When I stopped by Walker Fine Arts Gallery during the first week of the new year, they were busy setting up for their "2013 Year in Preview" Exhibit which opens Friday night, January 11, 2013. Owner, Bobbi Walker, was there orchestrating the process as she always does when she brings in a new show by re-painting and spackling the entire gallery to start anew once again. Bobbie not only is completely in command, but organized and focused as she attends to every little detail of creating a perfect customer experience.
Bobbie Walker cuts through the clutter and is on the money when it comes to contemporary art in Denver. Her gallery which is located just four blocks from the Denver Art Museum in a “captivating, Golden Triangle loft-style space," features original contemporary art through multiple mediums. Walker's themed exhibitions, show an emphasis on sculpture, mixed media, and experimental photography from regional, national and international mid-career artists. A group exhibit of new work by "anchor artists" is always on display on the back half of the 3,800 square foot gallery at 300 West 11th Avenue #A (website: www.walkerfineart.com).
A fearless leader and an astuit business women with previous technology sales experience, Walker has had staying power and wisely rode out the waves of several economic downturns to find herself still in the game. She’s a visionary of sorts and knows what works well for her gallery. A stroll through the Walker Fine Arts Gallery provides guests and clients with an unparalleled experience of discovery through the gallery's quality exhibits and events and on-going educational programming.
Mark M. Tamer, PhD and executive coach, facilitator and designer of communication and leadership workshops of all levels worldwide is a big Walker fan and says: "Bobbi owns the best art gallery in town. Art is her passion, and you'll find it in every detail of her work. Her monthly art openings are creative and entertaining. Whether it is art for your business or home, I highly recommend Bobbi Walker and Walker Fine Arts."
Once you get Bobbie away from the gallery, she loves to get together with (as she calls them) her "Denver Urban Tribe" and attend various social and nonprofit events. Carmel Koeltzow, a member of Walker's "tribe" - and one of our favorite Blacktie "Have You Mets" - made this glowing comment about her friend: "The radiant Bobbi Walker embodies a rare combinations of tenacity and grace. She is a passionate community leader, brilliant businesswoman - and ever devoted friend."Bobbie Walker is a responsible, reliable voice for the Denver art scene today and represents Denver well to all the visitors who come through her gallery. For sure she should be proud of what she has accomplished in the last 10 years; and my bet is she will be around for at least another 10 more!
How did you develop such a love of the arts? My mother, who was an art teacher, took me to an art museum for my 6th birthday. I remember everything about that day down to my black patent leather shoes! I painted and drew under her tutelage throughout middle school, but in high school focused primarily on creative writing and poetry. In college I studied business, but in subsequent business travel, I would book hotels in the arts districts of each city so that I could carve out an afternoon to study the gallery business. After 8 years of technology sales, and consistent travel to all major national markets, my long term goal became a reality when I opened Walker Fine Art in 2002.
You have had a long history of leadership in the Denver Arts community, what is your current focus? I was recently appointed by Mayor Hancock to the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. We are currently working on a Strategic Cultural Plan for Denver. I am very energized by this opportunity to be a part of the creation of a living document that will help our city.
You have so many other interests and passions outside of the art world, can you mention a few? Back-country hiking and skiing, sailing and scuba diving, wine and fine dining, Indie films, live music, literature and poetry.
When you were a young girl, what famous woman did you wish you could grow up to be like? Amelia Earhart.
Are you always so happy and upbeat as you are when you are out in public? I have to agree with Abraham Lincoln that: “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” One thing that always works for me is when attending any event, I try to identify the most interesting person in the room and then introduce myself.
You have served on several boards and committees through the years, can you mention a few? Served on past Boards and current member of the Golden Triangle Association and Golden Triangle Museum District. Past President of the Denver Art Dealers Association for 3 years. Currently, Young Associates member of the Denver Art Museum (DAM), and on the Board of the DAM Contemporaries. Member of the DAM Culture Haus, Design Council, and Asian Art Association. Heart Club member of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA). 1944 Society member of the Clyfford Still Museum. Member of the Colorado Business Community for the Arts (CBCA), Arts for Colorado, Visit Denver, the Denver Film Society, and Redline.
What do you consider your best trait? Integrity.
What is a habit you wish you could break? I used to say that I had only one speed, full-throttle. But I am working on some new gears.
We all love Summer, but what do you like about Winter? That last, perfectly graceful tele turn in the crisp, blue- sky silence of the back country right before I crash.
Most people as busy as you run out of energy. How do you step up your game when you need to? I have learned that the only way to rev up is to schedule some downtime. My meditation usually involves speed, some type of physical activity outdoors. Whether it’s in the mountains or on urban walk-about, I love exploring.
What inspires you to become involved with an artist? A drive for technical excellence, combined with spiritual connectedness, and intellectually curiosity. All culminating in a fresh approach to sharing their heart and art.
What are your favorite words of wisdom or a favorite quote? “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.” Anais Nin
What do you consider your own personal style? Art mafia, where black is always the new black.
What is your greatest fashion indulgence? Velvet.
What have you purchased that you will never part with? The chandelier I recently installed in my grandmother’s house.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Providing a forum for artists to do what they were sent to this planet to do.
You wear the coolest clothes! Where do you like to shop? I love Mariel’s and Common Threads.
With so much emphasis on youth and looking young these days, how does a woman in her 40's, 50's - and up - stay involved, viable and appreciated? I feel strongly that you more effectively address any of the issues as you age, and learn more about yourself and your reason for being here. To have the energy to stay involved, I believe you have to keep yourself healthy mentally and physically. To stay viable, you have to keep yourself current by staying on top of trends, movements, and changes in our community and world issues. To keep yourself appreciated, you have to continue to give more than you take, treating others with empathy and compassion. Work in Progress.
What do you think of the people involved in the arts here in Denver? I am blown away on a continuing basis with the level of talent and energy that we have the great fortune of having in Colorado to propel our cultural community forward. Whenever we try to contrast our city’s cultural programming with others nationally, we seem to stand out as a leader conceptually and in implementation. Perhaps our biggest challenge is communicating this strength to the general public. Buying art in other cities does little to support this fantastic infrastructure.
What's in the future for Bobbi Walker? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? I see myself traveling more internationally, taking more time off to expand and grow intellectually. I’m quite sure there’s a sailboat on the horizon!
If you could go back 25 years, what advice would you give yourself? To not sweat the small stuff and be in the moment. Life is unfolding as it should, and swimming upstream is not the most efficient use of energy!
What do you want to be remembered for? That I left the world a better place with healing art, and a better understanding of the importance of beauty in our lives.