Almost a month after the theft of eight pieces of art on Feb. 24, Dan Drossman sounded fatigued. After fielding inquiries over the last weeks, the question of “why?” still lingered frustratingly. “I don’t know,” was all he could muster.
Drossman has spent his subsequent waking hours seeking updates from the detectives and searching for ways to recoup the value of the paintings to the artists, including asking for donations through the online donation site GoFundMe. A misunderstanding about the insurance specifics left the artists with no recovery funds. The loss was an extra sting, as the artists were all his former MFA classmates. The art was stolen from The Waiting Room, a gallery set up in the office building at 3258 Larimer St. The total value of the paintings was $27,000.
Drossman offered that the reality of having any art stolen is not usually something you assume will happen. According to what police discovered, this theft was premeditated and brazen, as the perpetrator risked being captured on video. There had been decent security measures at the building, but art theft, although random, occurs on many levels throughout the world. For example, it was reported on March 24 that six paintings were taken from a gallery in the Netherlands with similar insurance snafus. In 2016, at a renowned Moscow gallery, a painting worth $185,000 was taken right in front of visitors during the middle of the day, questioning the effectiveness of alarms and security guards.
Amy Norton, who was handling marketing for Drossman’s exhibitions, found it puzzling as to what benefit there was to the thief. “They can’t do much as far as resale, and although the art was high quality and the mostly east coast artists have their own following, there is not a great market for lesser known art.”
Drossman sought out the creative life in Denver after finishing school in New York City, realizing after a visit to Denver that there was a thriving art scene with “less buildings and more mountains.” He was invited in April of 2021 to create a rotating gallery space within the common spaces of the office building. He jumped at the opportunity, and had been successfully featuring local as well as out-of-town artists in the space for the last year. Since the theft of the art, he will no longer curate exhibits there. He is concentrating on recovering those pieces and working on his own artwork.
He is encouraging the public to be on the lookout for the stolen art. You can see all of the pieces online at thewaitingroomgallery.com and on Instagram (@thewaitingroomdenver).
If you have any information, please contact The Denver Police Department. If you’re interested in making a contribution, you can visit their donation page at gofund.me/2e4dbc92.