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97-year-old artist Gerda Rovetch helps Boulder art gallery thrive

Gerda Rovetch.jpg
Posted at 8:03 PM, Jul 14, 2021

BOULDER, Colo. — A local art gallery in Boulder is continuing to thrive after what seemed to be an impossible bounce-back during the brunt of the pandemic.

While the collages and paintings that hang on the walls are meant to inspire customers that visit the R Gallery and Art Bar, it was 97-year-old collage artist Gerda Rovetch that played a role in inspiring Rob Lantz to keep his gallery open.

"Just having the support of the artists and knowing how much it meant to them, it really helped me push through it and decide that I can't give up now," Lantz said.

"When I decided to open this gallery, [Gerda] was the first person I reached out to," Lantz said.

Gerda has lived in Boulder for more than 60 years. Her collages have become well known in the community.

But what inspired Lantz was in part, Rovetch's journey. She fled Nazi Germany with her family in 1938 when she was about 14 years old out of fear of persecution for being Jewish.

"I had a little suitcase, my sister had one, and we left forever," Rovetch said. "My mother had to decide what were the absolute essentials."

It was during those times of adversity where Rovetch would learn some of life's greatest lessons.

"During the flying bombs in London, things came every five minutes," Rovetch said. "There were sirens, then the 'all clear', then the sirens again five minutes later. To me, that has always been life — there will always be the 'all clear,' which you should enjoy it as much as you can because you know the sirens will go off again."

While many businesses like the R Gallery and Art Bar aren't in the "all clear" quite yet, it's sentiments like those that make the process of rebounding a little easier.