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Archive for the ‘celebration’ tag

Summer Sights and Sounds in Fort Collins

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What’s happening this weekend in Fort Collins?

Well, perhaps you’re a regular participant in First Friday, Old Town Fort Collins, but if you just keep planning to see what it’s all about and don’t manage to get there, this Friday is the next opportunity for you to join in!  On the first Friday of every month between 6-9 p.m., Old Town Fort Collins galleries keep their doors open so that you can see what’s going on with a self-guided tour. The participating Downtown Business Association Member Galleries are Art on Mountain, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Illustrated Light Gallery, Lincoln Center Galleries, Meko’s Gallery & Framing, and Trimble Court Artisans.  Leap of Faith is also participating and Georgia Rowswell will be there this weekend to meet people…. Where you go and what you choose to see is up to you–get your map here! As John Updike says, “what art offers is space–a certain breathing room for the spirit.” So this Friday, take time to make space and allow the arts in Fort Collins to feed your spirit. First Friday Gallery Walk provides a great way to engage with and celebrate creativity.

"Slide" by Daryl Price

"Slide" by Daryl Price

Have you noticed that no matter how many times you stroll through Old Town, there’s always something to explore?  For example, this Friday evening, Trimble Court Artisans presents a new exhibition of Colorado Miniatures by artist Patsy Barry. At The Center for Fine Art Photography, you can also see the photographs of 39 artists from 4 countries, selected by Chris Jordan for the Works of Man exhibition and experience Poetry Night in the cafe.  If you’d like to take a “peek” at the kind of art and furniture Fort Collins area residents collect, see the exhibition Fort Collins Collects, at FCMOCA. Then, over at Old Town Art and Framery, you can see the original painting used for this year’s Fort Collins Jazz Experience poster and meet the artist Daryl Price at a special reception.  As Peggy Lyle, from the Downtown Business Association, says, “The image is a perfect example of how jazz can transcend music and blossom into many art forms, making jazz a subculture and way of thought.  It perfectly embodies the Fort Collins Jazz Experience’s mission and emphasis.” The list goes on. . .  You could visit the new gallery Kirsten wrote about last week — Leap of Faith on Oak Street, or plan to enjoy the summer evening by listening to local jazz musician Kenny Workman, the scheduled performer for Benny and Jerry’s FAC Concert Series. Old Town Square isn’t the only place to listen to music on Friday night either.  All over Fort Collins you can hear cool sounds, including the The Poudre River Irregulars and Heidi and the Rhythm Rollers at Avo’s, and All that Jazz: Kevin Kerrick and Friends over at The Tap Room (@ Catalyst).  Get more details at the Fort Collins Convention and Visitors Bureau website.

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
~Erma Bombeck
This weekend is of course Independence Day and Fort Collins’ residents have celebrated community style for generations. On Saturday the 4th in the Fort, if you’re an early riser, don’t miss the local balloon launch at 5:30 a.m. (weather dependent).  There’s also the Firekracker 5k (8:30 a.m.) and kids’ run starting in City Park, along with the 29th Annual Old Timer’s Game at 9:30 a.m. Later, you can head off to Old Town Square and Civic Center Park where festivities kick off at 11 a.m.  There’s something for everyone in the line up for this family celebration with activities and entertainment in Civic Center Park (LaPorte and Mason). Music, gymnastics, a petting zoo, and craft booths are part of the fun of celebrating Independence Day together with neighbors, friends and other residents.  What’s a summer celebration without food, snocones, hotdogs, and a pie eating contest (12:30) to follow?  For the younger crowd, there’ll also be bounce castles, Mountain Kids performances, and hands on games!  The soundtrack to all this fun will come from the Poudre River Irregulars’ Dixieland and Jazz, Mojomama‘s hip shakin’ grooves and the Fort Collins Symphony’s special 4th of July performance.
Of course, in Old Town Square you’ll need blankets, lawn chairs, and sunscreen to enjoy the sunshine, beer garden, and free performances all afternoon until the fireworks finale in City Park.  Celebrate this great big Independence Day bash with Archie Funker, an 11 piece Funky Horn Band, The Delta Sonics, Chicago Style Blues & Swing, and Soul Proprietor, Funk and Soul.  Beginning at dusk, fireworks over City Park Lake will cap off the day.  You can use the free Transfort shuttle service from Downtown Transit Center and CSU Moby Arena parking lot.  Rides begin at 6:30 p.m.
The music won’t just be for the 4th either. This year, a new FREE downtown concert series will keep the music playing in Old Town Square all summer long.  The Old Town Sunday Sounds concert series is planned for Sundays, 2-4 p.m. from July 5 through August 30.  This week, solo artist Kyle Sullivan of SoulFeel initiates the showcase of local performers.  So, you can support local talent, and look forward to Sunday afternoons full of Rockabilly, Rock, Bluegrass, Country, and more!
Make life a celebration!
Thanks for the fireworks photo rosepetal236!
Deborah Lombard

