Artists take aim at portalets |

Artists take aim at portalets

Ryan Hoffman
Artists take aim
at portalets
Local artists José Valadez, left, and Ricky Lively stand next to a portable toilet they painted Friday, Oct. 22, at the Bookcliffs Arts Center.
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram |

Although attendance was not as great as hoped for, last Friday’s event at the Bookcliffs Arts Center was still a wonderful event, said George Cutting, president of the Bookcliffs Arts Center and event organizer.

“I can barely contain myself — this is wonderful,” Cutting said Friday as a group of adults and children painted three portable toilets at the Bookcliffs campus.

The event, the second such organized by Cutting in the past three months, was intended to offer a creative outlet for the community and in particular graffiti artists. Illegal graffiti is an ongoing issue in Rifle, with the tagging of the Hickman Building on the Bookcliffs campus in mid-October serving as a recent example. Police have identified possible suspects, but have yet to make an arrest.

By providing the materials and setting for legal graffiti art, Cutting hopes to persuade taggers from vandalizing buildings in town.

It is a smart approach, said Aaron Scott, 25, who recently moved to Rifle from New Castle. As a teenager, Scott said he would “run around and tag buildings.” Eventually, he concluded the potential penalties were too costly. Had this opportunity existed when he was younger, though, he might not have engaged in the illegal activity in the first place. “Something like this should be in every town … just go and put up some legal art,” he said.

Scott made a connection with perhaps the most surprising participant: Rifle Police Officer José Valadez. Valadez, a practiced artist, hesitated after first being asked to participate. Other than one exception, he had no experience spray painting two days prior to the event.

“This is out of my comfort zone,” said Valadez, adding that he prefers drawing life like pictures with pencil and water colors. “I didn’t realize how quick and easy you could create something with spray paint.”

Similar to the previous event, Cutting had hoped for more people Friday. However, those who did attend said they had a great time. “I think it’s amazing,” said Karlie McCurdy, a Glenwood Springs resident.

McCurdy decided to bring her two children, Lucy, 7, and Finn, 8, after hearing a radio interview with Cutting because it sounded like “good family fun.” Holding a can of spray paint in her hand, she said it was worth the trip from Glenwood.

Due to the weather, Cutting said the effort will likely have to be temporarily put on hold but he intends on picking it back up in the spring.

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