Creativity can be found all over the Arkansas River Valley, and various kinds of artists have discovered their muses in all the fascination and beauty these mountains have to offer. For one artist, Buena Vista not only brings to life her passion in glass artistry but also offers a quiet and friendly place to escape and recharge. Her name is Julie Golden, and in September she is the showcased artist-in-residence at Watershed BV, creating a community-inspired window to be installed at Cottonwood Hot Springs.

On Friday, this Boulder-based artist will begin her project of crafting the stained-glass window that will be fitted on Sept. 26, the day after Buena Vista’s BV Strong Community Dinner. A published author as well as an artist, Golden is excited to be working together with two businesses who also adore what this town is about. Priding itself as a community-shared space, Watershed BV is holding true with its mantra of supporting local talent and providing opportunities.

“It was a sweet surprise to find Watershed early last winter,” Golden said. “I was impressed by the many ways they are bringing people together. I saw this as a possible way to spend more time in BV and to leave a larger piece of my heart at Cottonwood Hot Springs. BV is lucky to have Rick and Katy’s dedication to your homeland.”

Golden’s window will be fashioned after the environment, splendor and history of the valley and titled “Living Waters,” but her exact intentions for the piece are still somewhat unknown. She welcomes input from the community since it will be a piece for everyone to enjoy for years to come.

“Plans for the BV piece are still dancing around in my head. I know the window will flow from the top toward the bottom. It will include impressions of plants used by local Native Americans, plus the mining industry, the railroad expansion, farming and river sports,” said Golden.

“Beyond that, I welcome suggestions. Everyone is welcome to stop by Watershed and watch the progress on the window. They can also see other windows that I have made on display.”

Because she wants this window to truly capture the essence of BV, a special opportunity is available for citizens to brand an impression on Golden’s unique style of stained glass. Watershed BV and Cottonwood Hot Springs invite people to donate small, radiant items that may be included in the window. Each location encourages inquiry about guidelines and how to be a part and leave a personal niche in this local pane of imagination.

Golden said she offered a similar request when she was an artist-in-residence at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Oregon. Over 100 items were donated and used in creating the window that now resides outside the hotel’s dining room.

Though she began her passion in glass work in the ’70s, crafting with traditional stained glass methods, she eventually found her own style of glass working, which has opened doors for her to share her artistic vision all over the country and even in Mexico and Germany.

“A fresh look at the beauty of stained glass is offered in my work. I became disenchanted because of the restrictions of the dark lead/copper lines and the boring parts of the craft. Those frustrations are now gone because of a process I developed 30 years ago, and teach. This process does not require a plan or pattern,” she said.

“It encourages the artist to flow with inspiration and allows them to embellish the piece from start to finish. Words cannot do justice to the art, but most everyone immediately sees the difference and asks how it is made.”