Springs-area arts: Seven people to know 

Liese and Kris Chavez: Wife and husband are both artistic powerhouses who can paint, draw, make jewelry and tell stories in images. Liese has won the Indy's best artist category three years in a row, and as of April she and Kris have their own space at 2616 W. Colorado Ave., #10, to show off their fun, whimsical works. (Think robots, and women with castles in their hair.) Expect lots of new arrivals, parlor tricks, artwork you can touch and manipulate, and a heavy dose of imagination.

Michael Garman: Though a studio turns out Garman's works these days, there's no denying the signature style that has charmed so many. Earthy folks with long limbs and whole city blocks constructed for them appear alongside alley cats, trash and other details that are as meticulously done as they are unappealing in real life. At his shop and museum (2418 W. Colorado Ave., michaelgarman.com), you can see how the works are made and tour Magic Town, a small Garman city that uses the help of mirrors to change scenes in the buildings. This will blow kids' minds.

Abigail Kreuser: Kreuser is an artist herself, but the work she does to curate and coordinate art shows in her own gallery and neighboring venues is downright amazing. Kreuser Gallery (218 W. Colorado Ave., abigailkreusergallery.com) has hosted numerous locals throughout its three years, and during that time Abigail has hung works in Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., showcasing emerging and developed artists like Tylan Troyer, Josh Kennard, Gary Jensen and Brett Morgan. Follow Kreuser and you'll uncover a whole wealth of local art.

Christian Keesee: The name might not be familiar to anyone around here, but that's probably the way Keesee would like it. He's the arts patron behind the Green Box Arts Festival, an annual month-long series of dance performances, art installations, classes and concerts that take place in Green Mountain Falls, the Oklahoma man's favorite vacation site. Thanks to Green Box, we've seen "Cloud City" by Tomás Saraceno (which traveled from the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to a perch above GMF's lake) and Jason Hackenwerth's stunning large-scale balloon sculptures. If that sounds funny, you should have seen one piece fill the nave of the Church in the Wildwood. Damn.

Christo: Obviously Christo isn't local, but if you bring up the name anywhere around here, you'll bear witness to a screed of opinions surrounding the artist's ongoing battle to complete Over the River along a portion of the Arkansas River, about two hours outside the Springs. OTR, like Christo and the late Jeanne-Claude's past projects, involves fabric and a natural landscape — in this case, 5.9 miles of semi-translucent, silvery canopy to follow the river. It's brought years of permissions and legal battles.

Charles Rockey: "Rockey," as he's known colloquially, is a Manitou Springs icon whose artwork is a grand mix of fairy-tale psychedelia and breathtaking detailed beauty. This is a man who has taken something as humble as a cardboard egg crate and drawn fascinating, ghoulish faces on the overturned cups — a true Midas touch. Manitou is Rockey's home and muse, as it has been for decades, though recent flooding has forced the artist to move his works to higher ground. However, you can find them still at the Miramont Castle Museum, and more will appear at Adam's Mountain Café when it opens in its new space this spring.


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