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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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Picturing Change

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Dr. Gary Huibregtse of CSU

There probably aren’t enough adjectives to convey the speed at which technology is changing and growing. Trust me, I used my amazing, blindingly fast, infinite online re-sources to check. In addition to computers, communications and cars – wait, we still don’t have flying cars – Dr. Gary Huibregtse will tell you just how much the field of photography has advanced in recent years.
As department coordinator of photography at Colorado State University for the past 26 years, Huibregtse has experienced the changes. This Wednesday, Jan. 26, he will present “The More Things Change” for the monthly Art Café at Avo’s from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
“The rest of that sentence is ‘the more things stay the same,’” he adds, explaining that the same holds true for the medium of image making. While the advances in the past ten to twelve years are monumental, the professor feels photography has remained true as a means of recording our visual history.
“There’s still a relationship between a photograph and the world we see. It’s phenomenal,” he says. He also relishes the expanding capabilities for publishing photography.

In spite of the rapidly increasing changes in digital imaging, computer platforms, and photo editing software,

Image near Green River, WY, taken by Huibregtse.

Huibregtse harbors concerns that the storage of image data is not keeping pace with the technology. On a personal scale, we used to worry about res-cuing decades of photo albums if our house was on fire. Now, we fear a complete computer crash that could potentially wipe out proof of our children’s formative years. Okay, maybe that’s just me. (Note to self: buy a new backup drive immediately.)

Dr. Huibregtse is currently showing his own photographic artwork — and undoubtedly storing it more effectively than I – at the Robischon Gallery in Denver while teaching CSU’s art students about change and history. As we all know, they’re inextricably entwined.
Are you keeping up with change or do you like things to remain the same? And wouldn’t a flying car in Ft. Collins be fabulous?

Written by Susan Richards

January 25th, 2011 at 11:40 am

FCMOCA becomes FCMOA and exhibits a legend

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“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed and is, thereby a true manifestation of what one feels about life in its entirety.”  -Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

The Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art is now the Fort Collins Museum of Art and to celebrate this transformation the museum is hosting an American legend. Currently, MOA is exhibiting Ansel Adams: Masterworks from the Collection of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California.

The exhibit not only represents some of Ansel Adams most famous photographs, the artist handpicked this particular collection as some of his personal favorites. Adams, born on February 20, 1902 in San Francisco, California, was the only child of a businessman and grandson of a wealthy timber baron. The family lost their fortune in 1907, and Adams’ father was never able to gain it back.

Not particularly successful in school Adams loved the outdoors. At age 12, Adams began playing the piano and by 1920 he had set on this activity as a career path. It was not to be. In 1919, Adams had joined the Sierra Club and he took a lot of photographs during his time working for the club in Yosemite. His first published photographs appeared in the club’s bulletin.

You can find out more about Adams’ life at the museum’s display, which includes a timeline of his life and work on the walls of the exhibit room. Get an in depth look at the artist at www.anseladams.com.

At the opening night of the Adams’ exhibit, the crowd learned that it has been 30 years since Fort Collins has seen an art exhibit of this kind. In 1981, Andy Warhol exhibited at Colorado State University.

Ryan Keiffer, Executive Director of Beet Street spoke at the event, and stressed that it is important to for Fort Collins residents to see the city as an arts community, not just for outsiders to consider Fort Collins as an arts community.

Melissa Katsimpalis, president of the museum board, spoke about the new mission of the museum. She said the museum board listened to the community and realized that they needed to broaden their horizons and feature “a variety of arts across the ages.” The museum wants their new logo, a black and white design by Anne Vetter, to express that they are a vibrant organization. “We believe this new logo will stand the test of time,” said Katsimpalis.

The Ansel Adams exhibit is upstairs in the main gallery, but when you visit don’t miss the Michael Gregory show downstairs. Gregory’s work, colorful paintings featuring gigantic skyscapes and decapitated barn buildings, is definitely in contrast with Adams’ black and white photography, yet the art is connected. Both men enjoyed capturing the scenery that depicts the American experience. The simultaneous shows work well together.

Both exhibits run through March 15, 2011. The Fort Collins Museum of Art is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesdays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, and $5 for children ages 7 to 18. Children 6 and under are free. Admission is free for museum members.

For more information about the museum, including membership, visit www.fcmoca.org.

