A stroll through Cherry Creek North provides boundless opportunities to pop in and out of specialty shops, clothing stores and restaurants. Numerous galleries also await fans of the fine arts, making the posh streets of the southeast Denver neighborhood one of Colorado’s best art scenes. Thousands of residents visit the well-known Cherry Creek Art Festival, but regular visitors can experience a festival-like offering every day of the year. Browsing Cherry Creek can be casual window shopping, but wandering into Fascination St. Fine Art will be no short trip. The esteemed gallery in the heart of Cherry Creek is truly a fascinating experience.
While the gallery’s entrance on 3rd Avenue is a welcoming storefront, the official address of Fascination St. is 315 Detroit St, just around the corner. Alice Crandall, the senior gallery director, explains the gallery recently went through an expansion uniting three stores in “a year-long process to design and develop the spaces, including the addition of the dedicated frame shop.” The dual entrances and multiple rooms are just the first hints of the gallery’s vast store of paintings, giclees, sculptures, drawings and more.
Entering the gallery from Detroit Street, the adventure begins with the vibrant works of painter Mario Jung, whose color landscapes such as “Shine Bright” create a three-dimensional explosion of color and texture with determined and deliberate palette knife work. Nearby, Ancizar Marin’s balloon sculptures draw visitors into the gallery with intriguing colors, textures and messages like the amusing “Balloon with Business Lady.” Just up the stairs is an extensive display of the whimsical sculptures from Carlos and Albert, a collaborative team whose creations are imaginative cartoon-like animals in an array of poses, including a cast of animals on safari on a bus taking pictures. A new addition to the gallery’s lineup, Crandall said “their work is incredibly popular, and we’re importing a ton of their pieces,” satisfying the diverse interests of their clientele. Describing their work as “bright, eclectic, whimsical and fun,” she also noted the variations in size and complexity appeal to numerous collectors.
A visit to Fascination St. Fine Art is always a welcoming experience with a perfect balance of professionalism and familiar comfort. In business for nearly 30 years, and at their current location for 20, Crandall describes the gallery’s long-established presence on Denver’s vibrant scene as offering “a thoughtful blend of the traditional and the contemporary, always seeking fresh, new artistic voices” to add to their impressive roster. “While landscapes are always popular, it’s important to know what’s hot on the market,” she said, whether that’s innovative still lifes or explorations in abstract naturalism. For example, fans of wildlife art may be intrigued by the unique creations of Robert Bissell, whose unique texturing of paint creates intriguing scenes of nature. Bissell’s piece, “The Buffalo,” featuring a polar bear swimming through a seemingly tropical underwater scene, is a worthy conversation piece for both subject and brush techniques.
Fascination St. has a long history and dedicated staff, with Crandall being there 15 years, and gallery employees like William Ninivaggi working the gallery’s floor as welcoming hosts to an ongoing and seemingly endless display of art for nearly any taste and budget. William’s enthusiasm for the art is charming, almost giddy at times, as he shares insight into specific pieces, like the giclee work of impressionist Michael Flohr. Yet, his knowledge of the artworks and each artist’s unique style also reveals a thoughtful professional who simply loves talking about art.
In the center of the gallery, uniting the two storefronts is an inviting showroom featuring the mesmerizing sculptures of Boris Kramer. The nameless, faceless figures evoke the beauty of movement and honor the human form in dance or personal connection. In fact, his piece entitled “Embrace” is impossible to ignore, both sensual and comforting. The stainless steel versions are sleek and inviting, capturing light from all angles and centering the room. What makes the gallery experience and this room engaging is how from various points the stainless steel sculpture captures and reflects the striking oil paintings of artists like Gleb Goloubetski, whose massive impressionist piece “Night in the Big City” is stunning on the wall and equally intriguing reflected in Kramer’s stainless figures.
Fascination St. regularly hosts receptions featuring its artists, and the gallery recently welcomed exquisite oil painter Henry Asencio, who is billed as “a master of painting the female form.” Asencio’s portraits have a breathtaking effect in how they capture figures and movement, blending realist and impressionist styles. During Asencio’s reception, Crandell explains, he demonstrated his techniques, interacting with visitors, describing his vision as reflecting “solace in the midst of chaos.” Two upcoming events feature artists Michael Flohr on March 18 and 19, and Thomas Arvid on April 8 and 9. The fresh, exciting cityscapes and restaurant scenes of Michael Flohr fill another room in the gallery with unique giclees as well as oil originals. Across the room, Randall points out the wine collection still lifes of Thomas Arvid. His “photorealism is so detailed you catch subtle reflections in the glasses,” and you almost want to reach into the frame for a glass of cabernet.
Denver’s vibrant art scene is spread across numerous neighborhoods, and Cherry Creek North remains a key scene art aficionados should frequent. While the area has been described as the “Rodeo Drive of Denver,” Crandall sees Fascination St. as a gallery where “there is truly something for everyone, even a college kid looking for some eclectic piece for his dorm room.” Maybe something like a Carlos and Albert sculpture. Popular with collectors as well as casual visitors, Fascination St. Fine Art is a gallery experience that will not disappoint, featuring artists and pieces you might never imagine would capture your fancy.
Fascination St. Fine Art is located at 315 Detroit St, Denver. It is open Monday – Wednesday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.