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Sharon McCoy drove 3½ hours to transport her art to Colorado Springs’ The Bridge Gallery. Given that the collection consists of fragile clay works it was, to say the least, a perilous journey. 

Most of McCoy’s formal arts education has been as an adult. When her sister-in-law gifted her a potter’s kiln, McCoy went to school to learn how to use it, taking one three-credit class at a time.

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Suddenly, she was a full-time student. McCoy has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Adams State in Alamosa, and a master of fine arts from Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

Before she fully submerged herself in the art world, McCoy had worked in a silkscreen studio, on a nursery as a California certified nursery professional, and at a coffee shop called Muddpuppy’s Coffee House, which she owned and operated. Currently, she lives in Monte Vista, a rural farming community in south central Colorado.

For years, McCoy’s medium of choice has been clay. “I love the plasticity of the clay and how you can form it and manipulate it,” she says. “And it’s so forgiving. But then, on the other hand, I really have difficulty with the fragility. But that fragility reminds me so much of life.”

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When McCoy describes her artistic techniques, we are reminded that there is, indeed, a science to art. She incorporates different firing methods, like oxidation and reductive atmospheric firing.

Sometimes, she’ll use acrylic paint on her pieces — other times, encaustic wax. This past year, McCoy built a soda kiln in her backyard. “I won’t limit myself,” she says.

McCoy’s mother was a professional clown and a seamstress. “You see that come through in my art,” she says, referencing the coloring and costuming of the figures. 

At the time of the pandemic, McCoy was recently divorced after 37 years of marriage. “So it was really life-changing anyway at that time,” she says. “The isolation was good and bad.

I saw my grandkids a lot during that time, so the imagery got a little more playful, and a little less dark.” Most of her work is meant to reflect a journey, whether this journey is literal (a figure with a suitcase) or metaphorical (a figure in a state of contemplation). 

“I cannot flourish unless I’m making art, unless I’m creating,” says McCoy. “And I think that other people have the ability to create, and they [might] have a fear. I think it’s wonderful to see the work and put it out there ... to open people’s minds to what they could do, or what they would love to have in their house. I do think the ability to create and the ability to explore your imagination will only open up every other facet of your life, be it writing or cooking … all of those are arts.”

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Tony Exum Jr.

Music (and Art Show) at the Indy

Part of the Indy’s free outdoor concert series. Music by Tony Exum Jr. and Christina Bubbosa, beer and wine tastings, food trucks, and a Chained Voices visual art show, featuring artwork by incarcerated people across Colorado. Afterward, a discussion about criminal justice reform from Sen. Pete Lee and Department of Corrections Director Dean Williams.

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 6-8 p.m. on the Indy’s parking lot, 235 S. Nevada Ave. See csindy.com/events for more info.

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Witch

Theatreworks kicks off autumn with Witch, an adaptation of a Jacobean comedy: “In this fiendishly funny dark comedy, Elizabeth Sawyer meets the devil. Scratch has come to haggle over souls with the residents of the tiny village of Edmonton. Elizabeth should be the easiest to convince — she’s an outcast, branded as a witch for years. So why is she the only one to resist Scratch’s deal?” Audience members will be seated in socially distanced pods of two; masks are required.

Thursday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 10. See entcenterforthearts.org/theatreworks/events/witch for tickets ($18-$32; free admission for UCCS students) and more info.

UCCS Visiting Artists & Critics Series

The ninth season of the Visiting Artists & Critics Series, co-produced by the UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art and UCCS Visual Art & Art History programs, features D. Dominick Lombardi, an artist, art writer and curator. Lombardi’s work is highlighted in a retrospective at UCCS’ Galleries of Contemporary Art’s Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery.

Thursday, Sept. 16, 5 p.m. at Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave. Free with registration at gocadigital.org/artist-critics-series.

Anna Fiorino is a graduate from San Diego State University. She is a journalist with (more than three but less than twenty) years of experience. In her free time, she edits novels.