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Our Story

Walnut St. Gallery and the Art of Rock and Roll®

In June of 1989, we, Bill and Laura Eveleigh, opened the Walnut Street Gallery. We chose a spot in the renovated beautiful Old Town Square in Fort Collins, Colorado, surrounded by retail shops, restaurants, and outdoor concerts.

From the beginning, our main objective for the gallery was to bring nationally and internationally known contemporary artists to the Fort Collins community.

Our opening show was with Vance Johnson, a figurative painter, in the style of 1980s icon Patrick Nagel. He also happened to be one of the wide receivers for the Denver Broncos. The opening was a huge success. 

Within a month of the gallery’s opening, we began an unexpected and interesting journey. In July, while reading an art trade magazine, we ran across an ad looking for galleries to represent an artist named Ron Wood, a classically trained artist from the Ealing School of Art in London. 

Like Vance Johnson, Ron Wood had another high-profile career other than art. He happened to be the guitarist for the Rolling Stones! We immediately started representing his works and soon garnered the designation of one of the top-selling galleries in the US and Canada. 

One day, I spoke to my aunt Susan and told her of our success in selling Ron’s art. She was intrigued by what we were doing—showing art created by people with multiple talents—and suggested I should call her old friend, Baron Wolman.

In the early 1960s, Aunt Susan lived in Berlin and was married to a German architect. Her husband, Reinald, was at a café one day and sat next to an English-speaking man. Reinald turned to him, introduced himself, and asked him if he was from America. 

Vance Johnson
Baron Wolman and Henry Diltz

The gentleman responded yes. Reinald quickly replied, “You must come to dinner tonight. My wife is from America and is so homesick; she would love to speak English with someone!” Baron joined them for dinner, and from that day forward, the three were very dear friends.

At the time, Baron worked in the counterintelligence program in Berlin, assigned to photograph the construction of the Berlin Wall for the United States Army. Eventually, Baron, Reinald, and Susan all ended up back in California in the late 1960s, and that is where Baron met freelance writer Jann Wenner. 

Jann related a project idea to Baron and asked if Baron wanted to participate. Jann envisioned creating a news magazine about contemporary music, politics, and popular culture; he called the new publication Rolling Stone Magazine and invited Baron to be his chief photographer. 

Baron said yes and spent the next three years chronicling music across the country. From Woodstock to the Summer of Love, Baron captured the essence of the music and the scene with his camera lens.

At my aunt’s suggestion, I called Baron, who I had known since childhood. I asked if he would be interested in dusting off his negatives and being part of a cutting-edge art exhibit I was planning for the fall of 1989. 

He reluctantly agreed, and we created a joint show with Ron Wood’s paintings and Baron’s photographs from the Rolling Stones days. The show sold out, and a new genre of art was born, representing imagery created for and inspired by rock and roll music. The Art of Rock and Roll™ entered the world. 

Following the success of the Ron Wood and Baron Woman exhibition, we needed an idea for a new show. Since high school in New England, Bill Eveleigh had been a devoted Dead Head. So, it was a natural progression to create an art exhibit focused on the visual imagery of the Grateful Dead. 

Once this decision was made, we contacted photographers and album cover artists associated with the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia was producing his own art at that time, so we got in touch with his art representative. A collaborative art exhibit displaying all aspects of the Grateful Dead’s image was born. The following artists were part of the collective show:

  • Jerry Garcia – Painter and Lead Singer for the Grateful Dead
  • Baron Wolman – Photographer
  • Herb Greene – Photographer
  • Jay Blakesberg – Photographer
  • Lisa Law – Photographer
  • Stanley Mouse – Album Cover Artist
  • Alton Kelley/Stanley Mouse – Album Cover Artist
  • Victor Moscoso – Album Cover Artist
  • Phil Garris – Album Cover Artist
  • Michael Everett – Album Cover Artist
  • Rick Griffin – Album Cover Artist
Herb Greene and Bill
Carlos Santana and Bill Graham "Santana '69"

Because this was a new gallery genre, we decided to go directly to the people naturally drawn to the art versus waiting for the art to be discovered and took our art show on the road. Every time the Grateful Dead toured the country, an Art of Rock and Roll™ exhibit showed in the cities where they played.

