Local artist adds color at library

'Art @ the Library' program to showcase local creators in series of exhibits

Posted 1/15/18

“My artwork is the magical side of reality as viewed from spaceship Earth — it's the adventures of me and my dog as we travel through space and time.” It's that kind of spacey, cosmic vibe that …

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Local artist adds color at library

'Art @ the Library' program to showcase local creators in series of exhibits

Posted

“My artwork is the magical side of reality as viewed from spaceship Earth — it's the adventures of me and my dog as we travel through space and time.”

It's that kind of spacey, cosmic vibe that permeates the works of Grace Noel, a 29-year-old artist and the first to be featured in the Englewood Public Library's new program, “Art @ the Library,” which kicked off Jan. 4.

Noel lives in the Denver Art Society's residence-and-studios building on 734 N. Santa Fe Drive in Denver, but she has Englewood roots — her father, James Louis Noel, practiced law in Englewood for more than two decades, and Grace Noel remembers spending time as a child at places like the Chuck E. Cheese's on West Hampden Avenue, just a parking lot away from where her art is now on display.

Years later, she's excited to be featured in a familiar place.

“I have so much gratitude for the opportunity,” Noel said. “It's just unreal. And the people of Englewood have been supportive. I've sold one piece and a print, and it's just been a week.”

Noel's art isn't typical by any means — she crafts many of her pieces with a wood-burning tool, watercolor, oil paint, encaustic, sequins, glitter and faux gold leaf to create a textural, layered visual. Her works feature Buddhist and Hindu imagery, and she practices both religions.

“I actually am a yogini, and I practice yoga, which is not just an exercise,” said Noel, who teaches private lessons.

Her spirituality is part of her inspiration, which includes a positive outlook on life in general.

“It's just more appreciation for the moment and what we all have in the moment,” Noel said. “My artwork's all about how cool it is to be alive on planet Earth.”

Noel, who grew up in Boulder, attended Oregon State University and came up in the art scene there, returned to Colorado at the Denver Art Society, where she's been a member for about five years. There are more than 20 studios in its building, which sits in an arts district that has had to battle recent rent increases.

It's a “very cooperative, very encouraging community — super friendly, geared toward inclusivity,” said Noel, adding that many artists are figuring out how to stick it out in the current financial straits.

Michelle Brandstetter, adult-services librarian at Englewood Public Library, said the Denver Art Society was among the first places she contacted in her search for artists to feature.

“They have some really talented artists there,” Brandstetter said.

The Englewood library's new program showcases local artists and starts each exhibit with a meet-and-greet reception with the featured artist. The library partners with local restaurants to provide free food for those events and provide them some exposure, too.

Brandstetter came up with the idea for the program.

“We already have artists scheduled until November,” Brandstetter said. Exhibits will usually last six to seven weeks, she said. In the separate, already established annual Student Art Show, students from the public Englewood Schools district will have their art featured at the library from late March to mid-April.

For the new program, artists from Englewood, the Denver area and Lakewood are among those scheduled so far, Brandstetter said.

Noel's exhibit lasts until March 15, Noel said.

To check out her art elsewhere, visit the Aloft Denver Downtown hotel on 15th and Stout streets — that exhibit continues through March 31 — or see her one-night exhibit at The Church nightclub at 1160 N. Lincoln St. on Feb. 1.

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