Bethany Mission Traveling to Pueblo

Wide shot of the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center

Later this year, a majority of the artwork in BMG’s collection will travel to its founding director’s hometown of Pueblo, Colorado for an exhibition at Sangre de Cristo Arts Center (SDC), scheduled to open in early October. This “homecoming” presentation of Victor Keen’s collection includes no less than thirty-eight artists represented by 127 of their creations and will be on view through January of 2020. 

“That this artwork should travel 2,000 miles to a town in Colorado not widely known as an art mecca may call for an explanation. Pueblo is my hometown, where I lived in the same house with my parents, two brothers, and a sister from my birth until I left for college in Connecticut years later. My siblings and I all graduated from Pueblo Central High (listed in the National Register of Historic Places), as did my father, who was also born in Pueblo. Although I have no family remaining in Pueblo, I have returned for all of my high school reunions and at other times to see old (and now they are old) friends and to visit familiar sites. When I left Pueblo in 1959 there were no museums or art centers of note there beyond those focusing on local history or local industry. Over the years when I returned from time to time to Pueblo, I became familiar with Pueblo’s award-winning Sangre de Cristo Art Center (the “SDC”), opened in 1972 and now featuring three gallery spaces that exhibit art by local, regional, and national artists as well as an auditorium that hosts local and national touring opera, dance and theater.

A number of friends in Pueblo, most of them unfamiliar with outsider art, strongly suggested to me that the SDC would be an ideal venue for introducing this segment of the art world to Pueblo. On meeting Jim Richerson, the CEO of  the SDC, and SDC’s chief curator, Liz Szabo, it became clear that, while SDC had not previously shown outsider art in its galleries, there was interest in exploring the idea. Their interest grew into mutual enthusiasm and serious excitement when Jim and Liz visited Bethany Mission Gallery in Philadelphia.” 
– Victor Keen

The SDC is dedicated to creating artistic learning experiences for everyone and CEO Jim Richerson says, “This exhibition without doubt has something for everyone and is an outstanding opportunity to share with our visitors a collection that pushes the boundaries of art… Pueblo is blessed to have such a philanthropic native son.”
The exhibition will subsequently travel to other venues as it makes its way back east, so stay tuned for more details on that.