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Artist Opportunities in Fort Collins

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The Lincoln Center is one of Colorado’s largest and most diverse presenters of professional theatre, dance, music, visual arts and children’s programs. With its mission of  being a leader in cultural experience and being an essential value to the community, the center provides unique opportunities for creatives of all types to show off their artistic abilities.

Upcoming opportunities at the Lincoln Center:


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Arts Incubator of the Rockies Curriculum Design Unveiling

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The Arts Incubator of the Rockies (AIR) is proud to announce a public unveiling of the AIR Curriculum Design that will highlight the hard work, time, and creativity that has been put into place over the past three months of developing the core curriculum.

On Wednesday, April 25th, AIR will be hosting an “Unveiling of Curriculum Design” from 5:30pm-7:00pm at the Lincoln Center, Canyon West room.

Interested visual artists, writers, musicians, performers, designers, arts administrators, other creatives, and community members are invited to attend the presentation to learn more about the developments of what AIR will be offering beginning this fall.

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Christo’s “Over the River” Project

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A dream in the making since 1992 – Christo’s “Over the River” project has been one with its trials and tribulations.

Not only does this artistic project extend beyond anyones imagination of possible outdoor art, it also reaches into some environmental issues and controversial topics.

Christo’s plan (as seen in the image) is to suspend 5.9 miles of fabric over a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River between Salida and Cañon City in south-central Colorado.

Cool? Some say yes, some are unsure.

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Creative Capital Participants Selected

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CONGRATULATIONS to the 24 selected participants for the Creative Capital Workshop!

We had a 20% increase in submitted applications from last year’s Beet Street sponsored Creative Capital Workshop 2011 in Fort Collins, CO! This year, over 60 applications were submitted to participate in a “Professional Development Core Weekend Workshop” for artists.

After an application process of submitting online work, artistic samples, and a resume of their professional summary, a Creative Capital review panel selected the finalists. Based on the criteria that the participant could:

  • Demonstrate a successful track record of ongoing, professional artistic activity and high quality work, and who earn, or are seeking to earn, their full livelihoods from their art
  • Have creation of new work as a primary artistic focus (as compared to interpreting existing works)
  • Appear poised to transition to a new phase of his/her artistic career
  • Could benefit from setting professional goals and building upon marketing, fundraising, and financial management skills
  • Could benefit from a new network of professional contacts

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Great Plates & Great Tastes in Fort Collins

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Fort Collins is known for its wide variety in selections of restaurants and tasty places to eat around town, and the Downtown Business Association and member businesses have teamed up to bring “Great Plates” 2012 to Old Town for the fifth year in a row.

This tradition of eating will continue this year with 30 downtown restaurants that are set to offer incredible dining specials for a full two weeks! Restaurant quality, authenticity, and diversity can be found throughout this list of restaurants that are sure to make your stomachs – and your wallets – happy.

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Denver Post’s Pulitzer Prize-Winner Named Photographer of the Year

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Craig F. Walker has been named “Newspaper Photographer of the Year” by the Missouri School of Journalism’s Pictures of the Year International competition. One of the most well known and highly respected photojournalism contests in the world.

Walker has worked for the Denver Post since 1998 and was honored by receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for his work on a feature collection of photographs. For over 27 months he documented the transition of Ian Fisher and his journey from being a high school graduate to a soldier engaged in the Iraq war.

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Re-finding Fort Collins

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A few months ago I wrote about my visit to the Masks at Moca exhibit. There was a particular mask called Lacking Enthusiasm by Rocky Mountain High School student Morgan Myers that stood out to me.  His description of the mask stuck with me these past few months: “Age may wrinkle the face, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” The day I wrote the post, I was sitting in a coffee shop early in the morning and heard a customer say, “Another beautiful day in a beautiful city.” My comment on the blog that day was, “There aren’t many wrinkled souls here.”

The Austin Piazzolla Quintet plays at the Noontime Notes Concert Series in the Oak Street Plaza. Hear music every Tuesday at lunch.

The Austin Piazzolla Quintet plays at the Noontime Notes Concert Series in the Oak Street Plaza. Hear music every Tuesday at lunch.

I returned to Fort Collins last Monday after four weeks in Chicago. I had 14 hours in the car (mostly in pouring down rain) to reflect on my time here in the past few months.  I’ve met so many great people, experienced many new things and learned quite a bit about myself. Since being back, I’ve observed how much Fort Collins truly comes alive in the summer.

