CARBONDALE — If one word describes Carbondale Mountain Fair art, it’s vibrant.
From the brightly-dyed fabric art Carbondale police wear in their peace patrols to bold-hued kinetic sculptures moving in the wind, prismatic art encompasses the annual community fair.
New this year to the Carbondale Council on Art and Humanities (CCAH) main fundraising event is a collective of colorful handcrafted paintings and mountain-urban style clothing from a Paonia, Colo., artists’ collective.
Participating Paonia Co-op artists include Robin Paz, founder of Foxy Moron, who showcased her designs in Carbondale at the CCAH’s Green is the New Black upcycled fashion show in March. Also featured at the North Fork Valley artists’ booth are handmade leather vests, dresses and moccasins and multi-media found art pieces such as clocks and paintings.
“Paonia Co-op has lots of fun, creative work, kind of like the very popular CCAH Local Artists’ Gallery,” said Marianne Ackerman, Mountain Fair vendor liaison, of Carbondale.
With nearly 20 Western Slope creatives featured, CCAH’s valley artists’ booth is always a popular draw, said Deb Colley, CCAH operations manager, who helps organize the juried art fair with gallery manager Pam Taylor.
“It features a strong array of artists from the Roaring Fork Valley,” Colley said.
Valley artists featured at the booth include Colley’s visual artist brother, Brian, of Carbondale, winner of this year’s Mountain Fair Poster Contest People’s Choice Award. Carbondale visual artist and musician Kurtis Sparrow was the overall winner, and his work is featured on T-shirts and posters available at the fair.
Deb Colley said Sparrow’s design best demonstrated Mountain Fair’s theme, “Wild at Heart: Celebrating Our People, Town, and Wilderness,” honoring the Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary.
“His design included 50 hearts, bees, a fox, an owl, a figurative Mt. Sopris, and so much more detail,” she said.
Also highlighted at the artists’ booth is Mary Cervantes, Lisa Dresback, Launa Eddy, Laine Fabijanic, Asha Ironwood, Peg Malloy, Paul Markham, Ro Mead, Marlane Miller, Judy Milne, Terry Muldoon, Penelope Olson, Pam Porter, Carla Reed, Eli. D. Riecks, and Philip Hone Williams. An opening reception for the artists takes place from 6-7 p.m. today at CCAH’s R2 gallery in Third Street Center, 520 Third St.
Hosting vendor booths with Colorado artists from the Roaring Fork and North Fork valleys adds to Mountain Fair’s distinctive art-focused appeal, Ackerman said. She noted another point of interest in this year’s field of booth art vendors — variety.
“Some are full-time, professional artists who are on the road for many months selling their art at different fairs, while others are just getting into the art fair world or are local artists who only participate in Mountain Fair,” Ackerman said.
Returning artists to the fair, who travel throughout the year to juried shows, include Cyndi Buck, of Idledale, Colo., whose line of dyed wool originals are seen each year on the runway at the Green is the New Black show, along with Paz. Ackerman said Mountain Fair has an impressive showing of art in the form of clothing. Fabric art including upcycling, batik (fabric art using wax-resist dyeing), and tie-dye — which the Carbondale Police Dept. has embraced in its role of keeping the peace at the town’s flagship event — are common genres at the event.
“Jewelry is also a very large category in any art fair, and very competitive in a juried art show like ours,” Ackerman said.
Jewelry vendors include fused glass artist Megan Bassett, of Monument, Colo., with her Miss Olivia’s line, and Flagstaff, Ariz., artist Christian Olsen. His custom Wonderland Designs include earrings, bracelets and necklaces made from natural elements.
Sante Fe-based metal sculptor Frederick Prescott will feature his line of indoor and outdoor wind-powered kinetic sculptures of animals of moose, horses, cows, lions, tigers, and of course, bears. He has shown his work around the world since 1974, and has been commissioned for private pieces for companies including Disney, Porsche, and the Chicago Bulls.
Carbondale Mountain Fair opens for artisan booths at 12 p.m. today, providing quiet time for fairgoers to shop the array of arts and crafts before the weekend’s large crowds begin to form.
“It is the best gift shopping,” Ackerman said. “There’s wonderful kitchen items, natural body and bath products, kids toys, etc.”
Artisan booths open at 10 a.m. over the weekend and close at dark on Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday, as the event comes to a close. The CCAH silent auction booth also opens at noon, where fairgoers can begin the bidding to support valley artists.
“There is also a great variety of price ranges,” Ackerman said. “You can always find a little something for not very much money, or a large and exquisite piece of wall art or sculpture.”