krēˈāt issue 12

Page 1

/krē’āt/ mountain arts + culture e-zine

Published by Breckenridge Creative Arts | ISSUE NO. 12, Fall/Winter2018



: to make or produce


: to cause to exist


: to bring into being /krē’āt/ is an online magazine published triannually by Breckenridge Creative Arts. Each issue profiles a creative individual or business, cultural organization, event, and object of art in a thoughtfully curated visual journey that aims to highlight and promote the greater creative community of Breckenridge. Creative Director Robb Woulfe, Breckenridge Creative Arts

Editor + Content Writer Erica M. Davis

Art Director + Designer Kate Hudnut, GatherHouse Inc.

Contributing Photographer Liam Doran

Additional Photo Credits ‘Piñata conversation’ images courtesy of Justin Favela; ‘Nuestro día’ images by Joe Kusumoto and Kirstie





departments Foreward

Kaiser Family Collection and Summit Historical Society, courtesy of the Dr. Sandra F. Mather Archives, Breckenridge Heritage Alliance; ‘Creative craft’ image by Joe Kusumoto; ‘Summit youth’ images by Joe Kusumoto

Cover + Back Cover Artwork Cover image by Joe Kusumoto; back cover image by Liam Doran Special thanks to the Town of Breckenridge for its generous support. @breckcreate //










Objectified MY BOOK




Shanley; ‘Baile Folklórico’ images by Jenise Jensen and Liam Doran; ‘Our cultural heritage’ images from the



FOREWARD /krē’āt/ FALL/WINTER 2018 Our fall/winter edition of /krē’āt/ delves deep into culture—our cultural roots, our shared symbols, the people we were, and the people we are. Local historian Sandra Mather describes what life was like for Summit County’s immigrants in the late 1800’s. Then, in our locally focused Día de los Muertos event, we run decked in skeleton costumes on a journey through Latin American art and culture—from local folkloric dancers bright and colorful as bougainvillea, to the piñata murals and politics of Las Vegas-based artist Justin Favela. Our youth are intimately involved at every level, from a new student exhibition series representing all Summit County schools grades K-12, to the local teachers, volunteers, and young people who are actively engaged in the creative arts.







Las Vegas-based artist Justin Favela will create a large-scale Día de los Muertos altar hewn entirely of piñata material, cardboard, and glue.






Piñata conversation

Justin Favela’s Día de los Muertos altar to culture + individuality


as Vegas-based artist Justin Favela uses

November 1-3. The piece will be presented

piñata material in the form of colorful

in all its splendor upstairs, with tissue paper

tissue paper and cardboard to create

flowers created with the help of local community

large-scale wall murals depicting subjects

members in the downstairs space. It will be the

from his life, from Doritos to low riders to

first time Favela creates an installation with

desert landscapes. He has also exhibited an

community help.

enormous stack of foil-wrapped tamales, a sombrero,






The title of the exhibition is “Ofrenda,” which

“Estardas,” which is not a Spanish word but

translates to “offering,” referencing the many

rather how his grandmother pronounced

objects offered to the spirits of dearly departed

“Stardust,” the name of the former hotel

loved ones during the observation of the Latin

and casino.

American holiday. Candy, sugar skulls, candles, marigolds, sweet breads, skeletons, renditions

“I like to celebrate who I am—this Spanglish-

of monarch butterflies, and even cigarettes are

speaking Guatemalan-Mexican born in Las

among the “ofrendas” that might be placed

Vegas. It’s this very southwestern identity,”

on an altar, whether in a personal home or

he said.

public space.

On October 15, Favela comes to Main Street

“I’m planning to pay homage to a lot of the

Breckenridge to create a large-scale Día de los

altars I’ve seen in Mexico, particularly Puebla

Muertos altar in the public Gallery@OMH as

and Oaxaca,” Favela said. Although his parents

part of a month-long residence, coinciding with

are from Mexico and Guatemala and Día de

Breckenridge’s Day of the Dead celebration

los Muertos is celebrated in both countries,

neither of the artist’s parents celebrated

noted. “I’ve been to villages a lot, even villages

the holiday themselves, nor passed it on to

like the one in ‘Coco,’ but everyone has a

their children. “My Guatemalan family is very

cell phone. [The film] is not representing true

Christian, so they have left those traditions


behind,” he said. “My Mexican family is northern Mexican, so they don’t really celebrate it—it’s

“My big message with my work and podcast

more of a southern and middle Mexico thing.”

is just to show the different dimensions of the Latino community, and how different we

However, after growing up in Las Vegas,

all are,” he said. A lot of times, he explained,

Favela did a residency in Puebla, Mexico, where

identity is assumed based on the region in

he learned how important the tradition is.

which one lives. “In the Southwest, if you are

“A lot of time Latino artists are asked to do

Latino, you are by default Mexican-American,”

something with this theme,” he said, “because

he said. “If you are in Miami, you are Cuban.

Mexican culture is exoticized. Día de los

If you are in New York, you are Puerto Rican

Muertos seems so foreign to a lot of people;

or Dominican. There’s a lot of preconceived

it’s looked at as something exotic. People love

notions of what a Latino’s work and identity is

that—especially when you see perceptions of

based on region. I love diving in and celebrating

other countries.”

our differences within our community.”

