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Unfolding Creativity

Innovative Sculptor Kevin Box's Profound Partnership with Boulder's SmithKlein Gallery

Article by Tony Firestine

Photography by Box Studio

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

With its rich history, diverse array of contemporary works and unwavering commitment to fostering artistic dialogue, SmithKlein Gallery on Pearl Street stands as a cornerstone of Boulder's artistic landscape. As the gallery celebrates its tenth year under its current ownership and looks forward to commemorating 40 years in Boulder, the partnership with sculptor Kevin Box stands as proof of their enduring devotion to promoting artistic innovation, meaningful relationships and community engagement. 

Starting with a fascination with Kevin Box’s unique approach to translating works of origami to sculpture, SmithKlein Gallery saw in him not only an exceptional artist but also a kindred spirit in their dedication to creating important alliances within the artistic community. Nathan and Ann Klein, SmithKlein Gallery’s owners, maintain a philosophy of nurturing essential relations with the artists they represent. "I recall seeing his work up at Loveland and being very intrigued with the idea of making bronze, steel, and aluminum look like paper," reminisces Nathan. This initial intrigue blossomed into a profound partnership and friendship, as they invested in Kevin’s work and embarked on collaborative ventures that transcended mere business transactions. "What we look for is not only talented artists but artists that we have a really strong connection with,” underscores Nathan. “Ultimately, in our business, these artists become our dear friends. They become like family." It is through these deep-rooted connections and collaborative efforts that SmithKlein Gallery continues to thrive as a guidepost of creativity in the Boulder art scene. 

Kevin Box explains the evolution of his artistic vision and the techniques he employs in his sculptures as an intentional design approach. "I definitely approached my work early on with a design/graphic problem-solving mind," says Kevin. “My uncle had a graphic design company that I interned at for a number of summers, and he introduced me to team problem-solving—attacking a visual communications problem with a group of designers… When seeking my creative voice as an artist I approached it in a similar way, trying different aesthetic approaches to tell similar stories, until I found the strongest one—the one you see now.” With collaboration lying at the heart of Kevin's artistic process, he goes on to explain that his art is a team effort from start to finish. "When I first pioneered the technique of casting paper into bronze," Kevin explains, "I was really pleased with my results... I also saw my own limitations and realized I wasn’t going to become an origami master overnight." Embracing this association, Box reached out to origami masters like Robert Lang and Beth Johnson among others, initiating partnerships that have yielded stunning works of art over the years.

ORIGAMI IN THE GARDEN, the monumental outdoor sculpture exhibition, stands at the forefront of Kevin's artistic repertoire, a testament to his collaborative spirit and innovative vision. Inspired by his wife Jennifer's dance education background, Kevin and Jennifer sought to expand beyond traditional gallery spaces, envisioning a traveling exhibition designed for botanical gardens to reach a broader audience. This ambitious endeavor, which showcases larger works not intended for sale, has graced over 20 botanical gardens across North America, inviting viewers to explore themes of transformation and interconnectedness through the beauty of origami. Coordinating such a vast exhibition poses logistical and creative challenges, yet for Kevin and Jennifer, the collective rewards outweigh the difficulties. With meticulous planning and hands-on installation, each step underscores the importance of teamwork and shared vision. Transforming origami into durable metal sculptures fit for outdoor display requires a delicate balance of artistry and craftsmanship, a challenge that Kevin embraces passionately. 

As Kevin Box’s work continues to captivate audiences across the country, he remains committed to spreading his message through his art. "You will see that peace is a common and repeated theme,” Kevin reflects. He goes on to explain the significance and importance behind the “unfolded” works that he creates to show alongside the “folded” sculptures, describing that he always requests two models from the origami artists that he works with “to reveal the sublime and mystical beauty discovered only by deconstructing the work.” Kevin explains further, “The complexity and beauty we see on the outside is eclipsed by what is found in the invisible realm of the inside. In life and origami. The mandalas, stars and otherwise spiritual imagery found in the unfolded origami is the most profound imagery to me. It more accurately represents the beauty found hidden within each of us and everything in this mystery of life we share." 

From his early days as a graphic designer to his current status as a renowned sculptor, Kevin Box's journey has been marked by a relentless pursuit of artistic excellence and pushing the boundaries of traditional artistic mediums. Through his innovative approach and his unwavering commitment to collaboration, Kevin continues to inspire audiences with his captivating creations, inviting viewers to explore the boundless possibilities of artistic expression. In describing his wishes for the viewers of his work, Kevin states, “We hope it’s beautiful to begin with, interesting to learn about along the way and inspiring in the end.” 

Experience Kevin Box’s work at SmithKlein Gallery in Boulder. For more information visit

Kevin and Jennifer Box’s ORIGAMI IN THE GARDEN book release will be held at SmithKlein Gallery in Boulder on May 25, 2004, and the ORIGAMI IN THE GARDEN exhibition will be held at The Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins from June 1 – November 3, 2024. For more information visit and

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