Leadville Arts Coalition sponsors annual event

It’s wise to beat the holiday rush to the punch, and all-season efforts will pop back up in rural communities of Colorado to encourage shoppers to buy locally. The importance of supporting the local economy needn’t be stressed, especially in Leadville, where the impulse is to drive “over the hill” for a spree at Target or Walmart, when all those needs and more are available right out the front door. And when brainstorming gift ideas, it’s also smart to ask the question, “Do they really want something from Walmart?”

This weekend the Leadville Arts Coalition (LAC) is providing an opportunity not only to support fellow community members’ artistic efforts, but also to do some early “secret Santa” holiday shopping for original and exciting gifts. The Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair will be set up on the Colorado Mountain College campus in the Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center Friday, Nov. 17, from 3 to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A public exposition featuring the work of more than 25 local artists, the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair is the LAC’s primary annual fundraiser. LAC board member Susan Jewell promises “handcrafted arts, crafts, holiday decor, specialty food items, jewelry and clothing for everyone’s holiday lists.”

Around for more than 20 years, the LAC promotes and supports local artists in the Lake County/Leadville region of the Ark Valley. A roundtable of creative individuals, the nonprofit organization has seen to the creation of public displays, aided private enterprise, such as art galleries on Harrison Avenue, and helped enhance the Lake County School District’s accessibility to and education in the arts.

Most recently they commissioned the redesign of a wall on the community playground, the Kiddie Korral, and donated $1,000 to the art departments of two high school musical productions. The group has helped Harperrose Gallery with the highly successful “Meet the Artist” campaign and is also supporting art teacher Erin Farrow in taking students on a field trip to the Denver Art Museum in April.

The two-day fair is designed to fit a busy schedule, with evening hours on Friday and morning-afternoon hours on Saturday, but once it’s gone it won’t be back until next year! The CMC Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center (aka The Gym) is located at 901 Hwy. 24 in Leadville.

“The Leadville Arts Coalition encourages shoppers to support artists, crafters and other nonprofits by shopping locally at this fair,” says Jewell. “Deck those halls, select unique handmade gifts and enjoy homemade holiday cheer when you visit the Fair to see an amazing assortment of merchandise that local and regional vendors have created.”

Other great places to look for unique gifts in Leadville are Community Threads, in their new location at 609 Harrison Ave,, Harperrose Studios at 601 Harrison Ave., Lisa Starr Art & Design at 616 Harrison Ave. and Alpine Furniture on 1609 N. Poplar St.

For more info on the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair and the Leadville Arts Coalition, email lac.arts.info@gmail.com.

Let the holiday craze begin!