Meet the Artists invokes mixed reviews from event participants |

Meet the Artists invokes mixed reviews from event participants

BRECKENRIDGE – Meet the Artists was either a bust or a blessing – depending on the artist’s perspective.

The event, sponsored by the Summit County Arts Council (SCAC), took place Saturday and Sunday at the Riverwalk Center. About 30 local and regional visual artists displayed works while local performers entertained audiences and authors held booksignings.

“It could not have been any better,” said watercolorist Lana McCleary, who won first overall in the show this year and Best of Show last year. “I’m getting a following, and it’s wonderful.” More than 100 people she knew showed up to support her and buy artwork, and she made numerous contacts for future business. Other artists had a similar experience.

“It’s been wonderful,” artist Bonnie Norling Wakeman said. “I think the show is much better because it’s smaller and more intimate. I think the talent is so amazing in this county.”

The number of visual artists displaying work at Meet the Artists has decreased since the SCAC decide to focus on showcasing local and regional artists. However, the SCAC also brought in local performers, including a collaboration with the Backstage Theatre, which presented “Lies and Legends: The Music of Harry Chapin” Saturday night.

“We want to be a locals show,” said Jan McKim, president of the SCAC. “It’s very important for us as a whole to form this type of event. There’s no one else doing that collectively.”

However, for the event to generate more traffic, McKim and other artists believe it should be held in the summer, rather than on a shoulder weekend.

“The third week of August was the best ever, but this is the only weekend the town of Breckenridge is offering to us,” McKim said. “We need a weekend that we can expose our local artists (to a wider audience).” For Jolanta and Charles Weber, who brought in local authors, the weekend was disappointing.

“This is definitely slower than ever,” Charles Weber said. “Just that people weren’t coming through, and if they were, there wasn’t very much to keep them here.”

“The different format with local artists cut down a third of the number of artists (usually present),” Jolanta Weber said. “We might as well be in our store. It would be better to have it earlier in the summer. Three years ago, (the event started) later in the year. Gradually, it’s been getting less exposure.”

Both Jolanta and Charles Weber agreed this year’s traffic and sales were the worst in their seven years of participation, despite the same amount of publicity. Silverthorne artist Dale Montagne said he also believed the date decreased traffic, noting he saw double the amount of traffic when the event was in August.

The SCAC plans to hold more events, in addition to Meet the Artists, to expose local artists throughout the year. The council welcomes all artists – visual or otherwise – to participate. For more information, call SCAC at (970) 453-0450.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

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