The Museum of Friends seeks to honor the artists who have freely given art to the museum's founders, thereby establishing its collection. The Museum's mission is to foster open inquiry toward cultural education and its ideals through exhibitions, public and educational programs, and an extensive public reference library, in addition to its permanent collection. It pledges to serve the state of Colorado as a cultural resource, and to create opportunities for the community of Walsenburg and Huerfano County.
MOF grew from the seeds of 1960's civil unrest, the Vietnam War and the efforts of counter-culture artists who were reinventing the purpose of art in society and the commercial gallery system. MOF is located in Huerfano County due to its founders' friendships with the artists who founded Drop City in 1964 and those who then founded the community of Libre. The Museum of Friends (MOF) was established in the historic Roof and Dick building in 2005. This building in the heart of downtown
Walsenburg, also the County seat, was chosen for its spaciousness and prime location. Both founders had a large collection of modern and contemporary art that needed room to be shown. MOF had a grand opening in 2007 to a ready and willing audience. Over 250 people attended that evening. Alys Romer owned the Fireside Café right next-door and generously participated in the event by providing appetizers and desserts. From that moment on there was an audience for art that addressed the rich history of Southern Colorado, a contemporary art collection, and socially engaging events in Walsenburg. Co-founders, Brendt Berger and Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger both worked in broad capacities in the arts. Both have backgrounds in developing the power of community and place and how encouraging change through education and civic responsibility impacts economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. When the museum first opened all of the collections were on the 2nd floor with a tenant on the ground floor. In 2010, MOF began showing changing exhibitions in that space as the tenant moved out. As we learned who our audience is (a unique Southern Colorado rural community with a rich history of migrations of indigenous peoples, the first settlers (ranchers,) immigrants brought here to mine coal and more recently the artists who relocated in the 1960's) our perception of how MOF's purpose in community changed. Building upon this understanding and with pride in Southern Colorado's Art History with the restoration of the Roof and Dick building MOF has created opportunities through historic preservation. MOF's art collections are also important to the area's tourism growth and to the national identity. By including the art history of Southern Colorado and the First Counter-Culture Museum in the United States into the lexicon, Walsenburg will improve economically and as well its quality of life. MOF intends to accommodate our audience needs by building capacity and creating a state of the art museum to house and protect its collections. The Roof and Dick building is a source of pride for Walsenburg. MOF continues to attract other investment and creatives to this unique place. The current challenge is to ensure that MOF continues to grow into the next decades with necessary support.
• Nancy J
We just stopped in for a peek and spent an hour. The reception could not have been warmer. This place is a gem. There is a great exhibit at the moment (Artists from the Libra Community) . The woman in charge, Maria, gave us a great tour plus background information on the area. A nice gift shop as well.
Best kept secret in small town Colorado. Changing collections on the main floor. Permanent collection upstairs should not be missed. Includes local and national artists.
I was tickled to stumble across this amazing collection of fascinating works right in downtown Walsenburg. Maria and Brendt are wonderful folks who are happy to show you around and have a chat about the many eclectic pieces that make up their museum. Highly recommend!...
Fantastic museum in Walsenburg; definitely worth taking the tour of the amazing upstairs gallery with a wide variety of national and international artists. Really cool space and friendly staff!
A fine collection of contemporary art in an unexpected place
A gem in southern Colorado. The Museum of Friends houses a large and significant collection of works by noted contemporary artists including painting, photography, and sculpture. Located in the historic Roof and Dick building in the center of Walsenberg, the first floor of the museum holds rotating exhibits and the second floor the standing collection in a light and airy space. Well worth a visit.
