Text in the City is a delightful group of 12 women who read and discuss books about artists and their art. Our little art family is kind, uplifting and very encouraging. We draw strength and inspiration from one another. We support each other by attending each other’s shows and openings and just being there for one another.
Being together for 15 years is rare for a book club. I attribute our longevity to our mutual respect. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and if someone has not read the current selection, no one is offended. We are always interested in hearing about a book and what others thought about it.
“We make it a point to respect one another and other points of view. We know that at our book club meetings, we can hear and be heard.”
— Patty Maher
All of the book club members make room in their lives to work on their art, whether it be painting, book illustration, photography, sculpture, ceramics, writing, poetry or jewelry craft. One of our members drives four hours round-trip to attend. She moved out of town after joining the group and decided she did not want to stop coming. Many of us consider this club a form of art therapy.
Our president, Teri Keller, is the glue that keeps us together. At times she feels like she’s herding cats, (we are creatives after all), but she always remembers member’s birthdays, brings cake to celebrate club anniversaries, and hosts our annual pot luck luncheon at her home west of Denver. It’s at this gathering that we share our personal accomplishments of the previous year.
Occasionally our group will go on outings that tie in with the books we read. Again, Teri usually arranges these, taking us to places we didn’t know existed. Once, after reading about Georgia O’Keeffe, we took a road trip from Denver to Santa Fe to see the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The museum was closed that day, but Teri managed to get us in. It was thrilling to see Georgia’s color-recipe charts for mixing her paints.
Afterward, we traveled 50 miles northwest to Abiquiu, New Mexico, to Georgia’s Ghost Ranch. This was where Georgia did so much of her painting. Walking through her landscape, in her footsteps, we could see with our own eyes the hills and deeply channeled mountains that served as her muse.
Later that afternoon, we viewed a Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens and read about his dynamic art of glass blowing. Other Botanical Gardens outings have included a Deborah Butterfi eld lecture and sculpture viewing; Henry Moore sculptures; and Alexander Calder sculptures. When “The Lion King” came to town, we read about director and costume designer Julie Taymor and then went to see her creations in person at the show. We read Timothy Egan’s fascinating book, “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher,” about Seattle photographer Edward Curtis. Curtis was known for his beautifully photographed Native American tribes in the late 1800s and early 1900s. At the University of Denver archives, we were able to see one of his rare multi-volume book collections with its stunning large-format prints.
The size of the book club has been kept to the “artful dozen,” adding new members as others move on. But it has been a long time since there has been an opening. I think I speak for all of us when I say that meeting regularly with these 11 women does something for me creatively that I cannot experience elsewhere. Not only do I have a strong appreciation for my fellow book club members’ creativity; I also draw inspiration and strength from them. My creative batteries are charged, and I can’t wait to get back to my projects.