ROCK SPRINGS — The Community Fine Arts Center is featuring the artwork of brothers Bob and Dave Gutierrez in November and December. These artists are well known residents of southwest Wyoming and will welcome visitors at their opening reception on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 5 to 7 p.m.
“We are so fortunate to have talented individuals in our community,” said Debora Soulé. “Many folks have told me they remember being a student or co-worker of either Bob or Dave and are looking forward to seeing their art.”
Bob Gutierrez has spent almost all of his life living and working in Wyoming. After graduating with an art education degree, Bob started his career teaching at Rock Springs Junior High. Students still remember his hands-on approach to teaching art, and the community remembers him for the artwork he completed for individuals and establishments in town. A
fter his start in Rock Springs, Bob continued his career in education in towns across Wyoming, including Kemmerer, Torrington, Riverton, and Farson. In between stints teaching, Bob, together with his wife Sherry, returned to Laramie to further their studies. In 1979, Bob earned an Education Specialist Degree and would “retire” as Director of Special Education for the Eden-Farson school.
All his life, Bob has had a particular fascination with Native-American art and handicraft. He started sketching all things Indian and crafting Indian costumes as a boy growing up in Reliance. During his early years teaching, Bob formed a group of Reliance boy scouts into an outstanding Indian dance troop. This traveling group gained a regional reputation. After earning his degree in Special Education, Bob would serve the Arapahoe School District as Director of Special Education. During this period, Bob would form a close connection with elders and other members of the tribal community. Once again, he formed a dance group for local youth, one that once again traveled widely to perform and earned a positive reputation in the process.
Along the way, Bob turned his skill in Indian handiwork into a thriving business. Mostly by word-of-mouth, he has established a broad customer base. He has created beautiful bead and quill work, headdresses, shirts, dresses! You name the Indian artifact, and Bob knows how to create an authentic replica. Bob’s historically accurate work and costumes have appeared in Hollywood movies, and he has been commissioned to recreate certain period pieces for museum displays. A good example of Bob’s expertise is a book he has written on an unusual subject. If you are interested in how to paint turkey feathers to resemble eagle feathers, you might pick up his title. Since his retirement from teaching, Bob continues to complete commissions from clients across the nation in his studio in Atlantic City, Wyoming.
Bob has been a widow since he lost his wife Sherry in an automobile accident. His grown son Bobby Gutierrez lives with his wife Suzanne in Los Angeles. Bobby and his wife are actors. During his theatrical career, Bobbie has called on his dad on numerous occasions as a set painter and as a creative resource.
Dave Gutierrez is a Rock Springs native. He has spent most of his working life as an educator, first as a high school teacher (including two separate stints at RSHS) and later as a college bureaucrat and adjunct instructor at WWCC.
Mid-career, he enrolled in a two-year program in Graphic Arts/Advertising Design. Subsequently, Dave worked as a graphic designer/art director in Denver, Colorado Springs, Cheyenne, and Kansas City. Since coming back to his hometown, he developed and taught for 22 years a popular course in Graphic Design at WWCC. To this day, he continues to work as a freelance graphic designer for various local clients.
Dave Gutierrez came to photography relatively late in life. Since his “retirement” eleven years ago, he has been out on the county’s dirt roads. He photographs our regional landscapes, and what he finds at hand, by the roadside. A good example is the series of photographs he has taken of the Reliance Tipple, which happens to be across the road from Dave’s back yard!
As a Reliance boy, Dave has a great love for our regional desert landscape. “Most visitors do not really give our landscape credit,” says Gutierrez. “Many see it as empty and flat, anything but beautiful, and, I guess, it can appear blank and flat under the noon day sun. But every native knows how suddenly the landscape can transform itself into a magical place. I know enough to really see and do homage to what’s before me, what’s right there by the roadside! And then, I just wait!”
Dave is active in our community. He is still teaching English courses at the college, and recently returned to in-person classes after isolating through the pandemic. Dave has been a key figure in the development of our local community theater, The Actors’ Mission. Dave has served on the board, acted in many of the troupe’s shows, and directed six productions himself.
The public is invited to the opening reception on Nov. 3 and visit to see this exhibit through Dec. 29 along with the permanent collection. A small gift shop of local artists’ work is also at the center and supports an annual scholarship for a Rock Springs senior student going to college.
The CFAC is a department of the Sweetwater County Library System and programming is supported by the City of Rock Springs. An extensive library on the arts is maintained by the CFAC for the public for research and checkout. The current center’s hours are Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 5 p.m.