Fall Art Festival show and sale returns for encore | PostIndependent.com

Fall Art Festival show and sale returns for encore

Arlene Law, a charter member of the Glenwood Springs Art Guild, talks about the history of the guild and bringing back the fall show one last time.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

For the first time since 2014, the Glenwood Springs Art Guild will bring back the Fall Art Festival show and sale. The show is being held in conjunction with the historic Birthday Bash for the Hotel Colorado and Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves.

Invited by the hotel and spa, the guild will bring back the festival, taking over the old Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts space in the historic hydroelectric building 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.

(It was) “formed in a mortuary, and it was never a dead issue,” charter member and Glenwood Springs resident Arlene Law said. “We all were attending a paint class that was being held at Burdge Funeral Home, and after the class we got together and decided to start the guild.”

Started in 1962, the Art Guild began with 20 original members, forged to stimulate creative efforts and knowledge.

What began with demonstrations by the guild in the community grew into the annual Fall Art Festival.

From its modest beginnings in 1963 with 60-90 artists, the festival became the largest nonjuried art show in the state of Colorado with 400 artists.

The show started at the high school and quickly outgrew the space, moving to bigger venues like the Hotel Colorado and the former Ramada Inn (now LaQuinta Inn).

“In the beginning it was the only art event in the valley,” Arts Guild member Portia Griefenberg said.

The festival ran for 52 consecutive years, starting as a weekend event and growing into a weeklong event, grossing an average of $100,000 a year before the recession hit.

Over 2,000 artworks were entered and displayed in the heyday of the event.

The weeklong event had professional and amateur artists coming from all over the state and throughout the region to show and sell their artwork.

The guild kept a small commission from each sale, and after covering the cost of the event, it would distribute the rest in scholarships to local high school students, and it gifted art supplies and instruction to schools, libraries and nonprofits.

Through the Nancy Piper Memorial Scholarship Grant and the Jan Worden Memorial Continuing Art Eduction Scholarship, the guild awarded over $60,000 in scholarships between 2000 and 2014.

“We wanted to sell art. It made the artists happy, and it made me happy,” Law said.

Today, the Art Guild is still going strong with 85 members. The Guild meets the second Tuesday of every month at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glenwood Springs.

Guild demonstrations continue during the monthly meeting, and a paint day is held every Thursday.

To join the Art Guild, there is a $25 annual fee. For more information on joining the guild, go to glenwoodspringsartguild.org


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