However, he explained, those perceptions are

Favela himself is unapologetically individual.

often inaccurate. “It’s like when you are in the


U.S. and you go somewhere else, everyone

gender-neutral term LatinX, loves punk rock

thinks we are eating in 50’s diners and

and RuPaul’s Drag Race, and pokes fun at

cruising around like it’s ‘Happy Days,’” he said.

himself in his podcast. He feels pressure about

Or, it’s like popular movie, “Coco,” inspired by

not being Mexican enough. “Within one’s

Day of the Dead, which he said “takes place in

own culture you can be ‘not Latino enough,

modern Mexico, but the iconography is all from

not Mexican enough.’ It’s this weird thing.

the 1940’s, the golden age of cinema.”

You’re not Chicano enough. There’s all these







identities,” he said. Under the name “Favyfav,” Favela and his partner Babelito host a podcast, “Latinos Who

A recent trip to Spain was nerve-wracking for

Lunch”—one of the episodes of which was

that reason. “I don’t’ speak Spanish that well,”

devoted to “Coco.” On Thursday, November 1,

he admitted.

Favela will host a talk following a screening of “Coco” in Breckenridge. “I like the film, but it

But he finds “his people” wherever he travels,

also reinforces a lot of stereotypes,” he said.

and that has opened up his world to “all these

“The history of Mexico and the U.S. is really

amazing people,” he said. “I’m friends with

complicated. To see Mexico represented in

Rudy Bleu Garcia in L.A.—he does punk rock

a Disney movie, to see brown characters—is

shows centered around queer brown punk

amazing. But it’s supposed to be modern day,

rock people. I go to his events because I feel

and you don’t see any modern buildings,” he

safe there and I feel like I belong.” Favela and






Babelito are social justice activists, and recently

Favela was captivated by the Día de los

hosted a fundraising conference in Atlanta.

Muertos celebrations he witnessed south of the border. “Once I saw how important that

While in Colorado, Favela will visit schools to

is in Mexico, and once I got a hold of what

provide local children the opportunity to meet

it means—a way to bring the dead back and

a successful role model in whose work and

celebrate—I find it to be beautiful,” he said.

person they see themselves reflected. “I think

“I’m excited to investigate that, and do it in a

it’s important for kids to see different kinds of

respectful way.”

artists,” he said. “I like to talk to kids about how it’s fine to be you, and make work that’s for you

“I was afraid to become that Latino artist who

and your family—work that’s important to you.”

made art about the Latino experience because that’s all I’d ever be. That’s what’s happening,”

Favela first started working in piñata material

he admitted, “but at least I have a platform.

as a symbol of his identity, and came to enjoy

It think that’s why I’m so happy Breckenridge

the medium because it was both cheap and

is having me—they are up for having these

accessible to viewers. “Everyone knows those

conversations,” he said. “I like to have honest

materials—knows the limitations of those

conversations about this—that’s my contribution.”

materials, and knows how they feel.” His work often contains elements of humor. “When

The Breckenridge exhibition will run through

you don’t take yourself so seriously, it gives

January 13, 2019. Supporting programming

permission to let people in. I think humor and

includes field trips to the exhibit, bilingual

levity is so important because it invites the

educational collateral, and piñata craft-making,

audience in and makes them feel part of the

in addition to the screening and talk about

experience,” he said.

“Coco.” The artist’s residence and installation is funded in part by The Summit Foundation.

He also enjoys the juxtaposition between his

Favela will also create a pop-up altar at Museo

use of craft material and what is normally

de las Americas in Denver as a cross promotion.

considered high art. “A lot of times

craft is

looked at as beneath fine art,” said Favela,

“I am excited to be in Breckenridge and

who was recently featured in American Craft

Colorado because places surprise me and I

Magazine. “I love pushing those boundaries.

can’t wait to be surprised,” Favela said after

A lot of times those lines are just arbitrarily

recently showing his work—and finding a great

drawn. What does it mean for something to be

community of people—in Portland, Maine.

craft or fine art? It’s just the way it is displayed

“Everywhere I go I find my people and it’s

or curated. To me there is no difference.”

going to be fun to do that in Breckenridge.”

Justin Favela // Latinos Who Lunch podcast //






/around town/

Nuestro día Day of the Dead celebration puts down roots in the community


ow in its fifth year, Breckenridge’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration has become a local tradition. Families flock to the Arts District each year to take part in hands-on workshops, face painting, art installations, traditional dances, and community altars in keeping with the Latin American holiday, which commemorates lost loved ones in a cheerful, festive manner. This year, however, the event becomes even more authentic and locally rooted—featuring three nights of Mexican food prepared by local restaurateurs; a dance class by the Dillon-based group, Baile Folklórico Bugambilias; a costumed community run; and a date change to November 1-3 in keeping with the actual dates Día de los Muertos is celebrated in Mexico. “The festival is much more community-oriented now,” said Becca Spiro, Breckenridge Creative Arts’ Director of Learning and Engagement, who was inspired by a presentation by Carbondale Arts at the Colorado Creative Industries Summit. “They talked about how Carbondale’s Day of the Dead celebration is really grassroots—how they gave the reigns to community members. It just felt respectful,” Spiro said. While past years of the Breckenridge festival have relied in large part on Metropolitan State University Denver’s excellent programming, this year’s festival will be much more locally based.

