and Asthma Center. Before she went over the mountain she ran the gift shop at the Botanical Gardens.

Steve Acquafresca has a special affection for Palisade. He’s been a fruit grower most of his life and told me “I get excited about all the things the wine industry brings to the county. The potential is so great.” True that County Commish!

All said and done, the public voted and Kay Crane’s acrylic landscape titled “Vineyard View” was chosen as the winner. It will be transformed into T-shirts, posters, shopping bags and who knows what else and end up all over the world. Swag will be sold this fall at the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Riverbend Park on Sept. 20 and at the Urban Winefest in Denver in June and online when all the fests are over.

It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was a good choice. And yes, a little wine, great food and a room full of people who appreciate art helped.

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■ Kathleen Ruhleder, a mezzo-soprano, will perform an concert of songs in French at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Recital Hall of Colorado Mesa University’s Moss Performing Arts Center, 1231 N. 12th St. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors or $5 for students. Info: 248-1604.

■ Barnes & Noble Booksellers will host a special storytime and book-signing for “Mr. Groundhog Wants a Day Off” by Stemper Voita. It will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at the store, 2451 Patterson Road.

Check Friday’s Out & About for additional entertainment events.


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