Museum of Friends
The Museum of Friends (MoF), located in the historic “Roof and Dick” building in the heart of downtown Walsenburg, is a Contemporary Art Museum incorporated in 2007 by artists Brendt Berger and Maria Cocchiarelli. The museum’s name stems from the fact that the initial 500-piece collection of paintings, photographs, and sculptures were gifts to Brendt and Maria from friends. Today, friends and new artists continue to donate their work, expanding the permanent collection to over 1,600 works of art.
Today, the museum is a publicly held cultural amenity in process of a major capital rehabilitation plan scheduled for completion in 2020 and includes an elevator to the second floor. MoF remains open during the construction work and offers changing art exhibits, a permanent collection, a locally sourced museum gift shop, and workshops and classes for children and adults running year-round. Tours of the permanent and changing exhibits are offered daily.
Cool Fact: One very unique part of the collection, housed in what is known as The Pacific Rooms, includes items related to Brendt Berger’s Hawaiian ancestry as well as other items collected from the Pacific Rim.
The museum, considered the only counter-culture museum in the U.S., also offers on-site and outreach educational programs and a reference library.
About Brendt Berger and Maria Cocchiarelli Berger
The two have long and varied backgrounds as productive artists, art educators, and curators. Maria was the former curator for the Mark di Suvero Foundation and the University of Wyoming art department and was the director of education at the Kansas City Art Institute and Queens College in New York.
Brendt was an early participant in the Libre artists community in southern Colorado and a similar community in Maine. He taught for many years from Mexico to New York and was a member of San Francisco’s Breakfast Group—a collection of well-known artists in the Bay Area.