Art Scene |

Art Scene

Christina Brusig
Staff Photo |

Meet the Expert

I love my job. I meet interesting people who do interesting things. We talk about their professions, their passions and the language of their worlds.

I have learned about the London trowel, Philadelphia trowel, blocking chisel, mashing hammer, jointer, chalk line, story vegetation, tree crown conditions, coarse woody debris, lichen community composition, beaujolais nouveau, blanc de noirs, jeroboam, legs, pinot blanc, tannins and varietals.

Sounds like a pretty amazing group of people. Right? Wrong. Just one amazing guy — Ken Robinson, owner of Roaring Fork Liquors tucked away in Roaring Fork Marketplace in Glenwood Springs. Ken has owned this full service liquor store for 15 years and has customers from Rifle to Aspen. Plus, this Eagle Scout has been active in his community, church, Rotary, Elks and the art and music scene for as many years. He has also been the key partner in our Culinary Arts Wine and Brewfest.

“I [was] a cement mixin’, bricklayin’, Carhartt-wearin’ guy. I’d spruce up a bit in my truck, but not wanting to be late, I did attend more than a few of these events ‘in uniform,’ if you will. Over time, I developed a bit of a reputation in the valley as the Everyman of Wine.”Ken Robinsonowner of Roaring Fork Liquors

I asked Ken how he got from Connecticut to Colorado.

“I came here in 1968 to attend CSU for a degree in Forest Management. After graduation, I worked for the Forest Service. That meant living in the woods for a week at a time doing timber inventory. These statistics give the Forest Manager a snapshot of an area to help make management decisions for longterm care. The first summer was in Big Horn National Forest, and the second was in western White River National Forest.

“Then the economy began to slow down, and everyone downsized, which was a polite way of saying, ‘There is no permanent future with the Forest Service at this time.’ I did the Aspen job shuffle, including the Roaring Fork General Store. One day, a customer said he was looking for a hod carrier, at which point I responded, ‘Now that is a real coincidence as I, myself, was just telling my colleagues here at the store that what I really wanted to do was to become a hod carrier.’ I had no idea what a hod was, but I knew it would have to be carried. I was introduced to the wonderful world of construction and masonry. My life was retail in the winter and masonry in summer.

“Then came the Cowen Center (I interviewed in my Carhartts and got the job), where I got interested in wine and the vineyard process and started going to wine tastings in the summer. Now remember, I’m a cement mixin’, bricklayin’, Carhartt-wearin’ guy. I’d spruce up a bit in my truck, but not wanting to be late, I did attend more than a few of these events ‘in uniform,’ if you will. Over time, I developed a bit of a reputation in the valley as the Everyman of Wine.

“Fast forward to the opportunity of purchasing Roaring Fork Liquor in 2000. We expanded, increased business and became part of the life of the community. Involvement in the Art Center’s Culinary Arts Wine and Brewfest was a natural. I have been a part of this terrific event since its inception. Like any new idea, we knew immediately how it had to improve. Over time and, especially last year, this event has become something good … for my colleagues, for myself and for my community. Yes, something really good.

“Customers became friends, and expertise and excellent customer service grew the business and gave me great pride in what I do. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Thanks again, Ken, for your unwavering support of everything we do. Here are the beverage stars Ken is bringing to the 16th annual Culinary Arts Wine and Brewfest to go with the fabulous food:

Vintners: Two Rivers Winery, Baroness Wines, Canyon Wind Wine, Classic Wines, CTS Wines, Gran Vin, Il Castagno Wines, Pioneer Wines and Spirits, Republic National Distributing Company, Constellation Brands, RFL, Southern Wine and Spirits and Summit Distributing.

Brewers: Avery Brewery, Bonfire Brewery, Boulder Beer, Deschutes Brewery, New Belgium Brewery, Odell’s Brewing, Roaring Fork Brewery, Ska Brewing and Snow Cap Ciders from Cedaredge.

Join Us and Save

Your individual, family or corporate membership not only gives you a discount on all classes at the Art Center, but you enjoy a big savings on Culinary Arts tickets. Oct. 17 is just around the corner, so go to our website at to get your membership and/or purchase tickets. Join us at the historic Hotel Colorado from 5-8 p.m. Oct. 17 for our biggest fundraiser of the year.

Winterfest — Call to Artists

When you support the Art Center, you make our classes, workshops, educational outreach programs and public events happen. Our next event, and a huge favorite, is our annual Winterfest Gift Show. We expand the gift shop and present the most outstanding original holiday gift items in the valley. Bring us your best work in crafting, jewelry, lotions and potions and artwork on Monday, Nov. 2, and Tuesday, Nov. 3, and be part of something good when we launch this holiday favorite on Friday, Nov. 13.

“Owning your own business gives you a lot of freedom … you’re free to pick which 23 hours you want to work.”

— Ken Robinson

Christina Brusig is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. She can be reached at

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