Trivia Question: Can you name the original members of the Durango Gallery Association?

(Answer at the bottom of this newsletter.)

Many of you are familiar with Jesse Robbins, a Creek Indian who attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, went on to get his Masters in Archaeology at Northern Arizona University and dedicated himself to becoming a full time silversmith.

Jesse has done very well and this last year was accepted to show at the Heard Museum Show and the Santa Fe Indian Market for the first time. Jesse’s jewelry looks like it came out of the 1800s. And it is made just like it was made back then.

Jesse even goes so far as to mine his own turquoise. The family mine in Nevada is called “Cheyenne” and a couple of times a year, Jesse and his family spend several weeks mining the claim. The stones that the mine produces are beautiful and even Ray Lovato of Santo Domingo, who is really stuffy about the natural turquoise he works with, has used Cheyenne stones to make his famous hand ground necklaces.

The silver in Robbins' jewelry is shaped by melting scrap silver into small bars or pieces and then hand rolling or pounding them out to create a base for his jewelry. He makes many of his own stamps using steel blanks or old stamps purchased from antique dealers. When asked why he doesn’t mine his own silver he said, “The mine actually was a silver mine in addition to being a turquoise mine, but we haven’t found any yet!”

Jesse will be showing a new selection of his traditional jewelry, with Cheyenne Turquoise,  at the Gallery Walk.

And, he is bringing another family member, his mother, Pam Robbins, who has developed a business by taking old, worn out Navajo rugs and crafting them into unique purses and bags. Unlike Eric Hodges, who uses Navajo weavings to accent his leather bags, Pam’s work is really all about the textile.

This style requires a larger salvageable Navajo weaving remnant with the strength to build a bag around it. We have handled Pam's work for over a year and this is her first show at the Gallery.


And, we are proud to present the first painting show by KevinMcCarthy. Kevin is a nationally famous bronze sculpture whose depictions of Native Americans garner praise from collectors and art dealers around the world. He has always dabbled in painting, but stayed away from it initially because of his famous artist father, Frank McCarthy.

He wanted to create his own footprint in the art world and the sculptures did that, but he is now fulfilling a dream to become known as an oil painter as well. He doesn’t take on the same subject matter that he works with in his bronzes. He is drawn to Southwestern landscapes and, living in the Four Corners, he is surrounded by great subject matter.

Kevin also had a great experience this August when The Kevin McCarthy Trio was the opening act at the Telluride Jazz Festival! He knocked the crowd dead with his guitar playing. We are proud to be the first Gallery to exhibit his paintings! Like everything else this man does, they are exceptional!


And, we will be featuring new works by Gourd Artist Lona Warne from Farmington. Warne was a student of Robert Rivera, recognized as the father of Contemporary Southwestern Gourd Art, and initially her work resembled his. That is a compliment. But today, she has taken her art way beyond what she learned from her mentor and creates works that are uniquely hers.

Lona won’t be at the gallery walk as her son is getting married, but she has made sure that we have a wide selection of her new works. And really, if your son is getting married, you have to go!

The Fall Gallery Walk has been Durango’s major art event since it was founded in 1983 by the four original members of the Durango Gallery Association. Toh-Atin Gallery is the last one standing of the original group and we are happy that the Gallery Association continues to grow in both numbers and quality.

Trivia Answer: In 1983. Toh-Atin Gallery, Goodman’s Gallery Marguerite, the Kathleen Warner Gallery and Western artist Jim Noble formed the first Durango Gallery Association at a lunch meeting in the Petroleum Club dining room in the Strater Hotel.

Please join the Gallery Association, September 15, from 5 pm until 9 pm for the Annual Fall Gallery Walk!

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