The idea of establishing an art gallery first came into Karla Winterowd’s mind in the late 1980s when Karla was studying studio art and art history at college. Her dream became a reality when she opened Winterowd Fine Art at 701 Canyon Road in 2004. The gallery celebrated its 15th anniversary. A fabulous new adventure for Karla is the opening of Kay Contemporary Art, her second gallery, just down the street at 600 Canyon Road.
“I jumped on setting up the gallery in this gorgeous, large Canyon Road space,” recalls Karla, who was the director of the former Karan Ruhlen Gallery at the time the building became available. “The structure is made out of nature’s materials-adobe, mud, dirt, brick and wood. My goal in establishing Winterowd Fine Art is to honor the space and the ancestry of the property by showcasing works with direct references to nature that are created by local artists.”
Among the distinguished New Mexico artists who have been showing their paintings at Winterowd Fine Art since its inception are Jamie Kirkland, Charlie Burk, Tom Kirby and Sarah Bienvenu. The gallery’s stellar sculptors include Santa Fe metal artist Gilberto Romero, Albuquerque glass artist Karen Bexfield and Santa Fe bronze artist Alex Watts.
“Winterowd Fine Art doesn’t just represent artists,” explains Karla, who displays styles from representation to abstraction. “We build deep, trusting relationships with our artists, providing guidance and helping them artistically stretch themselves. Acting as an extension of the artists’ studios, we understand the ideas and intentions behind the art-making process and are able to share this knowledge with our collectors. For more than half of our artists, Winterowd Fine Art is their only gallery.”
Karla’s unique background gave her all the tools necessary for being able to lovingly support her artists as well as provide the highest level of service to her clients. Karla grew up in Kansas City into a family of entrepreneurs. Her grandfather owned a machinery business. Karla watched her father create a tool business from scratch and helped him with some of the day-to-day operations while she was in high school. Hard work is in her blood.
Karla began her college studies at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, focusing on studio art and art history. She completed her undergraduate education at Brighton University in Brighton, England where she delved further into art history and sculpture.
“I explored theories and ideas in art which helped me understand the fundamentals of how to create work.” says Karla, who has always been interested in the concept of beauty. “But more than that, I honed a deep understanding of how to use tools and materials and what it takes to work at a high level of craftsmanship. I readily share what I know with my artists.”
Karla learned the nuts and bolts of running of an art business through her work experiences in Santa Fe beginning in the early 1990s. She managed an art foundry creating work for blue chip artists, was the studio manager for a glass artist and was the artistic director of Linda Durham Contemporary Art before assuming the helm at the Karan Ruhlen Gallery. Karla credits Durham and Ruhlen as important mentors.
“By the time I opened Winterowd Fine Art, I knew I wanted to connect with highly gifted artists who create works of beauty, need to be served and richly deserve the spotlight.”
Assisting Karla in her mission of bringing beautiful art to her clients are Rosanne Kadis and Jamie Garrison. Rosanne, who studied sculpture and painting at Carnegie Mellon University and earned a degree in Arts Education at the College of Santa Fe, has been an arts educator at SITE Santa Fe and New Mexico Museum of Art. Jamie did undergraduate work at Texas Tech University and earned a master of fine arts degree in mixed media and photography at the University of Texas in San Antonio.
“We’re a team,” says Karla about her relationship with Rosanne and Jamie. “It takes a team to fully serve our artists and collectors.”
For more information, visit fineartsantafe.com or contact the gallery at 505-992-8878.
Article by Emily Van Cleve