Help for small-town artists comes as single tourist buys out entire Glenwood Springs art show

Posted at 8:00 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-19 00:45:34-05

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — In a year that’s been difficult for an entire small town, a single tourist changed the fortunes of many of Glenwood Springs’ struggling artists.

“This has been a tough year for everyone,” local artist Nancy Martin said.

Martin is a member of the Glenwood Springs Artists Guild, an organization of mostly amateurs.

“The majority of us have seen zero, most of us have seen no sales this year,” guild president Sandy Boyd said.

With less tourists visiting town and many people staying home, when the organization put on its fall art show earlier this year, the expectations weren’t very high.

“I would be surprised if we had sold over a dozen,” Boyd said. “If we had sold 5 or 6 I would have thought that was a good amount.”

The show had between 20 and 22 artists, some hoping for their first sales of the entire year.

“Which is why, you know, we were grateful for Jimmy,” Nancy Martin said.

Jimmy was a walk-in visitor to the art show.

“A very nice gentleman from Texas,” Sandy Boyd described.

The rare tourist and his family looked around at the 100 or so pieces of art, and then something happened.

“He bought all four of my pieces,” artist Jane Lee said.

“All of what I brought were purchased,” Nancy Martin added.

“He bought the whole thing,” Sandy Boyd said.”He bought all the pieces in the show.”

The financial advisor, who wanted to stay anonymous, bought every single piece of art in the show.

“Unbelievable,” Jane Lee said. “I’ve heard of single artists selling out their show of course, but to have someone walk in and carte blanche the whole show, it’s unbelievable.”

“It was about $12,500,” Sandy Boyd said.

After returning to Texas, the man wired the money, and each artist was paid out individually. The guild did not keep any of the proceeds.

“I mean, does it get any better than that?” Nancy Martin asked.

The generous buyer told the artists that he liked giving personal gifts, and planned on giving their works as gifts to family and clients as gifts this Christmas. He planned on keeping a select few for his own family.

“He was a wonderful man and a godsend on a day when a lot of people were needing a big boost,” Martin, who doubled her yearly sales that day, said with a smile.

A single gesture, to help paint over the struggles of 2020.

“He was a gift, a gift to many, many people,” Jane Lee said.

“He did a terrific, kind, memorable thing for a small town group of artists and we will remember him forever,” Sandy Boyd added.