Art festival set for Aug. 2-3

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The city of Craig is preparing to host its first-ever Sagebrush Art Festival Aug. 2-3.

The event will take place downtown both days and includes a judged art show, a judged paint-out, sidewalk chalk art and glass blowing.

The art show will feature more than 35 area artists competing in either the advanced amateur or professional divisions, in five categories sculpture/pottery, oil, water/acrylic, pastels and drawing.

A $500 Best of Show will be awarded in the professional division, and a $250 Best of Show will be awarded in the advanced amateur division.

First-place prizes also will be awarded in each of the five individual categories

The artists will be showing their work on Aug. 3 at what was formerly the Rose of Sharon Quilt Shop, located at 485 Yampa Avenue.

Professional artist James Biggers will judge the show. Biggers has shown his own work in regional and national juried exhibitions as well as invitational shows throughout the country. He resides and paints in Larimer County's Poudre Canyon.

Saturday's events also include a paint out, in which 12 artists, using their preferred medium, will set up on the sidewalks of downtown Craig and draw or paint the building of their choice. Biggers will judge those entries at 5 p.m. and the Downtown Business Association will purchase the winning entry for $300, provided the artist chooses to sell his or her painting or drawing.

A glass blower also will demonstrate his art in the parking lot of the Rose of Sharon Quilt Shop on Aug. 3.

The Sagebrush Art Festival is inviting children to come downtown to take part in sidewalk chalk drawings on Aug. 2. The festival also will host an artists reception that night.

On the Shelf Bookstore's Linda Booker, who helped coordinate the event, said the Sagebrush Art Festival came about as an indirect offspring of Craig's February Artwalk.

"Probably about a year ago, the director of the Community Foundation decided to try to get an art grant through the National Endowment for the Arts for our Artwalk," Booker said. "So she wrote for an art grant for the Downtown Business Association for $5,000. But we didn't need that much money. We ended up using around $1,000. So we thought, 'We need to something, and we need to go ahead and promote art in Craig.' So we just sort of brain stormed it, and came up with this idea of having an art show sometime in the summer when people need something to do."

Booker said there is good reason to attend the Sagebrush Art Festival.

"I think people need to see what there is offered in this community," she said. "It's another kind of well-kept secret. We have so many artists in this area. I've been really amazed at how many artists that I didn't realize we even had here, who are showing up. It's been pretty exciting. These are not all local artists, but area residents make up the vast majority. All but four are from Meeker, Hayden and Craig."

Nadine Daszkiewicz, the president of the Downtown Business Association and owner of the Kitchen Shop, said the festival would provide a prime opportunity to view local artwork.

"We have a lot of very good local talent," Daszkiewicz said. "We have people entering from other towns also, but there is a lot of unappreciated local talent that people need to come and see."

Booker said the festival would also offer a new option for residents.

"I think people need to know there is something else to do," Booker said. "The complaint you hear about Craig is that there's nothing to do here. Well, we're trying to help by giving them something to do. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I really do."

The Sagebrush Art Festival also includes an artist workshop at Colorado Northwestern Community College, featuring Biggers, Aug. 4-5. The workshop is open to the public and counts towards CNCC credit. The workshop will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

The Craig Downtown Business Association, the Northwest Colorado Community Foundation, Colorado Northwestern Community College and the National Endowment for the Arts are sponsors of the Sagebrush Art Festival.

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