A New Art Curator Brings Fresh Perspective to The Gallery at Mountain Shadows Resort
Mixed-media artist Cece Cole vows to turn The Gallery at Mountain Shadows into a world-class venue.
Art connoisseurs and novices alike are in for a visual treat as The Gallery at Mountain Shadows Resort presents a fresh lineup of exhibitions under the guidance of artist and entrepreneur Cece Cole. The Gallery, which debuted with the opening of the resort in 2017, first worked with curator John Reyes, who showcased the pieces of such artists as Fritz Scholder, Dorothy Fratt and Pedro Guerrero. “As our industry started recovering after the dip in business due to COVID-19, we were ready to bring on a new curator and once again feature exhibitions at The Gallery,” says Kristin Heggli, the hotel’s director of public relations and communications.
Three years ago, Cole and her husband, Gerd Wuestemann, moved from Lafayette, La., to Arizona when he accepted a position with Scottsdale Arts as its CEO. Cole, who has a master’s degree in fine art from the University of Iowa and received the prestigious Fountainhead and Virginia Commonwealth University fellowship award, is known for her mixed-media work and has exhibited throughout the country. A lifelong artist, she recently created an online platform called Good Company Contemporary, which offers limited-edition designs and collaborative projects.
When Mountain Shadows approached Cole for the curator role, she says it was the right time and the right place. “Throughout my career as an artist, I have curated exhibitions that included fashion, performance, video and installation. As a multidisciplinary and installation artist with an active studio practice, I enjoy arranging things and navigating architectural spaces. Curating is an extension of this process for me. My goal is to offer access to work that is accomplished and pushes boundaries.”
Cole’s first show this summer featured compositions and sculptural installations by internationally known contemporary artist Matt Magee—it was a big success. “I want to build on the joy, excitement and momentum of Matt’s exhibition. I am hoping to bring some level of arts activation through temporary and performative events that keep people coming back to the gallery,” she remarks. “In general, I believe it is the curator’s responsibility to maintain a critical eye and to stay true to the value system that guides us individually through the curatorial process.”
A people person at heart and a natural networker, Cole says there are so many artists that excite her but who are working under the radar. “I’m really keen on introducing both local and global emerging artists. Phoenix is a destination spot and having a steady stream of visitors at the resort means the work will be exposed to people from all over the country and the world,” she says. “I firmly believe that inviting artists from other places is vital to establishing Phoenix and the metro area as an arts destination.” Showings will change every two months and Cole is in the process of finalizing the schedule for the rest of the year.
For more information, see Sources.
During the pandemic, Cece Cole launched Good Company Art and Design, a multidisciplinary art and design studio, as well as an upcoming online directory and platform that features under-represented artisans with unique skill sets. “Our aim is to create new opportunities for local artists, designers and fabricators through a direct-funding scholarship program,” Cole explains. “Merchandise is designed in our studio and created specifically to raise capital that supports area micro-businesses.”
Cole’s company focuses on locally produced, limited-edition and small-batch manufacturing. Thirty percent of the proceeds are allocated to the scholarship fund, which supports grants for materials, tools and commissioned collaborative projects. (goodcompanyaz.com)