My Office

By Susan Ison, Cultural Services Director~

I fear some people may experience sensory overload when they visit my office, especially for the first time. I’ve been in this space since the Museum expansion in 1992. In the ensuing years, I’ve done here what I do at home—filled the walls (and flat surfaces, too) with art. I have long ago reached the point where there’s (almost) no more room. If determined, I can always squeeze in more. But, practically speaking, I should be done since I’ve already moved a few things to the hall outside my office door. I’ve never counted until this moment, but I just counted 29 pieces that I can see from my desk chair. All of them conjure personal memories.

I would like to share a few with you:
Painted desk

detail of painted desk

This piece is by Mary Shivers, a Loveland painter. I originally saw it in a gallery in Denver. This artwork was an exception for her, as she usually paints on canvas, not on furniture. When the Museum expansion construction began in 1991, I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to have it in my new office. When you think about a piece of art again and again, it’s probably time to act. I got in touch with Mary and was delighted to discover it was still available.  I’ve embellished it with a few objects in the meantime—the ceramic donkey, which also came from Mary, and the “blue bear,” a replica of the one at the Denver Convention Center. I’ve been enjoying it for 23 years.


K'Nex portrait

About 20 years ago, we invited ten Loveland artists to create works out of K’Nex.  I had seen a number of exhibits using Legos and was intrigued by the idea of using K’Nex when I read an article about the newly-created company. I wrote to them asking if they’d be willing to donate materials for our artists. They were happy to do so. This piece is by Sheila Carrasco and titled American Icon. Sheila had recently returned from a trip to Russia and was inspired to create this piece from her experience with Russian iconography.


Cat figurine

In 2005, we had a traveling exhibit of ceramics by Picasso. Having art by Picasso is a big deal in any Museum. To celebrate the exhibit and to encourage local artist involvement, we invited Loveland artists to create pieces in a Piccaso-esque style for a complementary exhibit. This piece by Rosetta (not bronze, but Hydrocal) was one of those pieces. I love Rosetta’s style, and I’m a fellow cat-lover.


James Gardner portrait

The last piece is Self Portrait as Paul Gaugin by James Gardner, a friend since I began working at the Museum in the early 1980s. James, a native Lovelander, painted this piece in 1990. He has been living in Thailand for over 20 years. This piece is not technically mine, but it was given to me to keep in his absence. The gold leaf squares at the bottom of the painting were applied by a number of his friends.

Anyone who wants an office tour is welcome to stop by! There’s a lot more.

(In case you’re wondering—yes, I paid for them. We do not hang public art or items from the museum collection in our offices.)