UCCS GOCA director displays personal inspiration in featured exhibit downtown

November 15, 2016

Hannah Harvey

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     The art community is well known in cities like Denver and New York. But Daisy McGowan, director of GOCA, hopes to improve the art scene in Colorado Springs.

     McGowan will show her artwork in her gallery “Hand to Mouth” on at the S.P.Q.R. gallery, located on 17B E Bijou St., from 5:30 – 9 p.m. until Nov. 18.

     McGowan will display 10 of her encaustic paintings on wood panels, along with other multi-media works. Attendees will be able to purchase the paintings at the gallery.

     The title of the show was chosen to demonstrate McGowan’s themes of resilience and communication in both a literal and figurative sense.

     “Through personal experience, resilience is so central to my life. I’m proud of it,” said McGowan.

     McGowan’s inspiration for the exhibit is based off of a missionary group that her family was a part of in the ‘70s. The group’s survivorship and resilience are a prominent theme in her work for this show, said McGowan.

     “Artists have a deep need to communicate,” said McGowan.

     Displaying artwork is a vulnerable process, said McGowan.

     McGowan grew up in a large family with seven siblings. Her father was an illustrator who designed artwork for Celestial Seasonings, a Boulderbased company that sells tea products. McGowan studied studio art at Colorado College, and has been a local artist in Colorado Springs for the last 20 years.

     Declaring art as her major was an interesting experience, according to McGowan. McGowan, who was a lecturer of Museum Studies and Gallery Practice at UCCS, encourages parents of art majors to support their children.

     While in college, McGowan switched her major from art history to studio art, but said she would like to take more art history classes if given the chance to go back to school.

     “If you want to understand culture, take an art history class. Understanding what an image is when you see it is a valuable skill,” said McGowan.

     “Going to Colorado College was great; I had classes across a wide range of subjects.”

     The arts culture in Colorado Springs can be challenging for young artists to make a living in due to a lack of tax diversity, said McGowan.

     Colorado Springs is taxaverse, meaning that critical needs, such as the arts, are unfunded, according to McGowan.

     A vibrant arts scene boosts the economy and provides benefits for cities who decide to emphasize the arts culture, according to McGowan.

     “Art connects you to the city you live in; it gives you something corporate doesn’t offer,” said McGowan.

     “Making art is challenging; the empathy I have (for other artists) comes from experience.”

     Artists are the most vulnerable part of the art world, said McGowan. McGowan would advise young artists to band together and find a way to show their work.

     “There’s no reason to wait for validation,” she said. Thinking about the message of one’s artwork is important to consider, according to McGowan. Future societies will reflect on art as the relic of today’s culture.

     Collecting art is a great way for students to become more involved in their local arts culture, said McGowan.

     “Engaging the community is the purpose.”