Labor Day art show returns to Redstone
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
REDSTONE, Colorado ” When painter Ron Sorter strolls the Labor Day Weekend Art Show, he likes being surprised. Even after a dozen years of this big, arty weekend, he still finds pieces by people he thinks of as friends or realtors or such ” not artists.
“Jimminy Christmas, I know that guy,” he’ll say. “I had no idea he could paint.”
That’s Redstone for you.
And its yearly, three-day art blowout isn’t your average show. Starting tonight, this collection of more than forty Crystal River Valley artists isn’t competitive or hoity-toity. It’s not juried nor costly to enter. It doesn’t have caterers or loads of press. What it does have are daily artist demonstrations, gobs of volunteers and a down-home feel.
“It isn’t like an art show being put on by a town,” explained Sorter. “It’s like an art show being put on by a family.”
Maybe that’s why creative types feel “a little more free” around those parts, he thinks. He knows he does. He was never an artist until he moved here, even. Then, in 1992, something changed in him, between all the beauty and seclusion. He started laying down color in ink and charcoal and found he loved (and had a knack for) drawing bears. Since the show began, he’s made a new one for each new festival. As he explained this, he was right in the middle of creating this year’s fuzzy addition.
But, like so many involved in the show, he didn’t want to talk about himself. This is a community thing, he stressed, not an individual deal. He’s just happy to be in a place that’s “singing his song,” he said. Perhaps this weekend’s visitors might feel
“I think the vibe, if you will, is kind of apparent to people who walk into this tiny little town and into this art show under the tent,” he said. “It’s like a big surprise.”
President of the Redstone Art Foundation, Connie Hendrix, gets the beauty of that. The artist community is why she moved to Marble, after all. What really blows her away, though, is the volunteerism that fills this show. There are eager docents and those happy to help set up and take down the pieces. Some of these folks are artists, and some are just people who love to support creativity. And they all show up, year after year.
“They just give of their time, whole-heartedly,” she said.
This year, she’ll be bringing down an abstract, mixed media painting, as well as two marble sculptures. Now retired, she was always making art, even during her 42-year advertising career. Still, every time she shows her work, she feels as though she’s baring her soul.
Not that it makes her nervous, though. At least not here. This exhibition is far too friendly and supportive for all that. Surely, she thinks, a lot of those other artists in the nooks and crannies of the area have got to feel the same.
“It’s so beautiful in this valley, it can’t help but give you some good vibes,” she said, almost echoing Sorter.
Or, as Roberta Stokes put it, “There’s just something about this place.”
This year, she and her husband, Gale, are running the show. Though they live more than half the year in Houston, this feels like home, too. Stokes likes the bustle of the city, but the laid-back quality of the country is also good for her. What amazes her about this town is how connected she feels to everything, everyone. For the last 20 years, she’s been painting, creating celebratory-type pieces. She has stuff in much bigger venues around the country, but this weekend’s festival also feels like just the right place to show her work.
As her husband put it, “Small town, big show.”
“We also have a big heart,” added Stokes, quickly.
Hey, that’s just Redstone for you.
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