Funky Monkey Pooh?

by Elisa Ingoldby

Love stories are the best, and everyone likes a good one. This love story happens to be about friends, family, art and bringing together the community of La Veta, Colorado. Funky Monkey Pooh is the brainchild of Mark and Tanya White and their son Matthew. Originally from Boulder, the family moved to La Veta five years ago.  Looking to make a buck at the farmers market when Matthew was nine and just learning how to cook, Tanya suggested Matthew sell his yummy chocolate treats and call them “Funky Monkey Pooh.” Having traveled to the jungles of the Amazon on backpacking trips, I guess Matthew’s treats looks like pooh?

Well the treats didn’t fly like monkeys, but the name stuck. The next adventure became buying a school bus and having a traveling art gallery to sell the chocolates. On display was Tanya’s art, as well as and her mother, Lone Ewing – originally from Denmark – and her unusual clay sculptures. Due to local restrictions with a business on wheels, the bus sat and so did the art, ideas and creative juices.

Enter John and April Buchschacher and their four artistic children; Savannah, Loralei, London, Scarlett who lived in Dallas with family roots to the La Veta area. Spring break of 2017, April and John rented Tanya and Mark’s house on Air BnB for a week. It was love at first breakfast. The couples and their children hit it off and all fell in love. Tanya and April shared their love of art, community and family. They became best friends instantly.

At the beginning of summer, Tanya and Mark had the opportunity to rent an open space when the local gym moved down the street. They jumped on the chance and decided if the market or a bus didn’t work, why not a studio. Finally, the “Funky Monkey” was born and they dropped the “pooh” in the bucket.

Looking for a lifestyle change, wanting different schools, more outdoors and an overall safer experience for their family, April and John planned to rent a home for the summer and find a place to live. The night before they left Dallas, Tanya called April and said, “Hey, I have some studio space, bring your painting!”

For most of that summer, Lone had a wonderful work space in the back and was working with her daughter and new friend April to show off their beautiful and unique art. Tanya and April put new meaning to finger painting. To watch these artists in action is not what anyone would expect. That, however, is what makes this studio different! The art gallery is their studio and they have live painting always happening. Whether it’s the artist themselves, children, or random people walking in to view their art.

After deciding to close shop for the winter, all art removed, the walls of the now newly bought building revealed a stunning original brick wall, tall ceilings with the old wood rafters and an exceptional, comfortable space to create and just be.

According to April, the Funky Monkey is a “Working Art Gallery,” with many missions in mind.  The Funky Monkey is a community gallery in which all ages are welcome to come and paint. Classes will be held and they have involved themselves in collaborating with other gallery spaces to provide the opportunity for the community to be involved and be creative. Such events as Wine and Canvas, Wine and Sculptor classes and well as jewelry making, art journaling, rock painting and art therapy. Tanya is a licensed social worker and therapist and is looking forward to helping people relieve stress, find their creative center and teach people how to flow in life, art and love.

The most unusual feature of this new gallery on Main Street in La Veta is besides another gallery to add to the local tour that happens every year in the summer, this gallery is where they DO art. They involve people to not just come in and buy their art or sit in their cozy furniture and use Wi-Fi, but to forget the computer, get your fingers in some paint and create!

The official grand opening was held May 26th with fun, food and friends all surrounding the threesome. Funky Monkey is open seven days a week, 10:00am – 7:00pm, three doors south from the famous Charlie’s Market! Drop in and get your fingers wet… at least it won’t be pooh!


From Pages 71 of our Summer 2018 Issue

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