There will be authentic Mexican food, free of charge, all three nights—including appetizers by Frisco’s Hacienda Real Thursday night before the screening of the Pixar-Disney movie, “Coco,” a buffet at Gallery@OMH Friday evening by Silverthorne’s Fritangas, and appetizers from Dillon’s White Boots restaurant Saturday. On Friday afternoon and Saturday, guests are invited to provide hands-on help to visiting artist Justin Favela by creating paper flowers for his Día de los Muertos altar exhibition at Gallery@OMH. Favela will also lead two talks— one examining how “Coco” represents Mexican culture following the film’s screening, and another about his own work Friday night. Festivalgoers are also invited to South Branch Library to tour “Museum of Memories,” an exhibit featuring large-scale, memory-inspired canvases created by Summit County children grades K-12 and curated by local high school students, who will be on hand along with students from Dillon Valley Elementary School to give bilingual tours of the work. An interactive component will allow guests to build their own perspectives into the exhibit. Popular favorites including face painting and the photo booth return Friday afternoon and Saturday, with make-and-take crafts—including papier-mâché masks, bedazzled skulls and bones, Catrina dolls with Adrián Marban, and skeleton engravings with artist-in-residence Damien Noll—on Saturday. Another local

tie-in is a performance by Dillon Valley Assistant Principal Scott Van Loo’s salsa band, Grupo Mezcla, which will play Friday evening at Gallery@OMH. The centerpiece of this year’s event is a costumed community run called “La Corrida de los Muertos.” Participants of all ages are invited to the Arts District at 9 a.m. Saturday to work on their flowery skeleton costumes, which they will wear for the race. Then at 10 a.m. Frisco’s Alpine Dance Academy kicks off the run by breaking into dance, flash-mob-style, before the “esqueletos” take off running. In the spirit of remembering our deceased ancestors, the race course takes runners past the historic Valley Brook Cemetery. The idea for La Corrida evolved from suggestions by Isabel Rodriguez, who runs a folkloric dance program in Dillon, and Kendra Carpenter, principal of Dillon Valley Elementary, to host a parade or procession in which community

members could take part. “Day of the Dead is not a spectator holiday,” said Rodriguez. “It’s all about remembering those people in your life who have passed away.” Carpenter suggested making the event into a run modeled after the school’s “El Grito del Valle.” In addition, Rodriguez will teach a folkloric dance workshop at Breckenridge Theater Saturday afternoon, before dancers treat guests to a colorful Saturday night performance for the event’s finale. Many of the events at Día de los Muertos are made possible with support from The Summit Foundation. “We welcome both locals and visitors to our Día de los Muertos celebration with open arms,” said Robb Woulfe, CEO of Breckenridge Creative Arts. “By showcasing more of our homegrown talent and inviting local ownership, we aim to make the festival more intimately relevant to all members of our diverse community.”

Día de los Muertos // La Corrida de los Muertos //







Adults and kids are learning about culture through folkloric dance in Dillon thanks to Isabel Rodriguez, who founded the colorful performance troupe.






Baile folklรณrico Connecting generations and cultures through dance


sabel Rodriguez has fond recollections of bougainvillea. Translated in Spanish as “bugambilia,” the vining pink flower thrives in her hometown of San Juan de los Lagos in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.

Rodriguez, who runs a popular Dillon-based folkloric dance program now called Baile Folklórico Bugambilias, was born in Mexico and spent her early childhood there before coming to the U.S. at age 8 with her parents. She grew up in Denver and went to college in Colorado Springs, later moving to Summit County to teach second grade and Spanish at Dillon Valley Elementary School. But Mexico stayed with her—particularly in the form of folkloric dance, which captivated her as a child from the first time she saw her grandmother’s doll, bedecked in a black, hand-embroidered dress from Chiapas. “It was my dream to become a folkloric dancer when I was in Mexico,” she said. “I thought, ‘One day I am going to grow up and wear that dress and do that dance.’ Then we came here. I felt that dream was taken away.” But then, in Denver, she got to spend one year learning folkloric dance from a 4th grade teacher. Years later, as a 2nd-year teacher at Dillon Valley, she decided it was her turn to make a folkloric dance program happen for the local community. That was back in 2012, and even though Rodriguez has since taken a break from teaching full-time in order to raise her family, she continues to run the thriving program, which is currently offered after school to 4th and 5th graders, in addition to an adult group. The school sessions run twice a year and average 25-30 kids each, culminating in performances at the school and other locations like the Silverthorne Pavilion and Breckenridge’s Día de los Muertos celebration. Most of the dances learned are traditional—each from a different region in Mexico, accompanied by regional dress. “A lot of it comes from the mix of cultures that we had in Mexico, when the Spanish came and brought along their style of music and style of dance, and it infused with what we had already,” Rodriguez said. Dances from Jalisco, for example, feature mariachi music and “charros”—Mexican cowboys in big sombreros and tight pants, who dance with women in big, colorful dresses sewn with ribbons. To the north, Rodriguez explained, the music has more of a polka feel; the costumes are shorter, and the men and women wear boots. Farther south, the dances take on a more indigenous feel and speak to traditional practices—for example, the pineapple dance from Oaxaca, which tells the story of the pineapple harvest. Last year for Día de los Muertos in Breckenridge, students danced “La Llorona,” the famous story about the weeper. They wore the traditional “reboso”—a long scarf—over their heads, because that is what women do when someone passes away in Mexico, she explained. They followed that with a more animated number that represents the celebration of spirits coming back from the dead and dancing together. For this year’s event, they plan to present a variety of dances

