Art is more than just filler for a wall or a spot on a shelf. Each piece extracts a little bit of something from the artist, telling a story of some moment in time or some emotion evoked. And the best way to learn the story behind the art is to go to the source, to hear about the piece directly from the artist.
Meet the Artists Art Fair in Breckenridge connects purchaser with purveyor on an intimate level. With a mere 34 booths representing 33 artists, the event allows potential buyers to come face to face with the personalities behind the art, ask questions about each work and take it all in without being overwhelmed by tent after tent of blurring colors and patterns.
Local fine art photographer Todd Powell said he’s attended shows where there were hundreds of booths of art all clamoring for attention.
“We went to one in Denver a couple of weeks ago — after two blocks, my brain couldn’t even look at it anymore, and that is a big difference,” he said. “This show is less overwhelming, much more intimate; people can browse and check it out.”
Powell will show his traditional representational landscapes of Colorado and travel photography. He said that aside from his affiliation with the Summit County Arts Council, which sponsors the event, he chooses to be a part of Meet the Artists because it’s the right style and fit for the venue and community.
“I like smaller shows, and it’s less of an impact on all the businesses around it,” Powell said. “There’s been some contention about all the art shows and all the events because it draws away from the year-round people who have retail places. This event is a little bit different because it doesn’t have that much of an impact. … It’s not overwhelming; it’s just nice. It’s the right format.”
Photos, paintings and more
Meet the Artists only accepts artists from within the state.
“The artists are all Colorado artists, doing a variety of work from watercolor and oil painting to recycled clothing, hats, shawls, photography, mosaics, glass and jewelry, of course — all individually made,” said Joanne Hanson, of the Summit County Arts Council. “There’s nothing mass produced, nothing from China — it’s all hand made by the artists who will be there.”
Many of the artists featured live and work in Summit County, Hanson said, or come from farther-flung areas such as Colorado Springs or Fort Collins.
“The big shows that come in with the huge booths are artists that come from all over the place and spend all their time doing shows, one after another every weekend,” she said.
Hanson will be showing her oil paintings in a booth shared with fellow painter Diane Johnston, who also is featured alongside Hanson at the Arts Alive Gallery in Breckenridge and the Cornflower Boutique & Gallery in Frisco.
“It gets me out there meeting people,” Hanson said of the art fair. “And they can see more of my work than they would see in the gallery because I generally have about 30 pieces there.”
A Breckenridge tradition
Meet the Artists has held down the calendar spot on the last weekend in June for many years, Hanson said. The event has become such a success that the Arts Council has added a new encore show this fall, slated for Sept. 7-8 at the Frisco Historic Park.
Hanson said some of the booths will house the same artists in both summer and fall, and some will be different.
“The artists will be there with all their work,” she said. “(Shoppers) will be able to look around and buy whatever it is that they want for their second home or souvenir from their trip or whatever they want to do.”
Pairing faces with names and delving beneath the surface of artistic pieces helps art collectors establish a stronger connection with the works they are buying and the artist who makes them. Meet the Artists helps to strengthen that bond and make art more meaningful to all levels of buyers.
“It’s a great way to spend a weekend in Breckenridge,” Hanson said.