"Friends of the Museum of Friends" Save the Roof and Dick Building Art Sale and Exhibit" December 2nd through March 20th 2018
"Love this Place" D C I, Director, Denver
"This is awesome and wonderful" B C, Denver
"Really enjoyed the exhibit and the tour" J V Homecastle, England
"A real treasure for Walsenburg" M P Fox T, Walsenburg
"You have it!!!! Tres bien" J F, Walsenburg
• I came from Brazil for the "Drop City" exhibition to meet the artists which is a dream come true., Sao Paulo
• Grateful to have a communal art space and shop that shows the local talent to spark thought. AWESOME!, Gardner
• Thanks for much for the opportunity to work as an artist with you. You were wonderful., Walsenburg
• Amazing show, the "Drop City" photos were fascinating. Keep up the good work. La Veta,
• Lovely, cannot wait for the Friday Art Lab., Walsenburg
• The variety and beauty present in this collection is a beautiful haven in Colorado. Thanks for this unique opportunity. Colorado Springs.
• This museum is a breath of fresh air. Brendt & Maria are doing something very special here. Walsenburg is enriched by their presence. The Children's Art Program does amazing things. LOVE the garden boxes.
• What a wonderful visit!! We were meant to be here. We'll spread the world about MOF. Thanks for the wonderful and memorable time. New York.
• The exhibit was very amazing. Thank you very much for the information you provided, you provided excellent context., Denver
• Your planters are gorgeous. GOOD JOB!, Walsenburg
• The art class is fun., Walsenburg
• A beautiful place to visit. Am amazed with all the art. Will return to spend more time and bring friends. Pueblo.
• MOF was a most pleasant discovery. Aurora, CO.
• Thank you for such an amazing and diverse keep collecting! Denver.
The following comments were obtained from high school participants' evaluations of the "Criss Cross" and "Drop City" exhibition "School-Tour Program"
Evaluations from the School Tour Program, 2015:
1. This was my first visit to the Museum of Friends. After seeing the exhibits, I feel I'd be interested in a summer internship at the museum. I interpret the paintings as a reflection about being one person with your own identity, in something bigger that erases the individual person for the group. It also made me think of an exhibit I saw in the contemporary art center on a visit to Denver.
2. On my first visit to the Museum of Friends, the paintings woke my imagination and the sculptures made me see details. These exhibits are important because they are coming from people in Southern Colorado culture. It makes me see how things can be different. The paintings are trippy in some way just because of the designs. It causes you to think. I will probably visit the museum again because I really enjoyed the paintings.
3. This was my first visit to the museum and seeing the sculptures made me think of Greece. These exhibits are important to Southern Colorado because they put this part of the world on the map and they brought more attention to the area where I live. I may return for another visit.
4. On my first visit to the Museum of Friends, the paintings made me wonder what the artist was thinking about and the sculptures made me feel emotions. I didn't have a favorite work, but there was a lot of color and it made me feel emotions. I might return for another visit.
5. During this visit, the paintings made me feel dizzy and the sculptures made me confused. I think the exhibits are important because they bring tourists, they spend money, and our town gets better. This art draws attention to a small place. The paintings are full of shapes, it feels geometric. My favorite was the line paintings, it made my eyes hurt. I will be coming back again.
6. This was my first visit to MOF. When I saw the paintings, I tried to evaluate the technique and the sculptures made me wonder how the artist carved away at the material. I think the exhibits help establish a basis on the foundation of the art in the local area. By doing this, they give a deeper meaning with the background of present day creations. I interpret that the artists were more into patterns instead of other types of art. My favorite was the giant, colorful one with squares because I can appreciate the time put into it. I might come back.
7. My first visit and I think the exhibits are important because there unique to our culture.
8. I came to the museum before and the paintings on the 1st floor were interesting because they used shapes and colors to make the art. My favorite was the "One On One" because it messed with our eyes. I might come back again.
9. I've been here before and I will be coming back. The paintings made me feel appreciative and the sculptures make me wonder. They are important to Southern Colorado because they have history. They are important to me because they are art. I really liked the Richard Kallweit cardboard box. It was very abstract. I will come back again.
10. I liked my first visit to the museum. I think the exhibits are important to me because they show all the history that happened in Huerfano County. I really liked the cardboard box sculpture by Richard Kallweit and I'll be back.
11. I'd never been here before and the paintings made me feel excited. The sculptures made me feel motivated. I think the exhibits are important because they make me feel happy. The art on the first floor was exciting. My favorites were the landscapes that are real.