illustrating the diversity of folkloric dance. There will be a free dance workshop from 1-3 p.m. November 3 at Breckenridge Theater, followed by Mexican food appetizers, and culminating in the performance from 6:30-8 p.m. “I learned a lot about Mexican culture,” said Charlotte Hudnut, now in 7th grade, who took part in the folkloric dance program in grades 3-5. “I liked the dresses and the dances.” Over the years, various teachers and community members have volunteered time and resources, including a parent who had competed in the stomping aspect of folkloric dance in Mexico, who taught the group how to do the footwork and the different varieties of dance. “He was someone in our community; we just needed to create that opportunity for him,” said Rodriguez.


Of course not everyone who takes part in Baile Folklórico is from Mexico, and Rodriguez is sensitive to that, recounting how they danced the “Sombrero Azul”—which is popular in El Salvador—at the behest of students. Faculty members from Peru and Spain have helped with regional dances from their home countries as well. This year Rodriguez is designing a cultural program, to be taught through dance, for all students at Dillon Valley Elementary School. “The goal for students is to get a taste of culture, but we also want to include life skills like working with each other—a boy and girl dancing with each other and touching hands without there being an issue,” she said. “Why not? It’s not like girls have cooties or anything,” said 6th grader Clayton Amsbaugh,





who took part in the program every year from grades 2-5. “There are so many opportunities in school to do sports or academics,” his mother Cathy said. “I think it’s a unique need for kids who don’t want to do something competitive but still want to be active.” At the same time, she said, “It shows the value of other cultures we have in our schools.” “Clayton has always liked dressing up—in dress pants, button-up shirt, and tie,” she added. In the folkloric dance program, he gets to dress up too, but with a big sombrero and a bandana around his neck. “It’s nice how dressy they are for the dances,” she said. “It’s beautiful. The girls in their dresses and boys in their black pants and white shirts—it looks fabulous.” Often, the performances are combined with a potluck, where community members bring traditional dishes to share. Others have helped by making skirts and headpieces. “I try to get parents and community involved,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a time to connect—not just us with each other, but also parents with their children.” “My mother used to dance folkloric when she was in elementary school,” said Araceli Gonzalez, who moved to Summit County in 2006 from Chihuahua, Mexico. Araceli started dancing with the adult group in 2015, and her daughters Arely and Vanessa have taken part in the kids’ group. “She is very proud my kids are dancing too,” she said. “In Mexico, it’s a way of life,” Rodriguez

explained. “You learn the culture through dance, and you learn about every different state through dance. It is at every level of school. You can also get a degree in it—you can go to school and study folkloric dance.” “At one point we had this whole family dancing—grandma, mom, aunt, two granddaughters, and dad,” she said. “We had this multigenerational family dancing folkloric because it is so important to them to be able to see their children doing that, to go back to their childhood.” Another time, after the group danced a polka from Nuevo Leon to the song “Evangelina,” a little boy asked to sign up for the class. ‘“My dad plays that song at home always,’” he told Rodriguez. It was impactful, she said, because “we made a connection to the music—to his dad and where his dad comes from.” San Juan de los Lagos is a small town but a major site for Catholic pilgrimages. When Rodriguez started returning home, she would see dances in the town plaza, which she accepted as part of her culture without understanding their meaning or origin. Later, she went to Mexico to study her own culture and discovered the meaning behind them. “I want kids to learn about it so they can embrace where they came from—their heritage,” she said. “It will help them embrace their own identity as multicultural in this country, as well as their family’s, so they have that connection with their parents or grandparents.”

She believes the folkloric dance experience is particularly important in the U.S. “I don’t think

this would have the same value in Mexico because in Mexico everybody does it,” she said. “Here we are a nation of immigrants.” Describing the school’s celebration of Mother Tongue Day, she recounted how some families from Uzbekistan did a presentation and performance about their culture. “In a way what we do can serve as an example,” she said, so that others feel comfortable to share. “I can’t speak for other cultures, so I want to create opportunities for them to speak about it,” she said. “We want to support Isabel and her project,” said Gonzalez, whose family helped to fund costumes for the group. “She is a very dedicated woman, and has been working on this project for many years… She donates her time and energy, and if we can help economically to provide—at least with costumes—we are glad to do it.”


Rodriguez plans to reach out to the community for help expanding the program so that more students can take part, especially those who’ve moved on to middle school, several of whom come back to dance with the elementary school students each year. She would like to see the program offered in middle and high school too. “We live in a very friendly and inclusive community,” said Gonzalez. “As immigrants— I will talk for most of us—we feel welcome in Summit County, and I think it is nice to share with other members of our community our culture. It is lovely to see kids and adults of different countries and different cultures dancing together,” she said. “I think folkloric dance is a good way to bring us together and be more united.”






