Bob Campagna’s new gallery which opens this Friday is not a goodbye to his longtime home, but a love letter to the place he has called his home for so many years.
Longtime Loveland and Western US photographer Campagna will open “Fare Well, Dear West” at the Artworks Center for Contemporary Art in Loveland.
Campagna said he moved to Iowa last May, but knew he couldn’t say goodbye to the west or to Loveland in general. He said this was especially the case as one of the founding artists of Artworks.
He said the plan was to open the gallery right after he moved, but the severity of the pandemic forced him to wait until the end of the year. However, he was able to start installing the gallery on Tuesday morning.
Campagna said that despite leaving the state, he knew he couldn’t leave behind the American West or the city he lived in for 13 years and taught for 20 years. He also said he couldn’t say it would be his last gallery, just a love letter to the West.
“They can’t totally get me out of Artworks,” Campagna said, smiling broadly.
Campagna said when she returned to Loveland on Monday it was an emotional drive through town.
“(I saw) the places that I haunted and the places that have disappeared or changed,” he said.
The gallery consists of photos from Campagna’s 40 years of work, many of which are photos of a wide variety of his standard black-and-white images of the west; majestic glimpses of nature and civilization.
Along one wall there will be hundreds of photos of people Campagna has met on her travels and a brief story about each one, putting a face to the black and white places around them.
However, among the black and white images there are several color images, some aligned to create a flow between each photo and some even edited in Photoshop to bring a psychedelic vibe.
“I didn’t want to be seen as doing the same old same old,” he said.
A selection of framed photos, titled “Joi de Vivre” or “Joy of Life,” shows color photos of the Loveland area and northern Colorado. Photos include the interior of Dickens Alley, the Besson Sculpture Park, and even the artwork themselves.
“That’s what I like about the region,” he says.
Campagna said he’s not sure what effect the pandemic will have on artist lectures or galleries, but he hopes the community comes out to check out his work.
The gallery will open on Friday (October 8) with a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will be open until November 27. Campagna will also be holding an artists’ conference at 7 p.m. Thursday (October 7) at Artworks, 310 N. Railroad Ave.