Craig artists consider creation of cultural center; community invited to Visionary Night during Art Walk | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig artists consider creation of cultural center; community invited to Visionary Night during Art Walk

CRAIG — One of the most popular winter activities in Craig will see the addition of a third event and contest for artists.

The Northwest Colorado Arts Council will present the Yampa Building Arts & Cultural Center Visionary Night from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at 775 Yampa Ave.

The event will showcase the historic Yampa Building to explore its potential value as an art and cultural center in conjunction with the 24th annual Art Walk and 13th annual Taste of Chocolate, presented by Downtown Business Association.

"It will be an engaging, interactive experience between gallery art, performance art, music, community art, ceramics demonstrations, fiber demonstrations, body art demonstrations, street art, metal art, paleontology, and more to really highlight the arts and culture of the area," said Melanie Kilpatrick, arts council secretary. "We also wanted to demonstrate that different groups can work together to enhance each other’s events."

With the help of the Anson family, the arts council said romantic sleigh rides will run between the Center of Craig and the Yampa Building.

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To incentivize artist participation, as well as engage the public, the council has helped DBA add a people's choice contest.

Applications may be obtained on the council’s Facebook page or by emailing nwcartscouncil@gmail.com.

All artists, no matter where they display for the evening, will select one piece to be clearly identified for the people's choice award and selected by public voting at the Yampa building.

"DBA has been awesome and very welcoming for all of our input," said Christopher "CJ" Skowronski, arts council treasurer.

Kilpatrick said the council's goal is to act as a resource while offering fresh perspectives.

"More people helping out is a benefit to both parties," she said.

The Yampa Building was completed in 1925 and was used as a school for students in first through eighth grade before it was repurposed as the central office for school district administration.

Interest in its venue — the Yampa Building, at 775 Yampa — is increasing, as the school district's departure is about six months away.

"Our hope is the Moffat County School District is willing to deed over the building to another government entity and then lease the building back, similar to the Luttrell Barn," Kilpatrick said.

To be successful, such a venture would require government and community support, as well as "out-of-the-box creative funding," she said.

It's an effort arts council leaders say will begin not with fundraising but with showcasing the building.

"Our main focus was to bring all the artists out of hiding, bring them to the public arena, and show that it is a resource for them," said Solomon Herrera, arts council president.

"We think it's about connecting the dots. This community has so much inherent talent, a center allows us to wrap it all together," Skowronski added.

Visionary night in the building will give visitors and artists an opportunity to not only imagine, but also see and experience the space in a new way.

"When we heard of the building, it fits our focus," Herrera said.

But the council might have competition.

"We are aware that Memorial Regional Health is looking at the building. We support having a substance abuse treatment program. We question if that location and building is the best fit," Kilpatrick said.

"There isn't a lack of awesome unused space. We are creative with how we could use space, if someone is willing to work with us," Skowronski said.

What the council doesn’t want to see is the building torn down.

"There is a lot of emotional connection to the building," Herrera said.

If the building is scooped up by another interest, the group is prepared to wait for the right fit elsewhere.

"It doesn't stop us with continuing the vision of bringing artists to our community," Kilpatrick said.

The arts council's long-term goal is the formation of a creative arts district.

“You have to have a certain number of working artists in your town and the support of the municipality,” Herrera said. "In our area, people have to see it, touch it, and experience it."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Yampa Building Arts & Cultural Center Visionary Night

The Northwest Colorado Arts Council will present an evening at the historic Yampa Building to explore its potential value as an Art & Cultural Center.

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 9 in collaboration with Art Walk and Taste of Chocolate

Where: 775 Yampa Ave.

Contact: nwcartscouncil@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/NWCArtsCouncil/

Phone: 970-819-5254, chairperson Solomon Herrera

— An open call for artists to exhibit at the Feb. 9 event has been extended and now closes Feb. 4.