New gallery opens at Silver Queen
July 29, 2006
As a three-year-old growing up in Colorado, Denise Walz often went to visit her grandmother. Through these visits the toddler found her calling in life one that would take her around the United States before landing her in Park City.
It was on these visits that Walz realized she wanted to be an artist.
"I used to sit at my grandmother’s kitchen table and she’d give me paper and crayons and I’d sit and draw," Walz said. "She was an artist herself. She did oils and she did leatherwork and she did all these wonderful things that inspired me. But she was not only an artist through canvas and other forms, she could grow a garden like crazy. She was wonderful. She was my inspiration."
Walz, previously of Wilshire Gallery, recently took another progressive step in her art career. She partnered with Ian McTavish and Mark Eaker of Frogman Publishing to open the Silver Queen Fine Art Gallery in the Silver Queen Hotel on Main Street in Park City.
"One of the reasons why I wanted to come do this gallery with my partners is that it’s a great opportunity to bring in national artists," she said. "Ian and Mark just bring a lot to the business as far as more knowledge, more products, more experience. They’re a fabulous company and they have a lot of people they work with and they treat everybody very well."
Although many of the artists on display at the gallery are nationally known, there are a few locals, such as Walz herself, who are exhibited.
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Tim Cotterill, also known as the Frogman, is one of the premier artists carried by Silver Queen. A collection of his diverse bronze frogs can be seen clinging to walls, sitting on cases and hunting their prey around the gallery.
Rodd Ambroson’s bronzes are also on display. Ambroson uses his expertise in the human body gained through years of being a medical illustrator to create statues of women that Walz called detailed and delicate.
"Being a medical illustrator has given him a great attention to detail and his perfection of the shape of the body," Walz said. "He’s really good at showing emotion by posture and facial expression. He’s really good at it, even down to the toes."
The gallery also features the work of G. Harvey, Henry Asencio, Michael Tatom, Victoria Montesinos and Walz said she is waiting for other pieces to come in after being framed.
"Both of my partners have a lot of experience in art, not only as far as publishing but also with working these artists for a long period of time," she said. "We have a really big background between the three of us and we have come together to create this fabulous new gallery which will offer these fabulous artists."
Walz contributes to the collection through jewelry making, which she does in her home studio. Skilled in both gold- and silver-smith techniques, she said she uses 1,600 degrees of torch and oven heat to make her pieces, but she also said safety comes first.
"I have a vest and I wear the UV glasses to protect my eyes and I wear the mask," she said. "I try to be as safe as possible because there is definitely some hazards with creating jewelry."
Walz first became interested in metal art while working for the U.S. Forest Service. She wanted to incorporate silver into the art she was then making with antlers, so she went to Hawaii to study under a goldsmith.
But that wasn’t her first slice of education. She had previously studied at the University of Alaska, where she lived for eight years, and at Flathead Community College in Montana.
"Learning from different people gives me a lot of different perspectives and the opportunity to see what’s going on in the world of art," she said. "But doing the hands-on thing probably helped the most."
Like many Parkites, Walz didn’t mean to end up in Park City. She came to visit a friend while searching for a new place to live and fell in love. She’s now been in Park City for 11 years, and said she couldn’t be more excited about her most recent adventure.
"We just want to have a product not only that we stand behind and love, but that will draw people who are interested in the same things to us," she said. "We just like the idea of filling people’s homes with this beautiful work."
Eaker said the chance to work with Walz was one he and McTavish couldn’t pass up.
"Denise is an artist so she has a passion for the business and she has had direct experience working with our product lines and has been successful in doing so," he said. "She was a natural choice in putting together this joint venture. Plus, we’re excited to be in the Silver Queen Hotel. It’s a key spot on Main Street and we’re excited to be there."
Although the gallery has been open since June, the grand opening is scheduled for the weekend of the Park City Jazz Festival, Aug. 25 to 27, with appearances by Cotterill on Friday and Saturday.
The Silver Queen Art Gallery is located at 632 Main Street and can be reached by phone at (435) 649-6555. The gallery is open seven days a week.