PRESCOTT – A new gallery owned and operated by 14 local artists will be opening soon on downtown's Whiskey Row.
"Van Gogh's Ear," in the middle section of the former Heilig-Meyers furniture store at 156-B S. Montezuma St., has more than 3,000 square feet of display space and features the work of the owners, as well as 20 consignment artists who primarily live in Prescott and the surrounding area.
The owners chose the name "Van Gogh's Ear" in honor of Vincent Van Gogh, a talented and prolific artist who sold only one painting during his lifetime.
"He lived in poverty and did not gain notoriety for his talents until well after his death," said Chelsea Stone. "During a fit of passionate rage (some say over a relationship with a prostitute, some believe it was an argument with a fellow artist), he actually lopped off a small piece of his ear, and this is probably what gave artists the reputation for being a little wild and crazy."
Despite the difficulties and disappointments in his life, Van Gogh never lost sight of his artistic vision and painted every day until he died.
"The artists of Van Gogh's Ear Art Gallery have chosen artwork as the way we will make our living, and we realize this path is comprised of risk, passion, and the great unknown," Stone said. "No matter what difficulties cross our path – and there have been many in the creation of this new gallery – we keep going strong. Besides, to be a good artist, you have to be a little bit crazy!"
The owners of Van Gogh's Ear are well-known locally for their quality artwork and participation in community outreach programs, including Dick Marcusen, a metal sculptor and jewelry artist, former chairman of the Yavapai College Visual and Performing Arts Department, where he taught for 30 years.
Glassblower John Lutes, whose work has been acquired by the Chicago Museum of Modern Art, is vice-president of the Prescott Area Arts and Humanities Council.
Heath Krieger, a potter, and his wife Cathy, a multi-media artist, are longtime Prescott residents with an extensive teaching background at the local colleges, as are glassblower Jim Antonius and jeweler Bill Ford.
Joanne Frerking, a collage artist, donates her time to help organize the Fantasy in Chocolate art benefit for Hospice; T. Stone, a ceramicist, shows free movies on the courthouse plaza each summer with wife Chelsea, who teaches at Yavapai College and shows her jewelry in numerous galleries throughout the Southwest.
Royce Carlson creates large-scale metal and cement sculpture for the out-of-doors, and his handiwork can be found surrounding the outdoor eating area at the Dinner Bell Restaurant; Beth and Mark Carter create handmade leather shoes that are sold in craft shows and galleries around the country.
Woodworker Phil Brennion teaches internationally and also works as a consultant for Wood magazine; handcrafted furniture-maker Larry Fagan has been featured in the Custom Furniture Source Book and has a collaborative art piece featured in this month's Phoenix Home and Garden magazine.
Prescott art enthusiasts will also recognize many of these names as founders and past owners of the Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery on Whiskey Row.
Alex Horst, an owner and contemporary jewelry artist whose work has been featured in Lapidary Journal magazine, said "this is a group of highly motivated and creative individuals who believe in the importance of personal creativity and in giving back to the commun-ity."
Visit Van Gogh's Ear Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The grand opening party will be during the first summertime Artwalk on the Memorial Day weekend.