Successful ArtWalk emerges from virus

Harry Hansen, right, helps two women make their own jewelry Saturday. Hansen, who runs Riveting Experience Jewelry, had set up tables in front of his business for Salida ArtWalk.

Salida’s first post-COVID-19 ArtWalk was pronounced a success by all of the participants who were questioned following the 28th “almost annual” event. As with most local annual celebrations, ArtWalk wasn’t held last year because of COVID-19.

 Shanna Robb of My World Art coordinated a silk scarf painting project at Rocky Mountain Guitars.

“We were going to do one scarf and donate it to Salida Council for the Arts for their fall auction, but we got an onslaught of participants and decided to do two,” Robb said. “My mission is to keep art alive and support it in Salida.”

The youngest contributor was 2 years old and the oldest was 90. Participants were from all over the country.

“This was my first year as a participating artist,” Robb said. “Art is all about conversation. I wanted to allow families and other artists to participate in a community wearable art piece that would live on past this year’s ArtWalk.”

Robb is a mosaic artist who paints silk wearable art. About 75 people participated in the scarf project.

Leslie Jorgensen, ArtWalk chair, said, “Our team was so pleased to bring Salida ArtWalk back for the 28th year. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. The artists I spoke with had great sales and our Mini-Masterpiece benefit auction raised $3,255 for the Salida Council for the Arts. Overall I’d say it was a huge success in a pretty mellow package.”

She thanked everyone who participated and supported local artists and especially the volunteers, with special thanks to the City of Salida, Chaffee County Public Health, High Country Bank for financial support and Box of Bubbles and Salida SteamPlant for guidance and assistance.

An unidentified giraffe drew some attention riding through town on a bike and said people seemed to enjoy this moving piece of art. His observation also was that ArtWalk was a success and people really enjoyed it.

Ken Brandon of Box of Bubbles compared ArtWalk 2021 to a couple of years ago when he set up Van Gogh’s bedroom, where people could place themselves within the painting and be photographed.

“We had between 300 and 500 people involved in that,” he said. “We had a good turnout this year with the Mini-Masterpiece Auction, and I heard it was really busy on F Street. People don’t often get off F Street for events, but it was pretty mellow for us. We had a good number of people and it seems more locals than tourists. The weather did have an impact in that not many people were willing to walk in the rain, which happened off and on all day.”

Steph Brady of The Green Cat Gallery on G Street said, “This was like the ArtWalks of 10 years ago. I had a steady flow all day Friday and Saturday and even into the evening and even a few on Sunday. It was like it used to be and I was thrilled. I don’t know why, but it did very well and was absolutely fabulous.”

Because of COVID-19, this was the first year she didn’t offer food and wine, and she thought it was even better not having that.

“It didn’t distract people,” she said. “I noticed that all those years I put out food and wine I didn’t sell much and just gave away food and wine. We had an eclectic bunch of people attending. I had a little run-in with a couple of girls who wouldn’t wear masks, but that was the only issue. I really don’t know what to attribute the success to other than maybe because of COVID-19 people wanted to get out and do things.”

Linda Frances at Four Winds Gallery said, “I was very pleased. ArtWalk went very well.”

Angie Rivas, studio assistant at The Maverick Potter, said, “I was out of town but I heard from Mark Rittman (potter) that this was one of the best ArtWalks yet. We sold the most out of any of the years we’ve participated. Everyone was excited to connect with one another and look at beautiful things. People wanted to connect.”

Michael Varnum, city arts and culture director, called ArtWalk 2021 the most organized and best ArtWalk he could remember.

The Paquette Gallery at Salida SteamPlant featured an exhibit from the recently closed Cultureclash gallery.

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