Isabel Rodriguez

Coordinator of Baile Folklórico Bugambilias Background Home: Silverthorne, Colorado Family: Husband Gerardo and two children, Tomás, 6, and Lucas, 2 Education: Colorado College, B.A. in romance languages Why Summit County? My husband and I moved here from Mexico in 2011 when I was hired to teach 2nd grade in Spanish at Dillon Valley Elementary. We stayed because I love the diversity here and see potential to grow and work with this community. Art Medium: Dance Latest project: Creating a cultural dance program for students at Dillon Valley Elementary, and

pursuing an M.A. in arts leadership and cultural management Favorite creative space: Back home in Mexico, the atrium in the Basilica of our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos, where visiting pilgrims exhibit a fusion of indigenous heritage and conqueror’s religion through dance and art Source of inspiration: Music, culture, and traditions Creativity is: Essential to create the type of life you love to wake up to Insights Personal hero: The strong women around me Favorite book: “Como agua para chocolate” (“Like Water for Chocolate”) and “Tan veloz como

el deseo” (“Swift as Desire”) by Laura Esquivel Favorite restaurant: Mamma mia’s—in other words, my mom’s cooking Song in your head right now: “Es tarde” by Juanes Unique home or office decor: Hand-made pottery, plates, and mugs from Mexico, sitting on a shelf my husband made, which we use Favorite movie: “Love Actually” Favorite causes: Working with children to nurture self-identity and the value of immigration in this country Favorite way to spend free time: Writing Confessions What keeps you up at night? Ideas and projects Pet peeve: People who complain about something without acting on it First job: Summer school English teacher in Mexico First choice for a new career: Writer What do you do to recharge your batteries? Have a great conversation with a good friend Guilty pleasure: Watching “Harry Potter” on rainy days

Originally from San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, Mexico, Isabel Rodriguez, 30, began teaching at age 22. She started a folkloric dance program for children and adults in 2013 and continues to work in the community to build bridges and make connections between people. /KRĒ'ĀT/






Our cultural heritage Historian Sandra Mather on Summit County’s immigrants in the late 1800’s

Who came to Summit County from other countries? In 1860, the majority of foreign-born in Colorado came from, in descending order, Canada, Ireland, the German states, England, and Scotland. By the time of the 1870 census, not much had changed. The Irish, escaping the potato famine, now ranked first. By 1880, the English were first. If Wales, Cornwall, and England are considered as one along with Canada and Ireland, then these areas sent the greatest number of immigrants to Colorado in 1860, 1870, and 1880. As a whole, Summit County reflected the state numbers. What was life like for these early immigrants? It was not an easy life. Often the Germans and Prussians became the merchants and saloon keepers. They had to establish delivery systems for their goods and sold for cash-only because miners tended to leave for the latest strike. They brought their families because they planned to remain, and wanted stability for their businesses. The numbers for England included the Cornish and Welsh who worked long hours in mines for little in wages. They faced dangers in the mines no matter what their jobs. Many of them were not married and moved on if the mines played out. On the road from Copper Mountain to Leadville, the town of Recen counted 38 Swedish residents in the 1885 census; in 1880, adjoining Kokomo counted 22 mothers and 25 fathers who had been born in Sweden. They mainly worked in the lumbering industry. Workers hauled wagonloads of lumber to railroad depots and sawmills in the Ten Mile Canyon and Keystone.


The few Italians in the county were unwanted, and called by derogatory terms. When Italians were hired to dig a ditch on the Blue River, the owners had to assure nearby miners that the Italians would leave as soon as they had completed the ditch. When the South Park & Pacific hired Italians to lay track, the railroad guaranteed that the men would leave for New Mexico to work on another railroad. Though facing discrimination, some stayed on to lay track in the mines. The Chinese faced the most discrimination because their low wages signaled declining production in placer mines. Armed residents drove out a group of Chinese miners who arrived to work in some placer mines around Breckenridge. At first the Chinese worked in laundries; by 1885 they were working in mines. Chinese men did not intend to stay in Summit County. Like many others, they planned to make their fortunes and return to China. They did not bring their families with them. The vast majority of Chinese women in the U.S. were prostitutes, often (bought and) transported to the U.S. as babies to be raised as prostitutes. Yet with all the discrimination, the newspaper editor spoke in kindly terms about Choy, who ran a laundry, giving candy and nuts to children and exploding fireworks in town in celebration of the Chinese New Year. What was life like for women? Women spent long days washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, etc. for family members and in some cases boarders who lived with the family. They worked hard to counter the influences of gambling, drinking, and prostitution but truly had little influence on what they considered vices. Those of a higher economic level could afford to hire help for some of the tasks but between childbirth, illnesses,





unsanitary conditions in the towns, and accidents, life proved difficult. A few owned or clerked in stores or taught school, but those tasks were added to their roles of wife and mother. Were there native people here at the time? Yes, the Utes followed the bison for centuries from North Park to South Park, crossing what is now Summit County. Records indicate that the Utes lived in bands of varying sizes as they followed their yearly migration. There are many records of interactions between the Utes and white settlers in the county. One diary reports that a large number of Utes erected their tipis at the conjunction of the Blue, Tenmile, and Snake. Are there records of Mexican people in Summit County during this era? Not to my knowledge. Mexicans were not represented in the 1870, 1880, or 1885 census data.

