Art community jumps on Summit’s creative buzz
November 11, 2004
BRECKENRIDGE – There’s a creative buzz in the High Country, and artists are using it to birth their dreams.The Summit County Arts Council (SCAC) opens a new, high-end cooperative gallery today called Arts Alive! at La Cima Mall in Breckenridge. It features work from SCAC members, as well as artists working daily in the gallery and studio.”We’ve been visualizing it for years and discussing it with La Cima Mall all year,” said Michael Adams, gallery director. “La Cima gave us a generous deal for a nonprofit and a beautiful space, so we jumped on it.”
About 20 artists have committed to the project so far, and Adams is looking for more.”Artists are coming to Summit County from all over the country, and there’s never been a real nice place where we could get together,” Adams said. “It’s a lonely business. But now a critical mass of artists has come together.”One of the unique aspects of the gallery will be the interactive element. Visitors can watch artists create their pieces daily. In addition, people can make ceramics with Ready, Paint, Fire! which will have a satellite space at the gallery.”That will be part of the whole spirit of the place,” Adams said. “The emphasis will be on demonstration arts. We’ll have a minimum of one artist working and a maximum of four. It will not only be where we are working but also a place where anyone can walk in and create something. It will also add to walk-in traffic.”The SCAC and other artists have tried to open cooperative galleries in the past – including locations at Copper Mountain, the Silverthorne Factory Stores and Frisco – but they haven’t found the foot traffic to support galleries.
“We found that unless we’re in where the maximum traffic is – in Breckenridge – I hate to say it, but it’s an uphill battle,” Adams said. “It’s an uphill battle even in Breckenridge. You need a certain constant flow of tourist traffic and locals.”The 1,700-square-foot space will offer ceramics, jewelry, paintings, wood pieces, bronze, marble sculptures and some wearable art in the front, as well as a studio where messier projects take place in the back.”One of our goals is to have something professional,” said Kate Hudnut, who is responsible for marketing and design. “Michael and Anyes Adams are putting money up front and trying to make it a top quality environment.”There’s a lot going on in the arts community right now. The Arts District stirred conversation among artists, but unfortunately, it’s a long-term plan, and it’s going to take awhile to get started. Four-fifths Gallery is a great party spot, but it’s not a great retail area. I don’t think your wealthy skiers are going to buy something there. John (Hudnut) and I have a studio in Frisco, but we don’t have a retail space with regular hours. So we started thinking about how we could promote local artists.”Artists must be members of SCAC to show their work. Involved members include nationally recognized landscape painter Barrett Edwards and abstract artist Karen Scharer, as well as known locals Dale Montagne, Robert Hoppin, John Hudnut and Jennifer Cram.
SCAC expects artists to either work or help manage the gallery whenever possible and offer some work related to themes, which will change every two months and include holiday spirit, art for lovers and rites of spring.”The art will be high-quality and diverse,” Adams said.The grand opening party for Arts Alive! will be from 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20. For more information, call (970) 453-0450.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.