About 20 minutes after I rolled into town, my friend Mandy and I were sitting at the Crown Pub having an early dinner. We immediately ran into Cappy, who is a fabulous bartender and one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever met. He is part of the reason The Crown Pub is my favorite place to go in Fort Collins. When I first moved here – he’d always put the Illini games on for me and told me a lot about Fort Collins. I also ran into some of the folks from Beet Street who have quickly turned into friends.

Here are just a few of the things I did in Fort Collins in my first week back…I think this list kind of sums up what it’s like to live here – there is always something unique to do and residents are very involved in the community.

1. City council meeting, graffiti, Trailhead: I attended my first city council meeting in Fort Collins on Tuesday. Sales tax was being discussed and it was a packed house. My friend Doug was voicing his opinion, along with at least 30 other citizens of Fort Collins.  On the way  to the meeting, we saw an artist painting a large electrical box cover on Howes Street. It’s part of the city’s Art in Public places program, which is summed up nicely in this recent Coloradoan article.  Of course it wouldn’t be a Tuesday night without a half price cheeseburger and a 90 Shilling at the Trailhead.  

2. Noontime Notes Concert Series: Tuesday as I walking through Old Town I heard someone singing and saw a large crowd gathered in the Oak St. Plaza next to the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art. It was my first introduction to the Noontime Notes Concert Series that takes place there every Tuesday from 11:30-1:00. What a nice way to break up the day and enjoy your lunch. The singer was Colorado musician Kort McCumber.  

Art in Public Places program promotes local artists and discourages graffiti

Art in Public Places program promotes local artists and discourages graffiti

3. Ignite Fort Collins: Tuesday night one of my friends was presenting at Ignite Fort Collins. There were 14 speakers and each speaker had 20 slides that automatically advanced after 15 seconds. Part of the fun, was seeing how speakers reacted to the slides changing. The presenters and topics were very diverse. Here are a few: Becoming a blogger (courtesy of Kristen Mastre who writes Feasting FC and contributes to this blog), the anatomy of the harmonica (very funny BTW), reliance on foreign oil, being married to a gamer/compromise in marriage, some humor and education about composting. Some of the presentations were hilarious, some educational and some just downright strange, but it was never dull. Ignite Fort Collins happens four times per year, there are 300 people in the audience and I’m told it sells out every time.  I believe the next event is in September – anyone can submit a topic and it should definitely get you over your fear of public speaking.

4. I have wheels:  I finally brought my bike to Fort Collins. No offense to the flea market bike Saffron my friend Mandy was letting me borrow, but it’s so nice to have a bike that doesn’t wear me out in five minutes.  I took the bike out a few times this week. With all the rain that fell in Fort Collins, the river was really high and moving fast. It provided a great backdrop for my ride on the Poudre Trail. I was also supposed to go on a long bike ride with my friend Dave to get some exercise, but somehow our bikes led us to Odell’s for Happy Hour with our friend Scott.  Oops…

5. Caffeine:So I’ve been trying to give up Diet Coke for the past few weeks – really the past few years, but I admit my previous efforts were pretty lame. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, so Chai Tea Lattes have been my caffeine substitute of choice. I enjoyed a really spicy one at the Bean Cycle yesterday. The owner there is so nice and always strikes up interesting conversations with customers.  I’ve also had a few at Mugs this week – which are really tasty.  While I’m on the subject of Mugs, a few months ago some friends visited from Chicago. My friend Jenanne had her one year-old son Owen with her. The owner of Mugs gave Owen one of the organic onesies they were selling just because he thought he should have it. It was such a nice gesture and really endeared this city to my friends.

6. Downtown Energy: Something I’ve really enjoyed since I’ve been back is the energy in Old Town. All day you can see kids playing in the fountains at Oak St. Plaza, there are street vendors selling hot dogs and the performers who are part of Streetmosphere make people want to stop and take it in.  At restaurants and stores yesterday, I was asked many times how I was enjoying the first day of summer. There’s just a buzz downtown right now.

7. My first week back in Fort Collins was capped off at dinner with my good friend Noi at her dad’s restaurant Hunan. I love the steamed dumplings and Szechwan chicken.

So what’s on tap this week? Here’s what I’m thinking…

1.  Today at lunch I am going to enjoy some jazz infused tango courtesy of the Austin Piazzolla Quintet, which plays in the Oak St. Plaza (Oak and College) from 11:30 until 1:00 today. Here is a concert schedule for the Noontime Notes Concert Series.  

2. Beer Week: I plan to take advantage of some of the Beer Week specials and head to the Colorado Brewer’s Festival this weekend.  While I’m on the topic of beer, I’m embarrassed to admit I have yet to visit the Fort Collins Brewery. I love the beers, and since it is Beer Week in Fort Collins, I think it’s time for a visit.

