The Beet Street Blog

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The Umbrella Project – Supporting the Arts in Larimer County

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As the damage from the September floods continues to be identified and stories unfold, we discover that many artists have been deeply affected. They have lost studios and practice spaces, visual artwork and instruments have been ruined, supplies and equipment lost or broken, creative businesses and non-profits overwhelmed with damages. Without the arts, how can our communities truly recover? The Umbrella Project is a fund to support artists and creatives in Larimer County that are affected by natural disasters, including the recent flooding.

To launch this initiative, Beet Street is partnering with the local arts community to create a unique and interactive fundraising event on October 26th. The Umbrella Project launch will be a celebration of creativity, with live performances featuring local musicians, actors, poets and writers, visual art for viewing and for sale including work donated from the Water exhibition at the Center for Fine Art Photography, and a community art project that will carry on beyond the event with a public installation of decorated umbrellas throughout the city.

Many artists and organizations are donating their time and talent to create an unforgettable experience that will make a lasting difference in Larimer County.

Join the Opening of the Umbrella Project

Saturday, October 26, 6-9pm

Creative Community Center 200 Mathews Street, Fort Collins

$20 donation for admission

Visit to learn more, donate, or purchase advance event tickets

Through this event, the Umbrella Project fund will be created to support artists and creatives affected by the flooding in Larimer County, and will extend as an ongoing arts relief fund to assist artists in the wake natural disasters.

We encourage everyone to do what you can to help sustain the arts throughout our county. Besides attending the event on October 26, here are some other ways to get involved:

– Volunteer for the event. Please email

– Make a donation online at

– Artists are encouraged to donate a work of art to an exhibition and sale during the event or to decorate an artists’ umbrella. Please bring your piece to the Community Creative Center Friday, October 18, 4 – 6pm or get in touch before then if you can’t make that time.

If you are an artist that has been affected or know someone who has, tell us your story and tell us what you need as we develop this fund. Contact us at or by calling 970-419-8240. There is also a list of resources on the Beet Street website,


Written by admin

October 11th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

AIR Tour

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Our recently launched website, Arts Incubator of the Rockies (AIR), has been growing rapidly—now incorporating almost 600 members. The website includes a variety of great resources designed for all artists and art-based organizations, not only for inspiration and motivation, but also for connecting and succeeding. This regional arts incubator is a wonderful opportunity for artists to utilize many tools in one convenient website.

Recently, we have added a helpful and comprehensive website tour to the homepage. This tour, guided by our own Executive Director, Beth Flowers, walks viewers through the website features and functionality. If you have never visited the website before, have casually browsed it, or have recently become a member, this tour is the perfect chance to learn the power of the website and how to use it.

We are still in the midst of our membership drive and are recruiting as many people as possible. There is no force to commit. Though paid members have access to more features and benefits, free memberships still include a great base of available resources. So please, visit the website, and take the tour to help get you immersed in AIR.

Key to the Future

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Creativity is one of those traits everyone wants a little more of and you can never have enough of. It is a characteristic pursued in both the art and the business world. According to the Americans for the Arts, “… creativity is among the top 5 applied skills sought by business leaders…the arts—music, creative writing, drawing, dance—provide skills sought by employers of the 3rd millennium.”

Innovation becomes more important as we experience current challenges and attempt to predict problems of subsequent years. It is important to examine creativity as an entity in our lives and the role it plays in shaping our future.

To look at how we can encourage it in our children, inspire it in our daily lives, enhance it in our workplace, and take the steps necessary to grow creativity in our communities.

Resources to expand knowledge on the nature of creativity are abundant. Local creatives and artists, books, magazines, and especially the Internet, – information on creativity is everywhere. A great place to search for them online is our AIR (Arts Incubator of the Rockies) website. The Knowledge Center is full of videos, articles, and more on creative topics.

Enthusiastic Streetmosphere Fan!

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Branden Sipes performing with Streetmosphere, photograph taken by Tim Van Schmidt

Tim Van Schmidt is a craftsman, and a freelance writer and photographer. He specializes in writing about contemporary music on the local and national level. An experienced writer, Van Schmidt wrote for The Coloradoan as the music columnist, for the Fort Collins Forum as the entertainment columnist, as well as edited for Scene Magazine, of which he is a co-founder. Since then, Van Schmidt has been publishing his writing and photographs online.

Van Schmidt’s photography career really blossomed because of his writing. When attending concerts to write a review, he was always asked, “Do you also want a photo pass?” Since then, he has photographed many artists, such as Clapton, Springsteen, U2 – and of course our Streetmosphere performers!

Tim followed the end of the 2011 Streetmosphere program and photographed eight of the performers in Old Town. This year, Van Schmidt says that “checking up on Streetmosphere is a regular part of my summer!!” He has photographed twenty-two of our artists so far in both our downtown and Front Range Village locations.

