Second Saturday night special
December 7, 2005
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County arts scene can strut with a confident gait. Interest in area art is gaining momentum, and the Summit County Arts Council hopes its Second Saturday Art Walks will help both new and old galleries get up and running for the year. Now in their second season, the Frisco and Breckenridge Art Walks take pedestrians through more than 20 galleries on and near the main streets of their respective towns. Kate Hudnut, president of the Summit County Arts Council (SCAC), describes the event as a time for galleries to “spice it up a bit” by doing a special show or offering refreshments. Frisco’s Columbine Gallery is hosting a special evening with Kay Nagel, Colorado Springs-based landscape painter. Owner Bill Bickerson said he liked to “see some action” at the Art Walks and hopes a working artist will draw interest.Until 2006, individual galleries were responsible for Art Walk flair like Columbine’s visiting artist. The new year will see a more unified effort from the art community. A “Death by Chocolate” event is planned for February which will feature chocolate samplings in the galleries, and local musicians are scheduled to play throughout the year.
“This is an awareness thing,” Hudnut said. “We want to show people that you don’t have to drive to New York City to find nice art.”And Hudnut is well-qualified to compare Summit County’s art offerings to their big-city counterparts. She and her husband moved from Paris 15 years ago, and because of her exposure to the European art world, she had high expectations for Summit County.”It took a long time to find out who was doing what,” she said.With the help of town-funded organizations like the Breckenridge Arts District and community associations like SCAC, Hudnut describes the current artistic situation as “blossoming.”
“The art walks are a part of this,” Hudnut said. “They get the word out that we are here.”Glenda Bumpus, owner of the Highlands Gallery in Breckenridge, remembers when the arts scene wasn’t as vibrant in Summit County. “We had to work a long time to make it known that we were here,” she said. “There was a slow, slow growth.”Paul Cohen, director of the Breckenridge Fine Arts Gallery, said added variety helped the arts scene to build.
“The more good galleries you have in town, the better it will be for everyone,” he said. “We want new galleries to succeed and fill a niche.”Saturday night the Highlands Gallery will showcase its signature contemporary art, while down the street Arts Alive will open a Small Format show featuring pieces 16 inches or less. Add these to Breckenridge Fine Art Gallery’s Dali paintings and Rembrandt sketches, and the Arts Walk spectrum becomes evident. “The exposure of the art walk is promoting the artists but also making the public aware of art,” Bumpus said. “This is more of an education of what’s out there.”