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Squash Blossom gallery director Chelsey Lubitz talks curating for retail 

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Art historians make a clear distinction between two major influences in art: the Institution and the Market.

The Institution can be major art schools, religious institutions or the government; it tends to demand art that inspires intellectually and fits with the social mores and technical expectations of the time. The Market consists of all individuals who buy and support the arts, from rich patrons to tourists, and Market-driven art, which needs to sell and tends toward more immediate emotional impact.

But whether institutional or market-driven, every gallery needs curation. And though her title is gallery director, curation is a big part of what Chelsey Lubitz does for the Colorado Springs location of The Squash Blossom. Currently, the store, which Lubitz describes as a retail gallery, represents over 50 artists, many of whom are locals.
Location Details Squash Blossom
2531 W. Colorado Ave.
Old Colorado City
Colorado Springs, CO
632-1899
Art Gallery and Retail Store
“When it comes to subject matter, we do a little bit more fine art than contemporary art,” says Lubitz, who notes that their Vail location focuses more on high-end jewelry.

When there’s an opening for a new artist, Lubitz gets first pass on an applicant’s portfolio. The art has to be not only of high enough caliber, but in a medium that will sell. Jewelry does well here, too.
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“Beyond that, we have several different oil painters,” she says, citing the appeal of the medium in fine arts circles­. It’s perceived to be more difficult than other forms of art, so Squash Blossom’s customers are more likely to buy it. For similar reasons, the store also moves a lot of bronze sculpture.

Seasonality’s also a concern — being in Old Colorado City, a place not lacking in trinket shops and Kokopelli art, Squash Blossom relies heavily on tourism dollars, so Lubitz likes to set up feature shows and spotlight new artists around the start of tourism season, when the money’s better.

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