Barney Ford comes to mind; yet the story goes that he was swindled by a Denver lawyer before he went on to make several fortunes and become a well-respected member of Breckenridge society. After the Civil War, African-Americans, some who had been “Buffalo soldiers,” came to the state to prospect. The Rocky Mountain News, in 1860, cited the story of one miner who was a college graduate. Another, a former slave who had purchased his freedom, sent gold to purchase freedom for his wife. Why is it important to know our multicultural roots? History influences a person today even if that person does not realize it. Studying another culture helps one foster an appreciation of that culture, and recognize one’s own biases. These words ring hollow as I write them but they are true. Perhaps we have heard them too often and have not seen enough people be truly accepting of other cultures.

How about people of African descent? Statewide the number of African-Americans was not large; in 1870, there were 456, and in 1880, 2,435. Residents did not consider them an economic threat as they did the Chinese. The prominent African-American businessman

Dr. Sandra Mather, outgoing president of Summit Historical Society, has written or co-authored 20 books about Summit County, and expects to complete two more with Bill Fountain. She lives in Pennsylvania, where she is a professor emerita of Earth and Space Sciences at West Chester University. Ever since “drinking the water” on a ski trip, however, she has returned to the high country each summer since 1979. Summit Historical Society //







Creative craft ‘Handmade Holiday’ artisan market + DIY ornaments at the Arts District December 8


andcrafted gifts are not only integral to cultural and historical traditions worldwide, but considered by many to be superior to mass-produced, store-bought ones. On December 8, local artisans and instructors bring the Arts District to life once again for Handmade Holiday, the annual event from Breckenridge Creative Arts that embraces craft tradition in all its forms. “I’m a huge recycler,” said Paige Sheuermann, who teaches art to children from toddlers to age 12 at the Breckenridge Arts District. “I like to teach kids you can make a lot of art with the stuff you have lying around.” Sheuermann, who has a small hobby business called Haven Heart Studio that makes the rounds to local farmers’ markets, creates everything from small bottle cap magnets to big wooden signs with sayings hand-painted on high-quality wood scraps rescued from local construction sites. She will run an ornament-making activity at Handmade Holiday, while also exhibiting her own work. Throughout the various studios and facilities on campus, instructors will display a range of handmade works, from glass-blown and

metal-smithed objects, to ceramics, painting, drawing, textiles, photography, and sculpture. Adorning the outdoor spaces between the studios will be a first-time sculpture commission by Caroline Drew, who graduated in fine arts from Western Carolina University in 2017 and worked as an art consultant for Raitman Art Galleries before taking on a position as a printmaking instructor at the Arts District. Drew creates whimsical creatures from upcycled wooden shipping palettes, which she cuts into smaller shapes and refines with a band saw into “swivel shapes” that she forms into large-scale sculptural animals. “We are looking to highlight our local artists and instructors,” said Nicole Dial-Kay, Director of Exhibitions and Special Projects. “We want to invest in the local community, to invest in local artists.” Along with the instructor showcase, there will be some lighthearted “caroling karaoke,” replete with hot cocoa and Glühwein (hot mulled wine), at Gallery@OMH on Main Street, coordinated with the Lighting of Breckenridge and its notoriously silly Race of the Santas.

Handmade Holiday //







Young people are curating exhibitions, and teachers are embracing art instruction. Teamed with BreckCreate, an artistic generation thrives.






Fresh takes

Youth art scene on the move


ummit County youth have arrived on the art scene. More than 200 people attended the opening of “Cloud of Wonder,” the student-run exhibition at South Branch Library featuring artwork by students from every school in Summit School District. Local shops have a first-time collection of creative writing and artwork by more than 60 students for sale, with proceeds benefiting Mountain Mentors. “It’s really exciting to see the momentum we are gaining for the arts district-wide,” said Karen Fischer, liaison for the Junior Executive Art Panel (JEAP), a program for art aficionados ages 13-18 that meets weekly at the Breckenridge Arts District and other locations to create art, tour local galleries, visit with artists-in-residence, and plan the South Branch Library shows. Together with Becca Spiro, Director of Learning and Engagement for Breckenridge Creative Arts (also known as BCA or BreckCreate), Fischer helped JEAP members learn how to curate art exhibitions. “They imagined ‘Cloud of Wonder’ all on their own,” she said of the show, which runs through October 1. It is the first exhibition in more than a decade to showcase work by K-12 students from all nine district schools together. “We reached out to all the elementary, middle, and high schools in the county and had them pick their favorite artworks,” said JEAP member Chase Byers, who is now a senior at Summit High School. “We made sure it fit the guidelines and was showable, and we presented it accordingly.” Students also took a leadership role promoting the opening on social media. A highlight of the show was “Imagine,” a debut collection of writing and visual artwork

