Ten days of creation

Boulder’s debut art week highlights the local artistic community

Courtesy of Boulder Arts Week
Danielle Meltz | Boulder Weekly

After long being known as an artsy city with a significant concentration of artists, Boulder is ready to make it official. Boulder artists and art-lovers alike will emerge for the first Boulder Arts Week, taking place March 28 to April 6.

People have thrown around the idea of something like Boulder Arts Week for a while, but it was Bill Obermeier, from The Dairy Centre for the Arts, and David Dadone, from the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, who both started to actually talk about making the event a reality.

Boulder Arts Week was created as a way to increase local cultural tourism and highlight all of the art that Boulder has to offer, according to Charlotte LaSasso of the Boulder County Arts Alliance.

“Without even bringing in any outside acts, just looking at our local population, it’s incredible the kind of talent that comes from here,” LaSasso says.

The Boulder Arts Week highlights all the art events in Boulder, according to Emily Harrison, the project manager of Boulder Arts Week.

“There are a lot of artists in Boulder who are more experimental than traditional artists, meaning that they are more into pushing the boundaries of what art is and where art should take place. I think it’s one of the things that’s really great about Boulder,” Harrison says.

Boulder Arts Week is trying to introduce the art scene to people who usually aren’t involved with it.

“The Ptarmigan String Quartet is going to be playing at McGuckin Hardware. That’s something that I love about the Boulder Arts Week, the potential for people to encounter art is really great,” Harrison says.

In addition to art being seen in unexpected places, art is being made in unexpected ways. Artists from different backgrounds and styles are collaborating for this event. Violinist Zachary Carrettin, from the Boulder Bach Festival, is working with dancers from 3rd Law, an experimental dance company for the kick-off event for the festival.

The combination of art and dance makes the audience appreciate both of them differently, according to Carrettin.

“A musician is essentially dancing, moving all of those muscle groups, moving the arms, moving the hips moving the legs. Also, the music is dancing, there’s a pulse and a tempo, there’s an ebb and a flow, there’s sound gestures that make one feel excited and calm,” Carrettin says.

The Student Banner Project, which is in its second year now, is an example of how artists are tweaking their already planned events for Boulder Arts Week. The project consists of art from elementary through high school students that is displayed around the Pearl Street Mall from January until April. For Boulder Arts Week, they added an event, People’s Choice Award, where people get to vote for their favorite artwork. The winner of the event gets to have their art displayed at the visitor information center for downtown Boulder over the summer.

Anna Salim, from the nonprofit Downtown Boulder, Incorporated, says the banner project allows the city to highlight the young, emerging artists in Boulder, and gives the community a chance to interact with the art. “I think part of what is interesting about a thing like Boulder Arts Week is that community involvement element and I was really curious to see how that might unravel,” Salim says.

The event aims to bring more awareness to the variety and breadth of the art community in Boulder, along with the needs and challenges of the art community. Especially since, according to Salim, for the amount of arts and cultural organizations in Boulder, funding for the arts is lacking.

“It’s the first large-scale, inclusive celebration of our community’s arts and culture that has ever happened in Boulder,” Salim says. “It’s unusual in Boulder to see that level of collaboration and it speaks to that need of highlighting the community.”

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