Landscape painter Linda Bonds works in pastels, and Western landscape painter Aileen McAlistar works in oil and acrylic. Rustic furniture maker Peter Eppart works with local Douglas fir and ponderosa pine and dead standing aspen.
Eppart is an original founding member of the group from 2003, but moved to Minnesota. He has returned to Mancos and is being re-inducted.
He has been crafting rustic furniture for 25 years.
“It is nice being part of the town. Being around all the artists is always just a blast,” Eppart said. “Plus this is it as far as my furniture goes – this is the venue that works the best for me.
Bonds, of Mancos, was excited to show her pastel work at the gallery. She has been painting since 2000.
“I used to go to the gallery auctions when I was living in Albuquerque, and I would just walk around and look at them and think, ‘I love this, I want to do this. I think I could do this,’ so I decided to take a drawing class and when I finished with that, the teacher suggested we try different mediums, so I bought a small set of pastels and had a bit a success.”
Bonds said she would paint even if she didn’t display her work in a gallery – she just loves it.
McAlistar said she has been painting since she was a toddler.
“When I was about 13, I had the overwhelming urge to paint Cochise, the Indian chief from my history textbook,” McAlistar said. “I bought a set of oil paints with my babysitting money and painted this hideous-looking picture of Cochise, and that was the beginning of it.”
McAlistar started painting windows for her cubicle and soon found the windows were something her coworkers were craving as well.
“I just was going nuts without being able to look outside, so I painted a window,” McAlistar said. “I would walk into my cubicle, and there would be people sitting there taking a break, so I painted more windows.”
McAlistar grew up in Alabama but has since moved to Cortez. She says the sense of community she gets from the co-op is beneficial.
“This has been a great place to be, and it is a really nice group of people, and this is what I felt like I needed,” McAlistar said. “I needed that sense of camaraderie and talk to other artists and what they are doing and what they think of you are doing.”
Jan Wright, organizer of the event and a member of the co-op, was excited about the large turnout for the reception.
“It (the Christmas celebrations) has brought people into Mancos, which is so exciting,” Wright said. “Mancos has so much to offer, and so does Artisans of Mancos Cooperative. So we are just really grateful.”