Every event was attended by one or more of the artists and photographers. They met the fans and personalized the art. The artists’ personal stories told during the shows fascinated the collectors. The publishing end of the business grew out of the traveling shows because of the need for moderately priced posters to balance the more expensive prints.

At one of the exhibits, we met Jorge Santana, the brother of Carlos Santana. We became fast friends with Jorge. One day Jorge told Carlos he must see the art, so Carlos attended an exhibit in Denver, Colorado.

Carlos was hooked and asked us to create a print that paid tribute to the late Bill Graham. So, we contacted Baron Wolman, who happened to photograph Bill Graham and Carlos on stage at Woodstock. After combining two different images, we created a print that Carlos and Baron signed. Bill had passed, so his signature was silkscreened on the print. It was a fabulous tribute to Bill and Carlos!

Shortly after completing the Santana project, we received a call. It went something like this: “Hey, my name is Michael Jensen, and Carlos told me to give you a call. Do you know who John Entwistle is? He is interested in you publishing his art and distributing it around the world. Are you interested?”

And so, the relationship with John Entwistle—bass player for the Who—and his colleague, Cy Langston, began. From 1995 till his death in 2002, Walnut Street Gallery and the Art of Rock and Roll™ published and distributed John’s art to galleries and private collectors worldwide.

We also set up art shows in cities across the US that coincided with the Who world tours. On the day off between concert nights, John would show up, meet with collectors, and personalize the art for the collectors at the shows. These tours took place in 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002. After John’s unfortunate and shocking death in Las Vegas, the gallery continued to be the only outlet for John’s art, and to this day, curates all his remaining art.

In 1998, we received another interesting call from a woman named Gina Franano. She had heard about what the gallery was doing and wondered if we would travel to New Jersey and meet her client Tico Torres.

After several meetings, Tico hired us to publish and distribute his art to galleries and collectors around the world.  He did several successful shows at the gallery in Fort Collins and continues to sell his art through our online gallery.

John Entwistle

Throughout the years, the Walnut Street Gallery hosted exhibits with music industry photographers, album cover artists, and musicians, including:

  • Baron Wolman – Photographer
  • Carl Studna – Photographer
  • Ebet Roberts  – Photographer
  • Henry Diltz – Photographer
  • J Bloomrosen – Photographer
  • Kirk Anderson – Photographer
  • Paul Natkin – Photographer
  • Graham Nash – Photographer – Musician – Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • Bill Kreutzmann – Musician – Grateful Dead
  • Grace Slick – Musician – Jefferson Airplane
  • Jerry Garcia – Musician – Grateful Dead
  • Marty Balin – Musician – Jefferson Airplane
  • Michael Cartelone – Musician – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Carl Studna Photography

In the early 2000s, after having several successful art shows for Bill Kreutzmann, he asked us to take his art to the Rothbury Music Festival in Michigan. The exhibit was adjacent to the main stage, and the Dead were headlining; it was three full days of a captured audience. Again, it turned out to be a hugely successful venture for the gallery and artist alike! 

As we toured the country with the musicians and their art, a large merchandise, poster, and gift collection emerged and was added to the gallery repertoire.

Since 1989, the gallery has always maintained an alter ego. From 1989 through 2012, it represented the art of Dr. Seuss and contemporary artists Todd White, Rod Johnson, Jeffery Berryman, and Eyvind Earl. 

In 2012 we closed the Walnut Street Gallery’s retail store and stopped traveling. However, we still maintain the Art of Rock and Roll™ as an online gallery. To borrow the title of the Grateful Dead’s song, “What a Long Strange Trip it Has Been.” 

And it continues to be a wild ride!

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Good music comes out of people playing together, knowing what they want to do and going for it.