Crested Butte Arts Festival shines big in its 42nd year

For complete schedule and list of artists and events visit
With summer arriving late this year, the wildflowers are still splashing their colors across the canvas of high alpine meadows and slopes. Meanwhile on the streets downtown, artists, musicians and culinary experts will be coloring the weekend with their works at the 42nd Crested Butte Arts Festival, which runs Friday August 1 through Sunday, August 3. 

The tent and street events are free and range from kids’ art projects and artist demonstrations to cooking demonstrations and two days of non-stop concerts and performances. Last year, a reported 12,000 people showed up for the festival weekend. Festival director Juliette Eymere says they’re expecting about the same number of people this year. Eymere talks about the new Emerging Artist program. “We sponsored a Western State Colorado University (WSCU) student to create an entrance piece for the festival. (The students) applied and submitted their proposals, which were then voted on by all the guests at the Art of Cooking fundraiser. Silas McDonough was this year’s winner, and will create a panoramic and composite scene of Crested Butte on a large canvas attached to a curved plywood wall,” Eymere says of the work, which will be created on site with a video recorded of the performance. “So it’s a gestural performance, painting quickly over a large surface canvas on site, right at the east entrance of the Arts Fest,” Eymere says. The festivities start on Friday, August 1 and run from 5 to 8 p.m. McDonough will be introduced and begin his work, plus there’ll also be a dance performance by the Crested Butte School of Dance to kick off the weekend. “We’re proud to partner with the Crested Butte School of Dance’s Dance in the Mountains Summer Workshop, which will provide a little hip hop number as part of the opening ceremonies,” Eymere says. The sneak peek is of their Saturday performance at 11 a.m. at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts ( The art booths will open at 5 p.m. Friday and there’ll be music in the beer and wine pavilion at 3rd and Elk. It’s all free—except for the beer and wine, although there will be plenty of free tastings at the culinary tents during the cooking demonstrations. The Arts Festival is a juried event. Local artists who will have booths this year are Adam Freed, painting; Kimbre Woods, photography; Dusty Demerson, photography; and Timothy White, mixed media and sculpture. There are also the Artists of the West Elks (AWE), who will have a booth: Valerie Jaquith, mixed media of tiled frames and mirrors; Mary Schmidt, photography; Jan Giesselman, ceramic potter; and Donald Mancini, wood and mixed media. There are 165 artists in all, 191 booths. The Arts Festival offers booths to non-profits like the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CMBA), the Crested Butte Center for the Arts, the Mt. Crested Butte Performing Arts Center (MCPAC), local community radio KBUT, the Crested Butte Land Trust (CBLT), and everyone’s favorite duck floaters, the Crested Butte Rotary Club, whose members will be selling rubber ducks for their big fundraising duck race down Coal Creek on Sunday, August 3. The biggest change at the festival has been the addition of other activities so that there’s really something for everyone, like the Kids’ Alley, which offers many free activities. Linda Mykos creates four art projects every day for the kids. Mysto the Magician will be on hand once again to amuse and, of course, mystify. In collaboration with Crested Butte Music Festival, Billy Jonas will present a musical show for kids as part of the Divine Family Young Peoples Concert Series at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Viking culinary demonstrations at 5th and Elk in the tent on both Saturday and Sunday are also free. Eymere points out there’s a mix of demonstrations, from mixologists to chefs, with Ashley Davis from Bonez; Montanya Rum Distillery’s Robin Buza showing how to mix up artisan cocktails on Saturday at 4 p.m.; Goose Sorenson from Solera in Denver; Jason Rogers from Cyclhops in Longmont, an Oskar Blues Restaurant; Elijah O’Dell of Highland Tap and Burger out of Denver; and Kendall Lucy from Roaring Fork Whole Foods store. All demonstrations are free and many of these will offer tastings and beer and wine pairing as well. The live music on the Ragged Mountain Stage at 3rd Street and Elk Avenue is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with a grand opening Friday 5 to 8 p.m. See the next page for details. With so much going on, you don’t want to space out and miss an event or performance, so this year you can get text messages on your phone to alert you 15 minutes in advance of each event. A sponsor of the Arts Festival this year, Mobivity is a nationwide text messaging company that sends out reminders for any event. People who sign up at the festival are eligible to win a four-day pass to the Crested Butte Film Festival in September. With the growing number of attendees every year to the Crested Butte Art Festival Eymere says, “We’re bringing in clientele who are interested, savvy, and sophisticated art buyers. I imagine it’s good news for all the art galleries in town. We’re trying to make it successful for the artists, and the people we’re trying to bring in can afford this art. For many it may be a luxury item purchase and that’s the clientele we’re trying to appeal to. We want to have a balanced show, things that everybody can purchase, but really our goal is to create a fine arts and fine craft show. It’s not a priority for everybody, and we understand that, and that’s why we’ve added other options, events that are free so everyone can participate. There’s so much to do—free music, free food, free artists demonstrations—so you can still be immersed in the arts without having to pay anything. What’s really important to us is that although we’re only a weekend festival we give money back locally to the community throughout the year in our Artreach programs, like the Emerging Artist Program, and we gave $2,000 to Crested Butte Community School for students’ art supplies. The proceeds from the silent auction during the Arts Festival go to sustaining the event and our Artreach program.” Oh Be Joyful Gallery co-owner and artist Dawn Cohen says she used to have a booth at the fest but now just has the gallery on 3rd Street off Elk. She feels the Arts Festival has a positive effect on all the galleries and buying art in general. “When we had booths we had high art sales but we have in general good art sales in the summer. Art affects the economy. Part of our dream was to make Crested Butte an art destination and an art buying destination. Crested Butte has become a landscape art buying destination as well as a place where artists come to create. We need both artists and buyers to make it successful. We’re seeing a big-time influx of tourism from art.” The Crested Butte Arts Festival is always a favorite colorful and jam-packed weekend for locals, tourists and families. Eymere says, “Mostly we just want people to come and enjoy!”

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