Stories Without Words- Experiencing Life through Art and Ourselves

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Long gone are the days when stories were read aloud to us- now we have Previously on Lost…

Long gone are the days when stories were read aloud to us- now we have "Previously on Lost…"

We typically hear stories nowadays from movies, radio songs or television shows. Long gone are the days when stories were read aloud to us- now we have “Previously on Lost…” As children, stories were everywhere. We made up elaborate imaginary worlds with the help of our friends, or maybe even snuck in a daydream at our desks in class. It seemed that every little thing was a new story, inspired by a stray dog in the street or a cloud in the sky. And while T.V. plots are entertaining, and can be considered art in themselves, they sometimes do not feel real. We may find ourselves jealous of today’s children’s vivid imaginations, and their ability to take common images and turn them into stories that seem so real. Here in Fort Collins, artists are tuning into the connection between what we see and what we experience, creating ways to display stories all around us.

After attending the Center for Fine Art Photography’s exhibition titled “Documentary,” the concept of visual storytelling become better defined. A form of photojournalism, documentary style photography seeks to capture objective, truthful moments with little or no embellishments. The goal of the image is to create the sensation of being a fly on a wall, so that the viewer feels like they were actually present in the moment. On the Center for Fine Art Photography website, you can preview just a few photographs from the exhibit. One picture that reached out to me was a photograph of something so simple- a gun lying on a carpeted floor. You can see how the rug lay just off center in the room, such a typical human error, and the composition of the photo makes it feel like you are glancing down at the object, the only person in the room. All the images from this exhibit may not look like your own home, or even reflect your own experiences, yet they seem so natural that you are automatically transported to that place, and you are part of that experience. In essence, they tell a story that you inherently play a role in, much the same as a book or a movie.

Ed Kashi, a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator who judged the “Documentary” exhibition, notes that to their subjects photographers have “a tremendous sense of responsibility to tell the truth but also to also honor their stories.” It is clear that the artists displayed in this exhibit have fulfilled that obligation. “Documentary” is now closed (online exhibit still available), but look for other opportunities to see forms of visual storytelling at future exhibitions.

At home, in my own environment, I can see the objects scattered about my house, like my dog’s tattered lounge bed or my favorite DVD sitting on a shelf in my entertainment center. There are already so many memories associated with these things, and I have many more to create as I move forward in the future. Storytelling comes in the most commonplace images, as well as the most complex ones. If something can be said for storytelling, it should not neglect the stories that can be seen all around us. Whether a story starts as a visual adventure, or through spoken word, we can all find ways to see ourselves through the interpretation of art and experience.

Here are some other ways to experience visual storytelling in Fort Collins this week:
Andy Warhol Exhibit
Start your Lunch with an Art Break
Art in Public Places Initiative

Enterprising creativity

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Enterprise: from entreprendre to undertake, a project or undertaking that is especially difficult, complicated, or risky; readiness to engage in daring or difficult action; initiative; a unit of economic organization or activity; a systematic purposeful activity.

As we have discussed in previous posts about the creative economy and creative communities, at the center of these phenomena lie partnerships between enterprise and creativity, or at least creative and entrepreneurial agents. Such partnerships are also connections between the work we do and the people we are. Many entrepreneurs are highly creative people and many creatives people are also enterprising. That is, both groups take into their own hands (undertake) work they see in need of completion. These people see needs many of us do not; they are also compelled to jump into these voids, in a spirit of true creativity, in order to meet such needs. They spark conversations with their risk taking, and in doing so, open up new conversations about how we should think and be together. Some are driven by the imagination of individuals, others by familial bonds, but all by a deep passionate commitment to making a part of the world just a little more livable for all of us.

In these late modern times, we are so concerned with the economic dimensions of society that we see entrepreneurial activity in terms of start-up businesses and industrial clusters. Indeed, it does not take much to see all the entrepreneurial sprouts in green technology in Fort Collins. All of them innovative ideas driven by pressing social and economic needs, both here and abroad. These creative enterprises (yes, creative, because they are bringing to life new forms) are highly vulnerable and like most creative enterprises and entrepreneurs of old, dependent on benefactors and sponsors for their continuing production. To keep their creative and economic fires burning, they organize in clusters such as RMI2, Clean Tech, and Bio.

Artists also, no matter of what stripe, seek the same cluster of familiarity in order to support each other in their fragile early careers as we have discussed in terms of the diverse artist groups and collectives that exist in Northern Colorado.  For example, in a small arcade on Oak Street, near the Taj Mahal, a new gallery called Leap of Faith Fine Art Gallery features a diverse group of upcoming artists, offering them a chance to display their work for low fees. There is local photography by Mike Murphy, Paul Weber and James Leveillee; original paintings from David Fedeli, Dave Reiter, Don Brown, Bereniche Aguiar and Connie Uroze; as well as ceramic sculpture from Don Campbell, alabaster by Karin Troendle and hand crafted oil candles by Lady D. My son fell in love with a river scene coffee table by Robert Franklin while the work of Georgia Rowswell inspired me. Stop by and check out their work! Leap of Faith is currently running a ‘people’s choice’ contest with different works of art until the end of June. Each artist in the contest submits a piece for $5 and then the public votes on their choice. The winner is awarded the pot of submissions! These contests are held every 2 months, so if you would like to enter, contact the folks at Leap of Faith at 970.493.LEAP or leapoffaith@q.com.