3. I also want to check out Lend me a Tenor at Bas Bleu – has anyone seen in?

4. Finally, I plan to head to the library for inspiration. My friend Tara is a librarian in the Chicagoland area and she always reminds me how much I enjoy the library. So, I’m going to start my day at the library one morning, do some research and see where it takes me for the rest of the day. I will capture the experience on the blog soon. By the way, I was just on the Poudre River Library Web site and saw speed dating and pirate events (thank goodness not together) – so if you haven’t been to the library lately, it might be good time to plan a visit. Argh…

Building the economy though the arts in Colorado

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It seems difficult sometimes to think of art as an industry. We go see plays or movies, and we recognize that artists often work together and use group collaboration to create. Their creation is of course a piece of art, but it is also a contribution to the economy. The arts industry is not an isolated group, but a space where jobs are created and revenues can affect everyone in a positive way.

I’m happy to say that here in Colorado, our leaders recognize the potential of the arts industry to build up the state’s economy – and with good reason. Colorado’s creative enterprises alone employed over 122,000 individuals in about 8,000 establishments. This accounts for 3.9% of the state’s estimated 3.2 million jobs, making it Colorado’s 5th largest employment sector, almost as large as biotechnology/biomedical and IT & telecommunications, and larger than defense & security and agribusiness, food processing & technology. Employee earnings in these jobs, including employee benefits, were about $5 billion. Another 64,000 individuals worked in creative occupations in non-creative enterprises.

When you support the arts, you aren’t just doing great things like bringing higher levels of access to youth, attracting visitors, and developing the creative identity of your community, you are also helping to build the economy.  Colorado is a magnet for creative talent, ranking 5th among all states for concentration of artists. Only New York, California, Massachusetts and Vermont have a higher concentration of creative talent. Colorado ranks 2nd in concentration of architects, 7th in concentration of writers, designers, entertainers and performers, and 8th in concentration of photographers.

When looking at the knowledge assets our state holds, it is impressive to see the work and creative energy we exude.  It builds our reputation as a state, which in turn helps to support other industries.  A flourishing community full of arts, culture, and an educated workforce is very attractive to businesses in all industries.  When looking to relocate not only do they look at many of the other business benefits to relocating to Colorado, but also at the quality of life and communities their workforce would have.

When you support the arts – whether it be by attending a local play, buying a ticket to see a local band perform, attending a gallery opening, or introducing legislation to support the arts at a greater level – strengthening this important aspect of the Colorado lifestyle will only further the success of our great state.

On January 5 Governor Bill Ritter announced three bills that will create opportunities within the arts industry for more growth. These bills will be introduced in legislative sessions this year. To read more abou them, check out this week’s re:BEET.

To learn more about the state of Colorado’s creative economy, view the Colorado Council for the Arts’ Economic Study.

All that Jazz!

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“What we play is life. If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”

Louis Armstrong

Fort Collins Jazz Experience is committed to bringing the highest quality jazz music and celebrating its history right here in Fort Collins. Thanks to The Downtown Business Association, the Bohemian Foundation, and other local businesses, this past week, Fort Collins was the place for “cool”—and total immersion in the experience of jazz.  An amazing list of events provided opportunities for Northern Coloradoans to eat lunch while listening to jazz, enjoy ice cream and jazz, boil crawfish along with jazz, practice Tai Chi with jazz. . .to name just a few!  Multiple stages filled the air with the sounds of local and regional musicians and all over town people breathed in jazz.  Headliners Ramsey Lewis Trio and Al Jarreau also joined the celebrations as “greats” in the genealogy of jazz musicians.

Kirsti reports that last Thursday in Fort Collins she was part of the audience who sat on the edge of their seats in the Lincoln Center.  They were treated to what can “only be described as virtuosity from the Ramsey Lewis Trio.” jjJazz heritage is rooted in African community performance where stage and performer are not separately defined, and the Trio “effortlessly and seamlessly moved through a joyful, evocative, intimate, raucous dance with the audience.  Afficionados tapped their toes,clapped an d shouted in a very particular form of call and response with the music and musicians.”  Kirsti says the Trio created “a never ending showcase of talent, including individually sublime performances on soloinstruments and magical improvisation as instruments and musicians dialogued.”  The audience was, “mesmerized by the performance of what it means tobe music, as they watched musicians meld with their instruments, fingers flashing so fast you could barely see them caress keys, strings or cradle drumsticks.”  For Kirsti, “the composition ‘Exhilaration’ was exactly that, rising and falling in tempo and volume, as sound rippled t

hrough the piece.”  She also talked about the ballad ‘Conversation’ with its “exquisite rendering of the gentle rhythm and ebbs and flows of emotion, along with volume and tone that characterize an entrancing interaction.”  Nobody wanted the evening to end and the Trio played for 90 minutes, which included 3 standing ovations and encores!

