I wrote this open letter to residents of Montezuma county, Colorado, at the end of 2020 about my personal challenges of the previous year:
The Art Gallery and Makerspace was carefully curated by local artist Lille Diane. Lille has been a mixed media artist and muralist for over 35 years. She teaches art workshops locally and online, plus hosts creative retreats. She also produces her own syndicated vlog “My Postcard Life” on YouTube about Art, DIY, & Life living in the Four Corners area. This will also become the home to Thedailyzu.com. A dedicated, front window display will highlight events, contributors and advertisers with a monitor-based scrolling calendar and Instagram feed.
The photography studio will be built around Wild Blue Bug Photography, a business that is now over a decade old and run by mother/daughter duo, Jodi Jahrling and Christine Dorcheus. The studio will offer affordable, local portrait specials, event photography with on-site printing, and commercial photography, from business headshots to products.
One of our many assets in Montezuma County is our community of artists – and it’s not only the artist, makers, and creators of modern times we are blessed to have – it’s the artists of yesterday who left behind art on cave walls all over this area. While the mediums and art making tools may have changed, the artists in our sweet southwest corner of Colorado, are still carrying on the traditions of documenting history in various artistic forms.
ZU Gallery is honored to become a modern-day cave wall displaying the art of local Montezuma County artists. We are venturing out to make our own kind of history to support and uplift the artists in our community, as well as help local Cortez businesses. We are equipped with innovative, marketing savvy and a strong desire to connect businesses as team to help boost our local economy.
Art truly is a connector that makes the world go round and our belief is that activity creates more activity. We know it’s up to us, the community, to gather together to insure our local, small businesses survive Main Street America and beyond. We can do so much more together than we can alone.
Hello, my name is Lille Diane. I am the Zu Gallery Curator and Makerspace coordinator. That’s my “official” titles – yet – I call myself a Creativity Guide and Creative Adventurer. My focus is to curate quality art, create marketing strategies to promote our artists, and expose their art to a wider audience of potential buyers and collectors. I’m here to helpothers shine.
We are not a co-op. We are a team of marketing experts with years and years of sales experience, valuable people skills, and mutual goals to unite with the downtown Cortez retailers for the highest good of all.
We can’t wait to show you the newly remodeled, historic Havran Dry Cleaners after we finish staging the gallery, and setting up the meeting and makerspace. This space is also the future home of Wild Blue Bug Photography Studio and dynamic daughter-mother duo, Jodi Jahrling and Chris Dorcheus, as well as the Daily Zu good news zine, locals of Montezuma County and worldwide travelers to Mesa Verde National Park have flat out fallen in love with!
Here is a sprinkling of what we’ll be doing at 48 W Main ST.
Jodi and I are creating an unconventional gallery-twist by installing visual experiences in every direction and in every nook and cranny in-between. We are constructing interactive art stations for guests of all ages. We have a boho-inspired living room area in case our patrons need a quick refresher between shopping in downtown Cortez with a cup of coffee supplied by a local favorite, Tales From The Mutiny Farm – or a nice, cool drink of water.
Each month we will feature one of our gallery artists for the entire month, and host a reception in their honor, plus we will spotlight one local teen artist each month with a mini pop-up show and reception, as well. In fact, we are utilizing our spacious venue for pop-up shows year-round – including more frequent scheduling around the holidays to offer shoppers a variety of artist wares and selection.
Allow me to tease you with one more juicy tidbit before I move on to tell you about our Makerspace! We have a pair of gallery artists who paint in tandem and will most likely steal the hearts of everyone who has the opportunity to watch them paint. I could spill the beans now but we’d be here all day so let’s just move on to our Makers and Meeting Space.
Our makerspace has been customized for makers who don’t have a teaching space to work out of or one large enough to accommodate multiple students. We’ve got the perfect space for your workshops – complete with incredible lighting, ergonomic chairs, ample tables, room to spread out, digital projection aides, a custom-made demo-table,and staff who understand your needs as an instructor.
Plus, we are hosting our own community-minded workshops and events specifically geared to engage different age groups and interests. You belong in the ZU, you really do, and we look forward to sharing our offerings with you!
The ZU Makerspace also doubles as our Meeting Space. We have tables and chairs to seat up to 50 guests for your club, group, business, conference, reception, or celebrations. Check the seating charts on our website to see a variety of configurations and possibilities. Guests will love our cozy, eclectic living room space available to rent for smaller groups of 4-6 people, too. The ZU also has a team of savvy techies who can assist you to make your business event shine!
If you need help, we have multiple event planners to guide you each step of the way. We are plugged into local restaurants, caterers, florists, bakers, and musicians to save you time planning. And, Wild Blue Bug Photography, our in-house photography team, is available for your special occasion, too, including their wildly popular photo booth!
Christine Dorcheus, our General Manager and Meeting Space coordinator, will guide you through the process and make sure you have everything you need.
We see ourselves as a bright light on the corner of hope and possibility. We want our ZU light to shine so bright that we inspire others to do the same. We want to be the hub that connects locals and engages with other local creative hubs, too. We want to help our community not just survive—we want it to thrive.