Salida festival sparkles on its silver anniversary

Art Walk, one of Salida’s most popular annual festivals, marks its 25th anniversary this year with more than 60 official Art Walk venues celebrating Salida’s incredibly talented local artists.

The four-day event, sponsored by High Country Bank, starts today and continues through Sunday, June 25, mostly in downtown Salida’s Creative District – an area known for its year-round artist-owned galleries and studios – as well as venues on Highway 50 and in Poncha Springs.

No silver anniversary celebration would be complete without jewelry, art, keepsakes, music, food and commemorative photos. And Art Walk 2017 will have all that and more, from traditional art shows and demonstrations, artist receptions, plein-air demonstrators and live music to culinary creations crafted by 10 participating restaurants, commemorative photo-op locales and props, “streetmosphere” character actors and hands-on art activities for all ages.

Look for Art Walk 2017 banners at participating art galleries, businesses and restaurants. For nearly all 25 years since the art festival began in 1992, Ken Brandon of Box of Bubbles has screen-printed by hand each year’s banners using the original logo designed by Tammie La Vercombe.

Don’t be surprised to see Salvador Dali (Rich Tyler), Andy Warhol (Kat Clapp), Vincent van Gogh (Rick Bousfield) and Frida Kahlo (Krista Jarvis and Andrea Mossman) strolling around town and taking photos with Art Walk attendees. “This is the best Art Walk anywhere, so of course it has attracted these masterful artists,” says Sue Ann Hum, Salida Council for the Arts board president. Special comedic guest Decca Raytitoll (Jenny Bousfield Wright) will also stir up enthusiasm for the anniversary celebration and “paint the town silver.”

“We will have lots of extra elements for Art Walk’s 25th anniversary,” Hum says. “This is the first time the Salida Council for the Arts has adopted Art Walk as one of its regular programs.”

New this year are selfie photo-op locations in the Salida Creative District and at Box of Bubbles, where anyone can create their own commemorative photos using silver-glitter-adorned props and picture frames, says Jessie Miller, chair of DiscoverArt. Miller encourages everyone to share their selfies on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (#salidaartwalk) and discover the various locations based on other photos posted online. “It’ll be like a big treasure hunt,” she says.

Special art demonstrations will take place throughout the weekend, from glass-blowing and wood-turning to spinning-wheel demonstrations.

Salida was the first Colorado town to host an Art Walk festival, organizers say. It started as a grassroots event by local artists who began setting up studios in Salida’s vacant downtown buildings in the ’90s following the closure of the Climax mine. They believed Art Walk would promote their artwork and market the city of Salida as an arts destination, says goldsmith Jerry Scavezze, one of the Art Walk pioneers and owner of Gallery 150.

Over the years, Art Walk has led Salida’s efforts in cultural tourism, and although it has grown significantly, the event nearly died several years ago. Revitalization has come through creation of a board of directors, a partnership between Art Walk and the Salida Council for the Arts and a renewed focus on the artist-owned galleries. “They are the heart of Salida’s Creative District,” says Michael Varnum. “I believe this will be the best Art Walk ever.”

Thursday-Sunday

Peruse the numerous Art Walk venues each day and meet the local artists, many of whom are known nationally and internationally for their work. You’ll be inspired by the beauty, creativity and artistic spirit that abounds in paintings, pottery, ceramics, fine art, jewelry, fiber arts, sculpture, quilts and even whimsical “monster creations for silly people.”   

Thursday, June 22

Art on the Rocks, a popular paint-your-own-wine-glass party sponsored by High Country Bank, includes appetizers and wine from Vino Salida Wine Cellars from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Salida SteamPlant ballroom. The event is free and everyone is welcome. To RSVP, call High Country Bank at 719-539-2516.

Friday, June 23

Dining Out With Art Walk is a celebration of the culinary arts with 10 restaurants that have created special food and drink menus featuring items inspired by local artists. From 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, check out the Art Walk specials at Amicas, Benson’s Tavern and Beer Garden, Boathouse Cantina, Currents Steak and Seafood, Little Cambodia, Seasons Café (next to Absolute Bikes), Shallots Restaurant and The Alley Bar, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery and Soulcraft Brewing Co.

“SA-FA-Doo” aka Sue Ann’s Fine Art Doodling, is a Zentangle-inspired class that will be coached by Sue Ann Hum on the repeated patterning drawing technique. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Box of Bubbles. “Anyone can learn to do it,” Hum says, and “You can’t make a mistake.” The class is for adults only.

Mini-Masterpiece Auction items can be previewed Friday night from 5 to 8 p.m. These tiny masterpieces are created by Salida’s best artists. Friday’s preview and Saturday’s auction will take place in the Salida SteamPlant annex.

Saturday, June 24

Don’t miss your chance to outbid everyone else at the popular Mini-Masterpiece Silent Auction at the Salida SteamPlant annex  from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Special artists’ receptions will be ongoing at more than 60 Art Walk venues in Salida and Poncha Springs from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday. There will be art for sale, art demonstrations, receptions, music, food and more.

Art After Dark features reggae band Sol Seed at Soulcraft Brewing Company from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday. For every $25 purchase from Art Walk participants, shoppers will receive a two-for-one beer coupon to be used exclusively at Art After Dark.

Sunday, June 25

“Art, Brunch and Bars” at Seasons Cafe from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday features Mimosa and Bloody Mary bars, live music by Hazy Fate from 10 a.m. to noon and a chance to chat with Salida plein-air artists and purchase fresh Art Walk paintings from a “wet wall.”

A closing barbecue dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. at the SteamPlant will celebrate another successful Art Walk year with food, music and more.