Curiosity and Creativity: The Hidden Gems of Communities

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Last week when I interviewed Tom Borrup and he discussed the impact of globalization as well as the ways in which all communities have often untapped and obscured pockets of creativity, I was reminded of the ways in which my own community manages to surprise me on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Recently I read a research brief by Maria Rosario Jackson on the impacts on arts on communities. Sometimes we think that the creativity of a community lives in artist neighborhoods, amateur arts practices and companies, even audience participation in downtown venues and events; but in fact, creativity lives and runs through not only these events but some more ‘mundane’ places and practices as well. For both Tom Borrup and Maria Rosario Jackson, these pockets of everyday cultural creativity are reservoirs for the creative spirit and presence of multicultural diversity in ‘our homes’.  They can be festivals, gatherings, community celebrations, informal but recurrent gatherings in parks and community centers, church based artistic activities — anything that maintains and invents group traditions. As Maria Rosario Jackson puts it, these are ” often important aspects of communities that go overlooked and are missed only when they are gone.”

These simpler forms of community arts and creativity provide important grounding devices for newcomers as well — they communicate home, help build social capital and individual as well as collective efficacy in terms of making a home for one’s family. They also socialize newcomers into dimensions of work and the working life of the community, mitigate crime and improve public safety. I remember living in Japan and even in the early hours of the morning, there were always lights on in houses, people out in the streets talking and walking. You were never alone. Someone was always watching for you. You were always safe.

When we first moved to Fort Collins, we lived in Colorado State University Village where many international families make their homes. The same sense of community prevails there also. Residents attend multicultural events, celebrating all their diverse cultures; children learn new games and ways of working with diverse others and languages; residents share belongings, food, toys, children run around all day between the buildings, in and out of homes, gardens and communal spaces. Everyone shares in the responsibility of the community.

This weekend I went to the International Children’s Carnival and as always, I am amazed at the diversity of people present. Sometimes when I attend these events, I can barely believe that this is the Fort Collins in which I live. The rich tapestry of peoples, languages and performances that surrounds me at these events ground myself and my family in what we consider ‘our world home’ and remind us of the often unseen gems of our community. Over the course of April, we encourage you to take some detours in your everyday life and walk some less familiar paths, sharing in some diverse celebrations of art, crafts, narrative, architecture and performance. Just this week alone, the Traveling Heritage Quilt Project presences itself in our community, there is our usual First Friday Gallery Walk on the 3rd, the Fort Collins Museum and Open Stage Theatre present “The Move to Fort Collins – Local History Stories of Immigration” and we celebrate the first open house of the Museo de las Tres Colonias this Saturday. Finally, OpenStage Theatre & Company begins their season of Anon(ymous) which will run over the course of this month.

Remember…Wherever you go, there you are!

With thanks to strollerdos and Ana Carol Mendes for their wonderful images!

Kirsten Broadfoot