‘Animal Verses for Grown-up Children’ to open next week

Local visual artist Sabine Baeckmann-Elge and performing artist, writer and musician A. John Graves have a treat in store for Pagosans when their collaborative exhibit opens at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council’s Town Park Gallery on Thursday May 28.

This exhibit will introduce the two artists’ book project entitled “Animal Verses for Grown-up Children,” written by Graves and illustrated by Baeckmann-Elge. The book, which was recently released, is certainly not a children’s book. Animal Verses for Grown-up Children features humorous poems written by John, whose subjects are animals and their peculiar, unique views about their situations in life and love.

 Here’s John’s take on the gist of the book: “In the last twelve years, while my former film, television, and academic colleagues have been soaring to new heights in the areas of cultural, educational, and professional achievements, I have been writing a collection of dirty animal poems. Perhaps a more genteel description would be: A subtle, sophisticated, slightly sexy soupcon of saucy zoological satire.” He goes on to say, “A few years ago I met a wonderful local artist. She (Baeckmann-Elge) has brilliantly illustrated the verses in the style of a children’s picture book. Her visuals perfectly match the mood and madness of the written word.”

 During the exhibit, Baeckmann-Elge will display the watercolor illustrations she created for the collaborative project. At the exhibit opening and artists’ reception, Graves will treat the audience to a live reading from the book. This exhibit will also feature a small representation of Baeckmann-Elge’s latest body of works entitled, “Animal Lines,” which are watercolors of animals in unique situations. This subset of Baeckmann-Elge’s work will not only enhance the overall theme of the exhibit, but also show a very different, yet relevant side to her work.

 Sabine and John are in wonder thinking of where their collaboration will lead them next. “It’s been an exciting and creative journey for us both,” exclaims Baeckmann-Elge.

 I am eagerly awaiting this exhibit, with its performance art element! If nothing else, this will be a very colorful exhibit and reading.

The exhibit runs May 28 through June 23 at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council’s Town Park Gallery. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. The exhibit opening and artists’ reception will be held Thursday, May 28, 5 to 7 p.m. Musician Stephany Bouchier will play the classical guitar during the opening night event.


Photo courtesy Don Long
Local visual artist Sabine Baeckmann-Elge and writer and musician John Graves open their collaborative exhibit, “Animal Verses for Grown-up Children,” written by Graves and illustrated by Baeckmann-Elge, at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council’s Town Park Gallery on Thursday May 28.