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A cold reception 

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Filthy Wilma was an unconventional broad. According to the legend, Manitou's elite shunned the foul-mouthed, gambling wagon driver for her oddities, a love for clay digging among them. The mythological whiskey drinker wouldn't be tamed, though.

Legend places Filthy Wilma in Manitou Springs circa 1890. Today, Wilma's spirit is carried by the artists who maintain the myth, a quad of locals quirky enough to host an exhibit called Refrigerator Art Show, opening Saturday at Filthy Wilma's Fine Art Gallery in Manitou.

Co-owner Tina Riesterer admits the idea for the show was "a fluke" at first. A former colleague pushed the concept for years at another artist co-op before giving up. This weekend, he'll be awarding prizes for best entries at the opening reception.

The Wilma's crew say they backed the idea from its inception and are pleased to finally bring it to fruition.

"The refrigerator is the first place you exhibit your art," Reisterer explains. "Why stop?"

The initial entries, on display before formal intake began, revealed a variety of colorful magnets, the expected medium for such an exhibit. But Reisterer's "Refrigerator Door Guadalupe" cracks the assumption that this is a show of miniatures. Scavenging area resale stores for a retro refrigerator door, the painter and potter finally found the desired hunk of scrap metal "buried in a junkyard." Its concave is the "perfect shape" for encompassing the Madonna, which she painted in oil. Reisterer sees it as a melding of two icons.

Think she's giving the refrigerator too much credit? Not without acknowledging the kind of good humor it takes to host such a show in the first place.

"We would like people to be kind to their refrigerators and buy them art," she jokes.

Join the Refrigerator Art Show artists for an opening reception Saturday, May 7, 2-8 p.m.; refreshments will be provided.

-- Vanessa Martinez

capsule

Refrigerator Art Show

Filthy Wilma's Fine Art Gallery, 10 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs

May 7 to June 7

Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call 685-0636 for more info.

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