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427 E Colorado Ave
Colorado Springs, CO, 80903
United States





Cottonwood Center for the Arts is proud to present An Artist’s Story Found, an exhibit of paintings by Robert McClain.

McClain was born in Colorado Springs February 13, 1931 and lived throughout the country and in Europe over the span of his lifetime, returning to the Springs at various points. He worked as a teacher, writer and an artist, setting aside time for two hours each day to paint. Pivotal to McClain’s story is his private life, much of which was spent struggling with the fact that he was gay. Deeply spiritual and yet unable to speak with his religious family about himself openly, McClain’s conflict of identity caused him great strife.

Still, he painted what he found beautiful, portraits of men from magazines and ads, as well as friends. It wasn’t until he was 48 years old that McClain came out, and truly embraced the life he knew was true on the inside.

McClain is now deceased, and when his house in the Springs was emptied, neighbors found a vast number of paintings as well as McClain’s diaries (excerpts below), correspondences and detailed records of his works, paintings and letters. With no relatives to claim them, they eventually found their way to Cottonwood, where the staff decided that the paintings should be displayed.

“The posthumous voice of an artist reminds us to pay attention when and while we are here. Presenting this show for Bob McClain is an honor for all of us, but our preference would have been to know and acknowledge him during his life,” says Cottonwood executive director Jon Khoury.

The curated collection will be for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting local LGBTQ organizations.