Column: Funky Carbondale perfect home for state summit |

Column: Funky Carbondale perfect home for state summit

The vibrancy of Carbondale’s art scene has been on full display for the past couple of days and will continue to be this evening, and I couldn’t be happier.

The fifth annual Colorado Creative Industries Summit is taking place in our very own Carbondale — the quirkiest, funkiest town in the valley, and one well-deserving of the honor.

The CCI Summit consists of events, panels, speakers and more throughout the day for paying passholders interested in artistic and creative industries, but in the evening, the public is invited to enjoy numerous free, art-centric events.

Some of these include the Dolores Way Maker Party, which took place on Wednesday and which showcased some of Carbondale’s creatives that are situated off the beaten path. Yesterday, folks got to enjoy an art walk around Main Street and a shuttle from the Launchpad to the Studio for Arts and Works (SAW), which is one of my favorite places in the valley to see art.

There were also tours of Marble Distillery, which is one of my favorite places in the valley to drink vodka. And the Carbondale Clay Center hosted outdoor raku firings and an opening reception for its latest exhibit. The night ended with some live music by local self-proclaimed “Colorado country” band Let Them Roar.

The summit will wrap up today with the ever-artful First Friday. You can just walk down Main Street and find something great going on every few steps. And the town’s beloved Dandelion Days is back on Saturday in Sopris Park.

All of these events warm my heart because a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have expected to find any of them in what appeared on the surface to be a sleepy valley.

When I first moved out here and accepted the job as arts and entertainment editor for the Post Independent, I was coming from mid-sized cities of a couple hundred thousand. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but my expectations of the art scene out here were pretty darn low.

I couldn’t have been straightened out more quickly, though. One of the very first stories I covered at the Post was about a collaboration between SAW artist Chris Erickson and CoMotion, a modern dance company in Carbondale. The dancers improvised their moves to Erickson’s work, dancing with it, around it and in response to it. It was just the kind of kooky thing I’d expect to see in a city, and I knew right away this is the kind of community I could get used to.

And then, of course, there’s the magical Mountain Fair, which somehow transcends all the other street fairs I’ve ever been to with its endearing spirit.

The Green is the New Black Fashion Show is always unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and definitely unlike anything I’d expect to see in an old ranching town in the mountains.

So it’s nice to see Carbondale getting this level of recognition. Having a statewide creative summit right here in our hip little arts town makes perfect sense to me. Everyone who’s entrenched in Carbondale’s creative circles already knew what a weird, wonderful place it is.

And after this week, people from all over the state will have been turned into believers, too.

Jessica Cabe is a former arts and entertainment editor for the Post Independent. She can be reached at

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