Art Gallery Exhibitions: April 2023

April 1–30, 2023

Arapahoe Libraries is proud to host art exhibits each month at Eloise May, Koelbel and Smoky Hill libraries. Library galleries offer the community a place to view a variety of art at no cost while also providing visibility to local artists. A volunteer art selection committee selects exhibits based on artistic quality, variety of exhibits and the suitability of format for each exhibit space. 

Have a question about the galleries or interested in showcasing your art? Visit the Art Galleries page for more information.

Jeffrey Hersch

Koelbel Library

The license plate for the state of Indiana, where I was born and raised, used to say “WANDERER.” It never made a bit of sense to me for a state of hog and corn farmers, but I followed it like a mantra around the world for a couple times and a bunch of years. I’m not saying a photographer has to go 12,000 miles to photograph, but I went that far, and then I took photos. In recent years travel has been less a part of my life, and I go out to the plains of Colorado, or a lake in Minnesota, or even a rec. center therapy pool, looking for the same thing I found in Nepal or Bolivia, something that moves me.

Jeff Bradley, an erstwhile art reviewer for the Denver Post said of a distant show of mine “The camera lens is an intrigued but unobtrusive observer of daily life, and the sudden shafts of life that illuminate it.” That hit it pretty well.

I don’t have any agenda when I walk around with a camera. In the tradition of a century of street photographers, I don’t know what I will photograph until I click the shutter. I look at my images and see that they usually depend on atmosphere rather than color or clarity. There was something about that scene or person that I photographed that resonated with me, whether I could identify what that was at the moment. If the photo is successful, it will touch something in the viewer as it did me, however different that may be for each person. What they all have in common is that the photos say as much about me as what I photographed, and that’s ok, because art, in any form, is an extension of temperament I recently saw a PBS program about a very successful artist whose art is imbued with a strong political message. It IS a message, even though the artist is upset because the very people to whom the art is directed don’t see and can’t buy his work. I think, where is the message in my work—and there isn’t one—or perhaps it is simply LOOK around you, and that’s no small thing. It is enough.

About the show: Many of these images were taken in my years in the Himalayan region, as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1970's, trekking guide, and traveler. I helped build a drinking water system in a Nepali village, and traveled in Nepal, India and Ladakh, off and on for several decades.

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Darla Okada

Smoky Hill Library

Darla Okada is an illustrator and comic artist currently working in Wheat Ridge. Her work focuses on the small moments of everyday life and typically features cute animals and friendly faces. She works with traditional and digital mediums, opting for gouache, watercolor, and colored pencils when working traditionally and choosing similar effects when working in Photoshop. She aims to create art that will bring you a small moment of joy or nostalgia. When she’s not in her studio, you can find her taking long walks, playing video games, or trying new food with her husband.

What is your favorite piece in the show and why?
This is a tough choice, but if I had to choose, Wanderlust is my current favorite. I love the color palette for this piece, and it was my first “big” full-scene painting after years of creating small, single-character pieces for greeting cards.

What motivates you to create?
Experiencing and observing the day-to-day ups and downs. I tend to zoom in on details, and I try to bring that focus to my imaginary characters so they come to life.

Who are your biggest artists influences?
The list is very long and constantly changing! My top three are currently Lily Seika Jones, Charles Santoso, and Briony May Smith.

What message do you want your art to convey to viewers?
I hope viewers take the time to notice the small things and positive moments in the world around them, especially now when life can feel heavy and overwhelming.

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