created by the After School Writing Club— another group of young people ages 13 to 18 that meets at the Breckenridge Arts District. The club is masterminded by local parent Sonya Dalyrmple and supported by BCA, which funded the book’s production. It was unveiled at “Cloud of Wonder” accompanied by a live poetry reading. ‘“Imagine’ is a really first-rate collection of written and visual artworks,” said Robb Woulfe, CEO of BreckCreate. “It shows the talent and potential of Summit County youth. We are very excited to engage with, support, and promote our younger generations of artists and writers.” The book can be purchased at Next Page bookstore in Frisco, Gallery@OMH on Main Street Breckenridge, and other local shops, with the suggested $15 donation going to Mountain Mentors’ efforts to match caring adult volunteers with youth ages 8-18. “I think it’s really nice having something be your own but also be supported by BreckCreate,” said Chase, who worked on selecting art for the opening while his friends put the gallery together. “They allow a lot of freedom and are open to ideas. It’s really cool to see our work pay off with a successful gallery opening, and to see an awesome product come out that benefits a lot of other people too.” “It was neat to see the families and children come out,” said Fischer. “We really felt like it was a model to look to—to have everyone feel included and to be able to captivate an audience from all over the county.” The next exhibition, entitled “Museum of Memories,” opens in mid-October in conjunction with the Día de los Muertos festivities, which take place November 1-3 at the Arts District. This show, too, will include work by students

of all ages, this time in the form of large canvases “focusing on inclusion,” as Chase put it, “but also really capturing what a lot of artists base their art on—which are memories.” Since there are many children of Latin American heritage in Summit County who have taken part in Día de los Muertos celebrations with their families, Fischer hopes those memories, and the memories inspired by sharing them, will help teachers and students formulate thoughtful contributions to the show while including more young artists overall. Students from Summit High School and Dillon Valley Elementary School will be on hand to lead visitors through bilingual, interactive tours of the gallery during Día de los Muertos. “We are so thankful for BreckCreate giving us the opportunity to partner, and for having a space for us,” said Fischer, noting that the new Gallery@SBL, located downstairs in South Branch Library, is a perfect fit since it is a county space, inclusive of Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne, and other local towns. Both the Junior Executive Art Panel and the After School Writing Club are open to public, private, and home-schooled students, as well as seasonal visitors and vacationers. They are among a slate of offerings for children, teenagers, and educators made possible by the growing partnership between BCA and local schools. One notable program for educators is Teacher Academy, now in its second year, which offers teachers the opportunity to earn graduate credit from Adams State University while learning techniques to integrate art into the curriculum. “It’s similar to a docent curriculum,” said Spiro, who teaches the course. Using the Breckenridge public art collection as a launching point, teachers learn how to create and execute lesson plans centered around


artwork—whether in Breckenridge or elsewhere—and how to build a creative toolkit to connect students with that art. “I loved that there was no pressure to feel like you had to be any sort of professional expert in art history, critiquing art, or creating it in order to aptly incorporate art into your curriculum,” said Alyssa Geiger, who teaches English at Summit High School. “After creating sample art-incorporation lessons for the final activity of the Teacher Academy class, I taught my exact lessons the following semester, and loved how well the students connected with the content. The fact that this Teacher Academy course was so widely applicable to all levels and subject areas was a huge draw for me and made for a fantastically diverse classroom of fellow educators.” “I learned so much about our local art,” said Amy Schroder, who teaches kindergarten at Breckenridge Elementary School. “Maybe I want to teach my class about how our community values reading,” she said. “There’s a sculpture of a girl reading in front of the library. It intertwines what we are trying to teach—but when students can see it happening around them, I think that makes it more powerful.” Schroder has also taken her kindergarten class on field trips to the Breckenridge Arts District, where students rotate from station to station experiencing art forms from ceramics and printmaking to drawing, or creating their own self-portraits. It connects into the school’s “express yourself” planner, a theme that is part of the district’s International Baccalaureate program. “They are 5 and 6 years old and they can walk by the Tin Shop and say, ‘I learned about poetry in there.’ And that’s right in their town,”





Schroder said. “That’s so accessible. It’s a unique opportunity for a small town, I think.” Other youth opportunities made possible by BCA and its partners include summer art camps at the Arts District and “Catch Camps” offered with Keystone Science School. Each month’s Second Saturday includes family programming, and there are additional programs from after-school and toddler art to teen internships and community projects. Both Snowy Peaks High School and Colorado Mountain College students benefit from Arts District facilities and resources as part of their art programs. Weighing in on Arts District programming is the Teacher Parent Advisory Committee, which meets quarterly. “It’s a diverse group of people,” said Schroder, who sits on the committee alongside parents, K-12 teachers, and principals. “Becca [Spiro] has taken our advice to formulate her camps,” said Schroder, whose son took part in the 4-day Ready, Set, Paint! camp in June. “She is really receptive to ideas and appreciates the perspectives of the committee. I think when parents and teachers are given the opportunity to collaborate, we can learn from one another and positive things can happen.”

