Prospect Gallery finds new digs at Claim Jumper
October 25, 2016
Colby Larsen, owner of Park City Fine Art, Old Town Gallery and Pando Art Gallery, has been excavating new digs in the lower floor of the Claim Jumper Hotel.
The art dealer plans to unveil his new Prospect Gallery on Friday, Oct. 28, in time for the Park City Gallery Association's end-of-the-month gallery stroll.
The evening will start with a private event from 5-7 p.m. Then the doors will open to the public from 7-9 p.m.
The private event, which is for Larson's clients, will be an uncrating of the art that will show and sell at the new gallery.
"When I was in high school, I visited my sister who was a student at Laguna Beach College of Art & Design and I went to an uncrating event that I still remember," Larsen told The Park Record. "I wasn't into art at the time, but I was there and everyone was standing around sipping wine, and the staff was unpacking all of this art and installing it on the walls. So, that's what we're going to do during the early part of the evening."
The gallery's featured artist will be Ashley Collins, who Larsen calls one of the most successful contemporary artists in the world today.
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"It's been great working with her and her representatives to get this all together," Larsen said. "Her works are amazing. They are massive, intellectual and moving and most sell for a minimum of $100,000. I am beyond honored to show her work."
Along with Collins, Prospect Gallery will feature other artists in a rotating schedule.
These artists will include Andy Warhol, Picasso and Miro.
"We also plan to bring in some large [Robert] Motherwell art as well," Larsen said.
Large is one of the keywords Larsen likes to use when it comes to Prospect Gallery. The space alone measures 4,500 square feet and is divided into four distinct areas.
"We can show different art in different areas," Larsen said. "It is an art gallery, but I want it to feel like a museum in here."
The idea came to Larsen from people who visit Park City.
"Many of these people want to know what the city is all about," he said. "They aren't here mainly to buy art.
"So, I pushed with my staff that we're not selling the art on the wall," Larsen said. " We want to give our clients and visitors a unique viewing experience. I love that the Claim Jumper is a little piece of [Park City] history."
In addition to the art and historical tidbits, Larsen plans to offer free wi-fi to his visitors.
"This way, people can come in to kick it and chill," he said. "We want to have a cool vibe."
Larsen happened upon the Claim Jumper space eight years ago, when he opened Old Towne Gallery.
"Most of the art I dealt with was being shipped all over the place and I wasn't really connecting with the locals," he said. "So, I opened Park City Fine Art, which helped me with dong that. And that's when I met the owners of the Claim Jumper."
Larsen got to know Billy Reed, right-hand man of the building's owner Jeffrey Records Jr.
"Billy does all the dealings with these buildings and he'd come to town and we'd hang out and have a great time," Larsen said. "We created a great working relationship over the years."
After proposing different ideas to Reed, Larsen pitched the idea of making the lower level of the Claim Jumper a high-end, blue-chip art gallery.
Blue-chip art is any creation expected to increase in value, regardless of surrounding economic conditions.
"Think of automobiles or hotels," he said. "I remember the first time I laid in a five-star hotel bed, the first time I sat in a Ferrari, the first time I felt the sense of power, the first time I was handed a warm towel on a first class flight — we all experience little nuances. The gallery should and will have this."
Larsen has sold art in Park City for 12 years, and has seen some significant changes, including the purchases of higher-end art.
"I have been asked by clients and designers to purchase blue-chip art on their behalf," he said. "With all of this, I wanted to keep the business local for the good of the community. So, I tried to imagine if there was a high end art gallery that was not snobby — just service oriented — but had world class art here at our doorstep."
Reed liked the idea and took it back to Records, who, in turn, also liked the idea.
"The building has been empty for a while, and the owner wanted to take his time to create something for the city," Larsen said. "He has bought other historic buildings and remodeled them rather than demolish them because he wants to preserve history.
"As far as I have heard, he is looking to remodel the building and also liked the idea of having a high-end gallery on the lower level," Larsen said.
One major condition for Larsen to open the Prospect Gallery was that it would keep the integrity of the Claim Jumper's original structure.
"I mean, the bricks in the walls are the same ones that survived the big Park City fire in the late 1800s," Larsen said. "[Records] also doesn't want me to scratch up the hard-wood floors more than they already are."
The gallery is scheduled to be open until the spring. It will take a break during the Sundance Film Festival, when Larsen will clear out for some of the festival's sponsor events.
"We know this might not last forever, but we want to make sure we give something special and different to people who visit us," Larsen said. "It's spacious and it's going to have a New York vibe to it."
The Prospect Gallery, 573 Main St., will celebrate its opening on Friday, Oct. 29, during the Park City Gallery Association Gallery Stroll from 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit prospectgallery.masterpiecesolutions.org.