On Saturday night the experience continued with over two hours of mostly love songs and a lot of boogieing down, fun, and passion added to the mix.  Al Jarreau captured hearts with his charm, wit, social commentary and ability to find humor in the human condition, including his own life!  Al Jarreau earned a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling (here’s a shout out to other University of Iowa alums!), and although he went on to make his name as one of the most critically acclaimed performers of our time, he’s still jamming to get everyone involved!  One of his greatest joys is to get audiences to sing along, and a number of times during his performance, he held out his microphone for a response or a request to finish a sentence.  His infectious energy got the audience singing, clapping and nodding as he performed old favorites and even improvised about skiing in Aspen!  “Talk about a Rocky Mountain high!”

Jarreau was joined by 6 other musicians all acclaimed in their own right, and together they shared the sheer bliss of making and making up jazz together.  While it felt as though the musicians were thrilled to have us there, it also seemed as though they would make music whether they had an audience or not!  Well-known for his scat singing and ability to imitate, Jarreau didn’t need an actual instrument, although he seemed to be playing an instrument for most of theevening.  Sometimes he didn’t even need words, “dum dum dum mmmmmm, ooh, ooh, bam!”

Al Jarreau at Lincoln Center, Fort Collins

Al Jarreau at Lincoln Center, Fort Collins

Whether playing new pieces, reviving old ones, or reinterpreting other contributions, Saturday’s performance was filled with surprises.  I have to admit that I’m not particularly fond of “My Favorite Things,” from the Sound of Music, since I’ve listened to my sister and my children sing it one too many a time.  However, Jarreau managed to make it fresh and as new as a crisp apple struedel—in his version, “wild geese” turned into “old geezers ,” who can still get a jam on!  Jarreau (born in 1940) said he wouldn’t share his chronological age, but he certainly shares the joy of finding your passion and doing what you love to keep feeling alive.  Ooh, ooh, bim, bam, bap!

Speaking of defying age, or rather gravity.. .on July 15, you can meet Dr. Bob Phillips, at Science Café Fort Collins.  His adventures include NASA training as a Payload Specialist, decades of research and teaching, and 130 scientific publications plus 2 patents.  On the second Wednesday of each month, interested scientists and Fort Collins citizens gather to discuss issues in contemporary science.  On July 15 (5:30 p.m. at the Stonehouse Grille) you can hear about how going to space and learning to live there is a great adaptive challenge.  Dr. Phillip’s talk will present some of the changes that occur in space flight and how humans accommodate this new environment. Isn’t it great that everything is constantly changing?

Improvisation is crucial!

Deborah Lombard

The Feds Bank On Art To Stimulate Economy

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As I write this the American Recovery and Reinvestment plan is headed to the Senate after being approved by the House.  Both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Smithsonian have a good size chuck of the $850 Billion plan:


For an additional amount for ‘‘Grants and Administration’’, $50,000,000, to be distributed in direct grants to fund arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn: Provided, That 40 percent of such funds shall be distributed to State arts agencies and regional arts organizations in a manner similar to the agency’s current practice and 60 percent of such funds shall be for competitively selected arts projects and activities according to sections 2 and 5(c) of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 951, 954(c)): Provided further, That matching requirements under section 5(e) of such Act shall be waived: Provided further, That the amount set aside from this appropriation pursuant to section 1106 of this Act shall be not more than 5 percent instead of the percentage specified in such section.


For an additional amount for ‘‘Facilities Capital’’, $150,000,000, for deferred maintenance projects, and for repair, revitalization, and alteration of facilities owned or occupied by the Smithsonian Institution, by contract or otherwise, as authorized by section 2 of the Act of August 22, 1949 (63 Stat. 623): Provided, That funds may be transferred to ‘‘Salaries and Expenses’’: Provided further, That the amount set aside from this appropriation pursuant to section 1106 of this Act shall be not more than 5 percent instead of the percentage specified in such section.”

NPR recently did a story on this part of the package that can be found here.

You can read the complete package here.

If the plan is passed you can track the spending here.

What do you think? Is this wise use of our money? Will funding these institutions help our nation’s over all economy?

Written by Daryle Dickens

January 29th, 2009 at 11:51 am

Posted in Government