Art on display during local tour

Lovers of all kinds of shopping, of the night and of artwork are invited to shake off the mid-winter doldrums with a walk through historic downtown Craig and several businesses that are members of the Downtown Business Association.

Nineteen local businesses and 23 artists have partnered to give each a boost during the fifth annual Art Lovers Walk. The art walk will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at businesses along Yampa Avenue.

Several years ago, members of the Downtown Business Association (DBA) were concerned about the lack of local activities through the winter months. They wanted to help residents overcome symptoms of "cabin fever" by providing a free activity. Members hit on the idea of displaying local artists' work in downtown businesses to give both participants more exposure.

"We thought it would be a good idea for artists to meet business people who might display their work," said event organizer Linda Booker, who owns On The Shelf bookstore. "It also brings people downtown and reminds them there are businesses downtown they may have forgotten."

The event has been successful from the beginning. The first year, despite formidable snow drifts and 16 degrees below zero temperatures, more than 250 people attended. Since then, the event has routinely drawn 200 to 250 people.

This year, more artists than the event has ever had will put their work on display.

"The artists turnout is probably better than it's ever been," Booker said. "The event is definitely growing."

Several artists who have never displayed their work at the art walk have chosen to participate.

The art walk is more of a benefit to artists and residents than businesses, Booker said. People stop in each business to see the artwork on display, look around, but rarely buy anything. But that's OK, she said, because that's not the purpose of the event.

"We just really feel that it's a lot of fun," she said.

Some businesses will have drinks and snacks for visitors and there will be live music at others. Booker said the event is different each year because the artists and the businesses are pretty much free to do what they want. This year, three artists will actually put on painting demonstrations.

The event is free. People are welcome to start the tour at any business and finish at any business.

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