Finally, there is perhaps a quintessential meeting of enterprising creativity at the French Nest Market, held in the Civic Center Park from 9am to 3 pm every second Saturday between July and October (July 11th, August 8th, September 12th, and October 10th). It’s the allure of Paris in the springtime transported to Northern Colorado, featuring an open-air vintage, antique, and artisan market. As Alissa Bush, co-owner puts it, “It’s a destination. A place where you can spend the entire morning; a little shopping, a little eating….” So, if you are interested in vintage, antique, new, unique, funky, homemade, handmade, or otherwise made goods and if you’re local, eco-friendly, and/or ultra-hip, the French Nest Open-Air Market may be just the place for you! The French Nest group of entrepreneurs will take care of the enterprise part so you can do the creative part and get your work known in Northern Colorado! For more information, email info@thefrenchnestmarket.com.

I hope to see you there!

With thanks to Bob.Fornal and tanakawho for their wonderful images :)

Here’s to enterprising creativity in everyday life!

Kirsten Broadfoot

Key Concepts : Creative Industries

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Last week, I wrote about creative economy, and although there’s a lot more to say and think about, today, I’m wondering about the products that make up the creative economy.  The United Kingdom’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport defines creative industries as, “those activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.”  While a creative product may exist as a physical entity (think paper, film, computer disk…), its value is in its meaning and what it represents—its content.  The content/information of a creative product is boundless, but that content/information defines its value. Creativeclusters.org offers a good example, “Even with a designer T-shirt or a piece of [jewelry], it’s the style, the design that counts, not the cloth or the metal.”

This past weekend, on the Lower East side, New York, several artists and community organizations opened an exhibition, that puts this concept to the test.  HomeBase IV, is an exhibition in a vacant medical clinic.  This is not an exhibition of art created somewhere else and then transported into a pristine, neutral gallery for contemplation.  A lot of what you can see in HomeBase IV, was created from materials found in the existing space.  The creative product, the process, the content, and the experience of visiting the site give the project value.

“’When we arrived, it had nothing in it,’ said Leor Grady, the curatorial and programming director of the project.  ‘It smelled like a combination of mildew, chemicals, medical waste and sheet rock.’  Even after a cleaning, the worn peachy-beige walls, industrial carpeting and fluorescent lighting retain a sterility that serves as a palette for the sometimes unsettling works.”

A variety of artists collaborated to explore the notion of “home,” in this specific space (unused clinic) and to engage the residents of a changing neighborhood.  This means that the artists met together, talked, read, and interacted with the public to determine what would happen in the space, as well as worked to design what a visitor can see.  (See images) All at once, the meaning for the project/action is in the process and its space–the product becomes spatial, as it connects people, place, and time.  Gone is the presumption that art=object, or that art can only exist isolated from community in a building labeled as gallery or museum.  As reported in the New York Times, one of the artists, Paul Sepuya, a Brooklyn photographer of Ugandan descent eloquently describes his reality and makes his experience tangible.  “I thought it would be interesting to apply the idea of home as spatial,” he says. “When you’re not at home, it’s constructed by your family’s stories.”  His contribution to the exhibition includes portraits of friends and neighbors who like him, have some association with Uganda—a “home” that Sepuya has never visited!  Another artist, Dafna Shalom took photos of men in the neighborhood who reminded her of her father — a hand here, a hairstyle there.  Our realities are often constructed through small gestures that we don’t notice, but become intriguing when we stop and think.  If a smelly, unused, and dingy health clinic in New York, can be reinvented as a site for building community and thinking about the meaning of “home,” what are we overlooking?

Creative economy is driven by creative industry.  Products are reorganized from seeming non-existence, although the ideas and materials may already have been there.  Ideas are what transforms materials and what can transform people, neighborhoods, cities, and towns!  There are lots of creative spaces and events that promote thinking in and about Fort Collins.  This week we can think about caring for each other by simply eating out to help United Way of Larimer County.  Later in the week, think about places that used to be here but only exist as fading away signs painted on buildings in Old Town, or join others to think about an area of Fort Collins that will grow in the future.  You can contemplate exhibitions about Dreams, Floating Worlds, and art made by senior citizens.  Perhaps you’ll ride the trolley and think about public transport, or learn more about the public art that helps create a sense of place in our city.  All the details are at www.visitfortcollins.com!

The whole world is a museum without walls!

Thanks for the photographs No Trams To Lime Street, MacRonin47, and hoggardb.

Deborah Lombard