Featured Artists for February, 2016 at Valley Art Co-op Gallery and Shop are Martha Ann Kennedy and Jenny Noonan. A public reception will be held for them at the shop, 925 1st Ave, Monte Vista, CO on February 20 from 3 to 6 pm. Light refreshments will be served.
Martha Ann Kennedy was born in Denver, Colorado. She went to high school in Colorado Springs, attended Colorado Women’s College, then the University of Colorado, Boulder where she earned a BA in English. She did graduate work at the University of Denver, earning an MA in English in 1979. In 1982, she went to the Peoples Republic of China where she taught English at South China Teachers University in Guangzhou. Returning to the United States, she and her then husband spent a year in Denver, and then moved to San Diego where, for thirty-one years, she taught English as a Second Language, composition, business communication and literature at the college and university level. When she retired from teaching, she high-tailed it back to Colorado. After seeing a house online, she came to Monte Vista. The house was a no-go, but she fell in love with the town, bought a different house, and settled into the San Luis Valley, which she calls “Heaven.”
In the past few years, her work has been chosen to exhibit in juried shows. Her small oil painting, Cornflowers, was chosen to exhibit in the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. In 2013, her painting, The World is Out There, was chosen to exhibit in the San Diego Museum of Art Artist’s Guild fall show, “Contemporary Expressionism: the Creative Spirit” at the Lyceum Gallery in Horton Plaza in San Diego. Since moving back to Colorado, she has exhibited with Monte Arts Council and Art Thing. Her first show ever was a one-person show at Cafe Nepenthes in Denver in 1981.
She works in a variety of media and has even studied Buon Fresco. She’s shown and sold linoleum cuts — inspired by Picasso’s which she saw in the National Gallery years ago. She likes learning new techniques and using new media that push her to look at things in a new way. And, although she said she didn’t think she’d ever try to paint San Luis Valley scenes, she was wrong.
In addition to painting, Kennedy is a published writer of historical fiction. Along with her paintings, you’ll be able to find her novels at the Valley Art Co-op Gallery and Gift Shop and she will be signing books for anyone who buys one during the reception on February 20. You can learn about them here: Martin of Gfenn and Savior. Her third novel, The Brothers’ Path will be published by Bygone Era Books late this spring.
Jenny Noonan is a Colorado native, but she lived as a military wife for eight years in Fayetteville, North Carolina while her husband was stationed at Fort Bragg. Noonan and her family moved to Monte Vista almost 12 years ago. They have two bright and fun-spirited sons and together they enjoy hiking, “…the glorious mountains here in the valley.”
Noonan is a preschool teacher at Marsh Elementary in Monte Vista, Colorado. She says that working with preschool children “…keeps me young at heart and appreciative of the little things in life.” Last summer she offered a summer art program for third to eighth grade students. She found it to be, “…an enlightening experience to teach what I love and watch the students discover their talents as young artists.”
Art one of Jenny Noonan’s strong passions in life. She doesn’t have a specific type of art, but likes to try “…anything that strikes my interest…” She enjoys mixed media incorporating various materials such as pressed flowers, acrylic paints, clay, charcoal, pencil and ink. Her new love is the process of creating mandalas. Noonan says, “I love the rhythm, the symmetry and the surprise outcome of each one I make. It has become a meditative outlet.”
Noonan believes the beauty of art is that the possibilities are endless and the results can be so rewarding. She explains that when she approaches an art project she becomes, “…childlike…I get to use my hands, my imagination and curiosity.”
As a teacher and mom, she encourages her own children and students to, “…find their passion within and have an outlet to express the way they experience the world in which they live.” Noonan says, “I never grow tired of learning and trying new forms of art. It is such an enjoyable journey.”
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Along with the Featured Artists this month, Valley Art Co-op is also holding a Valentine’s Shopping Event from 10 to 2, February 13, 2016. There will be food, shopping, music, and a raffle — the grand prize is dinner for two at Boogies Restaurant in Del Norte!