Live music is what keeps Van Schmidt ticking, and Fort Collins doesn’t disappoint. Out of the hundreds of cities he has visited, he says that “Fort Collins has gone way beyond the average city.” Our city provides programs like Noontime Notes in Oak Street Plaza, concerts in Old Town square, FOCOMX, Bohemian Nights at New West Fest, and of course Streetmosphere to promote live music and its native artists.

Van Schmidt enjoys the diversity and accessibility Streetmosphere offers and says that “it would be a crime not to take advantage of what is offered in so much abundance.”

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Get Your Game Face On!

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Stage Manager Jan is welcomed by FRV staff!

Streetmosphere was welcomed by Front Range Village staff during their second week of operation. Stage Manager Jan paused for a photo-op on the vehicle used by the Front RangeVillage’s security team.

Streetmosphere has expanded to the shopping mall at Front Range Village, located on Harmony and Ziegler. You can find lots of different shops and places to eat, but if eating and shopping isn’t your thing, you can check out a book at the public library!

Through the weekend of August 19th, Streetmosphere will be operating both at Front Range Village and in Old Town! Hours do differ a little between FRV and Old Town, so be sure to check out the hours below, or you can check out or website for a more detailed schedule!

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Streetmosphere’s Spotlight

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Rocky Mountain High School Spotlight and Syrens performs at Oak St. Plaza on Friday

Nothing kicks off your summer like a Streetmosphere performance! At least, it did for Rocky Mountain High Schools Spotlight and Syrens Jazz group. These very talented youg musicians kicked off their performances right in Downtown under a big blue banner, welcoming all ages to sit and listen. Though the temperature approached the low 90’s and Taste of Fort Collins called visitors on, people were more than willing to stop and listen.

Crowds also gathered by Moe’s Barbeque to listen to the catchy tunes of the Honey Gitters, a bluegrass band with attitude. Although there are only four band members, they create a monstruous sound, and it’s something you can’t help but stamp your feet to!

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Just a couple of friends…

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A member of C.R.O.M.A tap dances while the band plays old-time music.

Beet Street’s second weekend of Streetmosphere performances brought people to the street and dancing to their feet in Old Town Fort Collins.

The Central Rockies Old Time Music Association, also known as C.R.O.M.A., played in Oak Street Plaza Saturday evening. With their tent nestled neatly to the side, the group left plenty of room for dancing in the plaza.

The members of C.R.O.M.A. describe themselves as just a couple of friends playing music together. On Saturday, the music of the group’s three fiddles, two banjos, guitar, and cello attracted audiences of all ages to the square. The musicians all tapped their feet in synchronization to the music and to each other, and one of the banjo players occasionally took the stage to do some tap dancing of her own. She invited the audience to join in on all of the foot tapping, and soon enough the plaza was filled with people line dancing and clapping along to the music.

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Come Out and Move Your Feet!

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This past weekend, Downtown was full of music, art, and dance, with the arrival of our Streetmosphere performers! The community also felt the need to be out in the sun, and many people stopped to have a look or a listen. In particular, they stopped to dance! On Saturday, the wonderful group Dance Express lead the charge, pictured here with some of their props. Moving with the music, their joy and dedication spread out towards Old Town Square, where children took to the piano and drum sounds of Viewsic, dancing across the plaza, jumping and twirling, some even singing along. Other groups inspired the dancing of an older generation, who, though they knew more steps than the youngsters, had just as much fun! So, please, make sure you get out this weekend, and come join us for a dance!

Week Number 2: A Sign Of Things To Come!

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People filled the streets of Old Town this weekend, taking in the various acts that Streemosphere had to offer. The second week of the festival was a successful one, complete with sunshine that brought in swarms of people stopping to witness the action.

On Friday, Staci Tomazewski and her marimba were a definite crowd pleaser. People lined the sidewalk on the corner of Mountain and College to listen to her play, a few kids even joined in and learned a thing or two. Staci’s set created a laidback atmosphere that the audience could not help but respond to. The unique sounds and look of the marimba caused even those passing by to turn their heads, completely enthralled by the performance.

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Here Comes the Sun, and Streetmosphere!

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After a few grey days full of much needed moisture, it was wonderful to see the sun come out in support of out first weekend out with Streetmosphere! In Oak Street Plaza, the sound of jazzy rhythms and sweet voices filled the air. Not only did the Crosson Sloniker Consort draw in a crowd to listen, but added to the ambiance of the plaza. Children, equally happy to be out in the sunshine, ran and played in the fountains, walked with their parents, and explored Downtown, all to the serenade of cool jazz. The band was engaging and friendly, as all of our performers are, and totally willing to pause their set in order to talk with a community member or listen for a request. Seeing the community come alive, with a big blue banner drawing them in, was amazing, a great end to our first weekend out! Can’t wait to see what happens next. Be prepared, there’s a surprise around every corner.