Plenty to choose from at Fall Art Festival
IF YOU GO
What: 52nd annual Fall Art Festival
When: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Sunday. Main galleries closed until 3 p.m. today, but the bargain bin is open all day. The festival closes at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Where: Ramada Inn
How much: Free
While the 52nd annual Fall Art Festival opens to the public today, purchasing patrons were invited to visit the Ramada Inn from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday for an opening day gala and evening reception. The patrons were able to mingle with artists and members of the Glenwood Springs Art Guild, which puts on the event each year, as well as make purchases.
This is a new way of doing business, according to art guild member Portia Griefenberg.
“Every year before, they could come and look, but no purchases were allowed until 8 p.m.,” Griefenberg said. “And at 6, we would have a reception and food and drinks, but they would line up, and at 8, they were allowed to go in. So there was kind of a rush.”
Art guild member Darlene Cook said by doing it that way, patrons would race each other to claim the same painting. While that atmosphere was exciting to her, she said some patrons didn’t feel the same way.
“Obviously some people didn’t like the atmosphere, so this is the first time we’ve tried it leisurely where anyone can come in at any point and buy from noon to 10,” Cook said.
And patrons have plenty of art to choose from. Thousands of paintings, sculptures and ceramics are for sale from more than 260 artists. The lower level of the Ramada Inn is decked out with row after row of paintings, tables full of pottery and sculptures, and even a bargain bin that boasts art priced at no higher than $125.
The festival, which is one of the largest non-juried festivals in the state, features work in three different divisions: amateur, advanced and professional. According to Jay O’Shea, an artist from Lakewood who attended the opening gala, having this non-juried festival increases the chances of finding some great pieces from up-and-coming artists.
“The nice thing is it’s a non-juried show, so people will enter and not be so afraid that they’re going to get rejected,” O’Shea said. “And once you start, you meet people who have been around here a long, long time. These people really work hard putting this on, and you meet people like that, and it’s really gratifying, so you keep coming back.”
But it’s not just the artists who return to the festival; patrons tend to get hooked, too. Carbondale resident Debra Sea said she has been coming to the festival for at least four years. She has purchased both paintings and pottery, and she plans on purchasing again this year. Although she’s been to other art festivals, she said there’s something special about this one in the valley.
“I think I like it because it’s people from the area,” she said. “A lot of it is relevant to the area, too.”
While purchase patrons were able to buy work early, the festival still has plenty of pieces for sale to the general public, and viewing the exhibit is free. O’Shea said the festival offers an important opportunity for the community to gather and appreciate fine art at no cost.
“It’s a shame that if people don’t know about it, they don’t come and look at it,” O’Shea said. “It’s free. It’s a real asset to the community, I think.”
The Fall Art Festival is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Sunday at the Ramada Inn. Today, the main galleries are closed for judging until 3 p.m., but the bargain bin is open all day. The festival closes at 2 p.m. Sunday.
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