|“The beauty of this place attracts artists. You might say art is in the heart of Pagosa,” says Madeline Lyon, owner of Wild Spirit Gallery. “I don’t mean geographically, but I think it’s part of the heartbeat of the beauty of this area.”
While not an artist herself, the artistic heartbeat of Pagosa Springs drew Lyon to the area. A relative newcomer, Lyon moved to Pagosa Country in 2008 from Lumberton after buying the gallery in 2007. The gallery had closed its doors, but Lyon, who has a passion for business and had previously ventured into business despite years as a teacher, decided to take her first trip into retail in order to keep the gallery open. Under her ownership, the gallery has expanded to include a wider variety of media — paintings, pottery, jewelry, rugs and more.
In her short time in the area, Lyon dove into the arts scene headfirst, also serving on the board of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, which, along with its gallery showings and other activities, holds workshops by local artists that cater to beginners and experienced alike.
The talent of the area is not limited to fine art, however. “This town also has music and theatre groups that help to make this an art destination in the broad sense of art,” Lyon says, noting that there have been playwrites in residence in the area, along with renowned musical talents.
“It offers tourists entertainment in the evening when they finish their hiking,” Lyons says, adding, “Our summer and spring and fall visitors have an opportunity to see some good theatre.”
Despite already having a strong arts scene for the size of the community, Lyon thinks the artistic character of the town will continue to develop and create a niche for itself in the future, something she is more than willing to help along.
“My vision is to make Pagosa Springs an art destination. I think it has that potential,” Lyon says, noting the community’s excellent galleries, offering a variety of art styles, and talented residents. “There’s no question in my mind that this very definitely could become a great art destination.”