Yampa Avenue, downtown Craig abuzz with Art, Apps & Ales
The sometimes sleepy historic downtown Yampa Avenue area experienced an artful awakening as visitors enjoyed all the sights, tastes and sounds of Northwest Colorado Arts Council’s first Art, Apps and Ales event Saturday, May 11.
Inside Museum of Northwest Colorado, the event’s first stop, more than 100 guests checked-in, picked up swag bags and custom event ale-tasting glasses, and headed upstairs to view the free Masterpieces of Moffat County Art Show featuring works of art from 12 local artists.
“I’m thrilled with the turnout, it’s nice to see people in the museum just enjoying the features; not only the art show, but just the other wonderful exhibits they have in here,” said Northwest Colorado Arts Council President Melanie Kilpatrick.
The Museum of Northwest Colorado, one of the event’s partners, removed and stored most of the permanent second floor exhibits to transform the top level into the council’s free art show.
“I think that’s one of the greatest things we can do is collaborate with other people in the community,” Kilpatrick said. “It’s a win for us and it’s a win for the museum to get people out and about.”
Other Art, Apps and Ales event partners included the Barrel Cathedral Brewery, Grit Girls Eatery, Gino’s Pizzeria & Italian, Carelli’s Pizzeria, the Craig Press, KS Kreations and the Moffat County Tourism Association.
Upstairs at the museum, artists Janele Husband and Barbara Wilaby, and other artists, were on hand to chat with admirers about their creations during an opening night artist meet and greet.
“The feedback has been really positive,” Husband said. “It’s great to see so many people out, because this is such a quality museum. Hopefully there will be some sales of work here and the museum will get a commission. It’s really a win-win for the artists and the museum.”
The Masterpieces of Moffat County Art Show will continue during museum hours through Saturday, May 18.
Outside the museum, guests payed games and stopped to take photos in Alice Pleasant Park, while listening to the musical sounds of Wet Juan, also known as John Husband.
It was not uncommon to see visitors walking past area Yampa Avenue shops with empty ale glasses in hand Saturday. One of those people was Brett Sperl.
“Any time we have an event in Craig, my wife and I always try to support it. It’s just nice to see everybody out,” Sperl said. “We won today, so we’re celebrating.”
Not all of the afternoon events went exactly according to plan. There was one hiccup the morning of the event regarding Barrel Cathedral, Kilpatrick said. Still, she said her team, including board members and volunteers, rolled with the punches and made the best of it.
“We were hoping to offer a sneak peak inside, but they had a snag at the brewery and weren’t able to get their occupancy permit, so we were scrambling this morning, but we got it all consolidated in between Carelli’s and Gino’s and everything seems to be going well,” she said.
Yampa Valley Brewing Company, owners of the soon-to-be completed downtown Barrel Cathedral Brewery, provided multiple beer tastings to Art, Apps & Ales patrons at each restaurant location.
Suzy Pattillo, a Routt County artist and one of the featured artists in the Masterpieces of Moffat County Art Show, sang the praises of Craig’s inaugural Art, Apps and Ales event.
“I love it, I think it’s great that we can walk around, drink beer and socialize,” Pattillo said. “It’s totally different, it seems like, than the Steamboat kind of art walk. I hate (the Steamboat Art Walk) with a passion because people are so fake over there. That’s why I belong to the Northwest Arts Council in Craig because people are down to earth here.”
Reflecting on the success of the first Art, Apps and Ales event, Kilpatrick said she hopes more residents will begin to see how important art is to any local community.
“i think art is one of those overlooked things that can have an incredible influence on our economy,” she said. “We have the artists here — it’s just giving them a network to collaborate and get in and showcase their work. So we’re just going to keep building that network and showcasing what we can do and hopefully add some economic growth to downtown as well.”
With a show within a show, the actors of Craig Middle School are learning the value of stepping out of their comfort zones.