After a dozen years and hundreds of exhibits, Lauren Ciborowski will shutter The Modbo.
“It’s terribly bittersweet. I’ll miss it immensely,” she said. “I’ve shown so many artists, done every First Friday. I feel like we did a lot of great work. I’ve done everything I wanted to do.”
In 2009, she and Brett Andrus co-founded the little gallery in what’s now known as Arts Alley, a downtown alley off Bijou Street. Over the years they featured local, regional, national and international artists, including Rodney Wood and Byeongdoo Moon, and created a space that nurtured young and emerging artists, including Phil Lear, Lorelei Beckstrom, Lindsay Hand and Christian Medovich.
“A lot of artists in town you’re seeing got their start with us,” said Andrus, who owns gallery S.P.Q.R., Modbo’s next-door neighbor. “Lauren and I used to say if you’re looking at art in the city, chances are we had something to do with it.”
Ciborowski took over the space in 2017, and kicked off her solopreneurship with the exhibit “Lew(d) Tilley,” featuring the more salacious works of Tilley, a longtime Colorado Springs artist who studied and taught at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Art School in the 1930s and ‘40s. Her penultimate exhibit, “Vetted by Lew,” featuring an eclectic mix of the artist’s works, will open during First Friday Downtown and run through Nov. 20.
“It felt fitting to bookend it and have another one,” she said.
“Small Works Show,” the popular annual December exhibit featuring diminutive works, will close out The Modbo’s tenure.
“I’m really proud of the work she did when she took over, and the work we did as a partnership to elevate and escalate the art scene in the city,” Andrus said of Ciborowski. “We gave something to the community and gave something to artists to succeed. Modbo was a trailblazer in raising the bar and getting us away from the tourist art Colorado Springs was doing.”
Ciborowski’s August show confirmed her percolating desire to close. “My Scenery” featured works by Moon, an award-winning sculptor who moved his family to the Springs from South Korea in November after his Art on the Streets stainless steel sculptures received warm accolades from residents. Moon has since accepted a job in New York and relocated his family to the East Coast.
The show was a financial success, unlike any previous exhibit at the gallery. Ciborowski debated saving the profits for gallery rent or buying a significant piece of art. She opted for the latter and purchased Moon’s “You, Light as a Cloud,” the giant cat perched next to a snipe on a bench that resided near Boulder Crescent Park as part of the Art on the Streets 2018 exhibit. It’s the inaugural piece in a public sculpture garden at her Broadmoor-area home.
“I love First Fridays,” Ciborowski said, “and gathering people and exposing them to art and creating conversations around art. I’m so glad I took that risk so many years ago with Brett. It’s been a fun, worthwhile ride.”
Contact the writer: 636-0270