Executive director of the Firehouse, Beryl Durazo has inclusivity on the brain.
“Especially in Boulder County, diversity is an important role to play in anything, especially the arts,” Durazo says. “One thing we at Firehouse keep in the front of our minds is that everyone has a different story. … We’re hoping to really invest in that in the next year, to have the whole community involved.
Local Folk is the current exhibit at the Firehouse, and it serves as “a tribute to 30 artists who have lived or live in Longmont,” Durazo says. It’s a celebration of the multiplicity of visual art makers in Longmont and of the individual perspectives each of them brings to the scene. The show also highlights voices from minority communities, which play a large, sometimes unacknowledged, part in the makeup of Boulder County.
On Oct. 14, the Firehouse will host a reception for the artists, offering the public a chance to learn more about the diverse art in Boulder County, and to reflect on the differences — and unities — between everyone.
“It’s a very diverse show, and it’s super fun,” Durazo says. “I adore this show. The minute I started seeing the artwork coming in, I was amazed. And at the end of the day, it really is Longmont. And you realize that everyone is different.”
The Firehouse provides a perspective on their own history and on the movers and shakers in the arts today by including all artists in a variety of visual mediums exploring an eclectic sense of personality and community.
Diversity, particularly Longmont’s Hispanic heritage and population, is for Durazo, “an important thing for us to be talking about and to be aware of — and to support those members of our community who don’t feel supported anywhere else.”
For example, one of the exhibited pieces Durazo mentions is a painting by Linda Glietz called “Immigration 1.” Durazo says the work represents “what those in Mexico are facing when they are looking at the U.S. border,” and is particularly potent in light of the current politics and a Republican nominee who must not-be-named.
Local Folk is a part of the county-wide program HOVAB (History of the Visual Arts in Boulder), which takes a deeper look into the rich art history of the area. Exhibitions for HOVAB are installed in 18 galleries across Boulder County, involving more than 300 visual artists, including digital media artists and filmmakers, showcasing the complexity of what the county contributes to the national and global scenes.
“The arts scene has grown exponentially in the past 10 years,” Durazo says. “The community has seen an influx of interest. [The Firehouse] is a place where anyone can come and feel like a part.”
All of the artists in Local Folk are from Boulder County or have been involved in the scene for awhile: among others, Glietz attended the University of Colorado, and Dwayne Wolff has been in residence at the Firehouse for quite some time, knowing “probably as much as [the staff]” about the Firehouse’s history, Durazo says. If you’re interested in further history of the area’s arts input, you can speak to Wolff and other resident artists during open studio hours on Second Fridays at the Firehouse.
Wolff’s is one of many artistic perspectives in Local Folk that integrates life into his art.
“[I] take the reality I experience and use it to shape my art,” Wolff says. “The trick is to use my view of real things and occurrences and find the art that’s inherently part of life.”
This art-in-life looks different across the board. For Wolff, inspiration is his community, which reflects the greater society.
“Vibrant communities, like Longmont, are a scaled-down version of the global community,” he says. “I love the fact that no matter how often I explore my surroundings, I find new inspiration in paths that I’ve taken hundreds of times. I never know what I’ll find in my journeys around town if I keep my eyes open.”
On the Bill: Local Folk. Firehouse Art Center, 667 Fourth Ave., Longmont, 303-651-2787. Through Nov. 6. Opening reception. 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14.