“I never see students as happy as they are, in the school setting, as when they are sitting in the art classroom listening to music and creating art,” said Fischer, who teaches art classes part-time at Summit High School and landscape painting and children’s summer camps for the Arts District, in addition to her role with the Junior Executive Art Panel. “I think that art experience is critical for everyone.” “Hopefully we inspire kids to consider careers in the visual arts,” Fischer said, describing JEAP as “resume-building” because the students will have “a handful of exhibits under their belts that they have been involved with from inception to realization,” not to mention exposure “to intellectual thoughts and ideas that are behind the visual arts,” and practical ways to get involved. “There are real options out there in the creative careers,” she said. “We want to expose the next generations to all that is possible in the creative arts—and getting involved early is key,” said Woulfe. “We are really just now getting started on this rich and diverse palette of youth programming, made possible by vibrant partnerships with our local schools, young people, and teachers. It will be exciting to see what the arts landscape in Summit County looks like in 20 years.”

BCA for teens + tweens // BCA for kids + families // BCA for educators // Gallery@SBL // Summit County Library // 103 S. Harris St., Breckenridge Gallery@OMH // 136 S. Main St., Breckenridge






/objectified/ An object of art

My Book Artist Jane Rankin takes inspiration from the classical sculpture of ancient Greece as well as her experience as a schoolteacher. Her work centers on children, including “My Book,” a bronze figure of a child poring through a picture book. The piece appeared in the Sculpture on the Blue exhibit before being purchased for the public art collection by the family of Anne and Jim Pinion in 2006. It was first installed in front of the South Branch Library on Airport Road, then moved to the library’s new location on Harris Street in 2015. Breckenridge public art collection // Jane Rankin //






/sourced/ A guide to creative businesses and organizations in and around Breckenridge Cultural Organizations Breckenridge Backstage Theatre 121 S. Ridge St. Breckenridge Creative Arts 150 W. Adams Ave. Breckenridge Film Festival 103 S. Harris St.

Nikki LaRochelle Design Squeeze Designz

Alice G. Milne House and Memorial Park 102 N. Harris St.

Straughn Design 552 97 Circle

Barney Ford House Museum 111 E. Washington Ave.

Summit Creations 102 Continental Ct.

Breckenridge Sawmill Museum Boreas Pass Rd. Breckenridge Heritage Alliance 309 N. Main St. Breckenridge Music 201 S. Ridge Street Breckenridge Tourism Office 111 Ski Hill Rd. National Repertory Orchestra 111 S. Main St.

Branding + Design The Brandon Agency 160 E Adams Ave. GatherHouse Inc. 110 Second Ave., Frisco KL Creative Design 304 Illinois Gulch Rd. Angela Knightley McGraphix Creative & Consulting 201 N Ridge St.

Museums + Historic Sites

Galleries Arts Alive 500 S. Main St. Blue River Fine Art Gallery 411 S. Main St. Breckenridge Gallery 124 S. Main St. Colorado Scenics 421 S. Main St. Gary Soles Gallery 300 S. Main St. JK Studio 100 S. Main St., 2nd floor Raitman Art Galleries 100 N. Main St. 421 S. Main St.

William H. Briggle House 104 N. Harris St. Country Boy Mine 542 French Gulch Rd. Edwin Carter Museum 111 N. Ridge St. High Line Railroad Park 189 Boreas Pass Rd. Lomax Gulch 301 Ski Hill Rd. Mountain Top Children’s Museum 605 S. Park Ave. Prospector Park 112 N. Main St. Red White and Blue Fire Museum 308 N. Main St. Summit Ski Exhibit 308-B S. Main St.

Boutiques + Specialty


Breckenridge Photographics 500 S. Main St.

Allen Guerra Architecture 1915 Airport Rd.

The Glass Art Company 411 S. Main St. #16 Global Candle Gallery 326 S. Main St. Magical Scraps 310 S. Main St. Marigolds Farmhouse Funk + Junk 215 S. Main St. Ole Man Berkins 326 S. Main St. Portiera Designs 326 S. Main St. Ready Paint Fire 323 N. Main St. Ruby Jane 232 S. Main St. Wandering Daisy 326 S. Main St. Young Colors 226 S. Main St., Unit 1

Arapahoe Architects 322-C N. Main St. bhh Partners 160 E. Adams Ave. Equinox Architecture, LLC 520 S. Main St. J.L. Sutterley Architect 500 S. Ridge St. Matthew Stais Architects 108 N. Ridge St. Michael F. Gallagher Architect Neely Architecture 1705 Airport Rd.

Breweries + Craft Beverages Après Handcrafted Libations 130 S. Main St. Breckenridge Brewery 600 S. Main St. Breckenridge Distillery 1925 Airport Rd. Broken Compass Brewing 68 Continental Ct.

Cafes + Coffee Houses Amazing Grace 213 Lincoln Ave. Cabin Coffee Company 222 S. Main St.

Healing Arts

Clint’s Bakery & Coffee House 131 S. Main St.

Alpine Spa and Salon 500 S. Main St., 3rd floor

Cuppa Joe 118 S. Ridge St.

Ambika Healing 435 N. Park Ave. Blue Sage Spa 224 S. Main St.

Mug Shot Café 435 N. Park Ave. Starbucks 225 S. Main St.

Breckenridge Bliss Massage Therapy 325 S. Main St. Meta Yoga Studios 118 S. Ridge St.






In the spirit of remembering our deceased ancestors, BCA’s La Corrida de los Muertos (Race of the Dead) on November 3 takes runners past the historic Valley Brook Cemetery, culminating with a variety of free Día de los Muertos activities on the Arts District campus in celebration of this rich cultural tradition.