By Julie Wiessner
Traveling along Second Street in Winslow, it is apparent that artistic hands are at work. The newly repainted Standin’ on the Corner mural by illusionist painter John Pugh beckons to visitors at the corner of Second Street and Campbell Avenue, with the Snowdrift Art Space just to the west and La Posada Hotel and El Gran at the edge of the city to the west, each displaying their individual artistic expression.
There is also growing talk of an art community developing in Winslow, something that Daniel Lutzick has known for many years. He is manager of La Posada and a sculpture artist in his own right, as well as owner of Snowdrift Art Space. “There has been a lot of buzz that Winslow is a growing art community lately, which is odd to hear people say that when you’ve been in the middle of it for the past 20 years,” he noted.
The growing art community in Winslow is due in part to Lutzick’s efforts, as well as those of other local artists such as Tina Mion, an accomplished world-renowned artist whose work is on display in a new 3,000-square foot museum at La Posada, as well as in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
According to Lutzick, “All of La Posada is art, from the wrought iron gates created by John Suttman, to the chandelier, Madonna Mecho, and ballroom sconces or lights hung on the wall and created by Verne Lucero. There is a large red Mandela, and a 10-foot kachina head along with several other smaller kachinas I have created and are on display in the hotel.”
The endeavor to create an artistic environment for the enjoyment of visitors is ongoing, as Lutzick explained regarding the first project undertaken by the Winslow Arts Trust (WAT), an organization created by a coalition of artists in the community.
With this project, the original train depot at La Posada will be restored and the annexes improved with grant funds to create a museum space. The world’s largest Navajo rug has already been purchased by WAT to be housed in the new Route 66 Museum. The parking lot and vacant field east of La Posada will be converted into an orchard and a garden featuring both edible and ornamental plants.
Another world-renowned artist, James Turrell, purchased Roden Crater northwest of Winslow in 1979 and is working to turn it into a naked-eye observatory.
According to Lutzick, “We have been meeting with Turrell for five years. He is an artist who creates landscape art and is interested in creating a sky space on the grounds of La Posada near the depot.
“This was a huge year for him, he just had his 70th birthday and has exhibits at the Guggenheim in New York, Houston, Texas, and around 20 to 30 sky spaces are under construction right now in the world.”
Snowdrift Art Space, a 7,000-square foot exhibition space, houses Lutzick’s permanent large-scale sculptures, as well as rotating groups of his smaller sculptures. It is also a place of community outreach where the Material Girls Quilt Show, Day of The Dead Celebration and the Christmas Show have been held for several years. More recently, the experimental rock group Califone played there in what Lutzick called “a living room performance.”
Another art space that has joined WAT, is El Gran Art Garage, which is owned by Paul Ruscha. It offers 8,000 square feet of exhibition space used for performances and guided art tours. Ruscha lives in a 2,000-square foot glass house inside El Gran.
The art community in Winslow is also welcoming Station to Station on Sept. 21, a traveling train that will make Winslow one of 10 stops across the country in a creative collision of contemporary art, experimental music and film.
“Station to Station was originally going to stop in Albuquerque. For a number of reasons, Albuquerque was problematic. I heard about the project, contacted one of the organizers, and sent him a package of images of the hotel and grounds. He replied and we started negotiations for the event,” said Lutzick.
Artists such as Jackson Browne, Kenneth Anger, Doug Aitken, Ed Ruscha and Georgio Morodor are only a few who will arrive to display their talents at La Posada during the Station to Station event.
Lutzick says, “Like the Journey Stories Exhibition that was recently displayed at La Posada and around the entire community, Station to Station is another major event for Winslow, and it will be what people say after the event that contributes to building even further the notion that Winslow is indeed an emerging arts community.”
By Julie Wiessner