Friday, July 1, 2011

Roll out the art barrels

Center for the Arts barrel display is all around town

Express Staff Writer

Brothers Brett and Stephen Carlson painted and collaged a barrel using cut cookie-tin pieces to exhibit a whimsical depiction of Baldy looking over the good life in Sun Valley. Courtesy photo

The best kind of recycling is when something old becomes new again. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Sun Valley Center Wine Auction, July 21-23, The Center has placed Wine Auction barrel art on display around Ketchum. Ten works of art made from wine barrels or portions of wine barrels are on view at various Ketchum businesses through July 23.

The barrel art was created by Wood River Valley artists who responded to a call for proposals from The Center.

"We know we have incredibly talented artists living here, but even so, these barrels just blew us away," said Christl Holzl, wine auction director. "The barrels have been carved, painted, decorated with neon, covered with cut pieces of tin or dyed cloth and even turned into functional furniture. They are truly amazing works of art."

Tonnellerie Quintessence Bordeaux, a cooperage, or barrel-making, company, donated the French oak barrels for the art project. The Center asked artists to submit designs that used at least one of the barrel heads and one of the hoops, and 10 artists were invited to participate. Artists Melissa Graves Brown, Ginna Parsons Lagergren and Judy Stoltzfus used much of the barrel as a painting surface. Brothers Brett and Stephen Carlson also used the whole barrel—but covered it with a collage made out of pieces cut from cookie tins. Janet Starr wrapped hand-dyed, twisted cotton around her barrel and Joseph L. Castle III added artificial grape leaves and grapes and hands holding wine glasses.


Diana Lloyd, an experienced neon tube bender, made neon art out of a barrel head and stave, while Jack W. Burgess carved four figures in a folk art style. Bob Dix deconstructed his barrel into a mixed-media piece that pays homage to the flavor that oak barrels impart to wine, while Wes Walsworth reconstructed his barrel as a unique functional bench.

The barrels can be seen around downtown Ketchum and in front of the Sun Valley Club. Locations are Lost River Outfitters, Silver Creek Outfitters, Ozzie's Shoes, Atkinsons' Market, Chateau Drug, Tully's Coffee, CIRO restaurant & market, F-Stop and the Sun Valley Wine Co. There are maps and descriptions with every barrel, and maps are also posted on The Center's website,

Members of the public are invited to vote on which barrel is their favorite via cell text messages through July 17. Each of the 10 artists received $500, with an extra $500 going to the "people's choice" winner.

The barrels will be auctioned as a part of the silent auction, and final bids will close at the Wine Auction Picnic & Concert on Saturday evening, July 23. The Wine Auction is a series of six events over three days that in addition to the picnic include Vintner Dinners, the Auction Gala, two Riedel Wine Symposia and a Wine Tasting Extravaganza. Proceeds from all these events allow The Center to offer art and educational programs to more than 30,000 people every year in the Wood River Valley.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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