Expanding arts culture in Pagosa Springs

By John Finefrock

Pagosa Springs is increasingly becoming a destination for the arts. 

Two Old Crows Fine Art Gallery owners Evelyn Tennyson and Patricia Francis are at the center of the ever-expanding art offerings around Pagosa Springs. While the gallery is known for showcasing jewelry, fine art, elegant furniture and home decor, it also helps foster a unique creative spirit in southwestern Colorado.

In addition to operating the gallery, Francis and Tennyson have been instrumental in creating the Pagosa Springs Fine Arts Council, which supports and promotes the arts and local artists around Pagosa Springs. 

“Our saying is that art begets art, and it’s a great economic driver,” Francis said during an interview in the gallery, a historic, expansive building that used to be a furniture store. “There are so many talented artists in the community and while we didn’t want to operate a co-op we wanted to represent the artists and draw people into the community.”

The arts council and Two Old Crows have worked together to feature local artists in various places around town. The Pagosa Springs Medical Center features an entire corridor of local and regional art. The two groups have also partnered with local restaurants.

“We have a cooperative agreement with the Alley House and we supply them with art on about a six-to-eight week rotation,” said Francis. “You can’t believe the comments we get from people, ‘Oh we had no idea, are these local artists? Who are these people? Where can I find them?”

Many of the featured art pieces in the Two Old Crows gallery depict scenes that colorfully illustrate southwestern Colorado. Oil paintings of aspen groves, black bears and the Colorado mountains line the walls. Clay animals, ceramic vases, and twisted, colorful glasswork line the countertops. The gallery itself unfurls over many rooms, one of which is complete with a stone fireplace, a feature of the building’s historic past.

The gallery also recently expanded to the building next door.

Francis noted that many tourists come to Pagosa Springs for the mountains, the hiking and the hot springs, but she and Tennyson are working hard to make sure that talented local and regional artists become part of the draw too.

“We like to think we’re enhancing the experience of people coming to Pagosa Springs and hope to offer them an alternative and another way of enjoying Pagosa,” said Francis.

The Two Old Crows’ location in the middle of downtown at 468 Lewis St. makes it a central location to expand the arts culture in Pagosa Springs. 

Francis, an award-winning photographer, explains that art is meant to be enjoyed and shared.

“When I experience a scene through a camera I want to immediately share it because I think it’s beautiful and I’d like someone else to see that beauty. I suspect that whether you draw or you paint or you sculpt or you make pottery, it’s from wanting to share your vision in your heart of beauty.”