krēˈāt issue 13

Page 1

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

Published by Breckenridge Creative Arts | ISSUE NO. 13, Winter/Spring 2019



: 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 creative individuals or businesses, cultural organizations, events, and objects 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


04 18


departments Foreword


Conversations ON ULLR + CULTURAL IDENTITY 12 Objectified ULLR


Around town MAKERS ON HIGH








Liam Doran

Additional Photo Credits ‘A world beyond’ images courtesy of Tanya Schultz and Ashley Eliza Williams; ‘An arts organization evolves’ images by Liam Doran, Jenise Jensen and Joe Kusumoto; ‘On wallpaper + immortality’ images courtesy of Laura Shill.

Cover + Back Cover Artwork Joe Kusumoto Special thanks to the Town of Breckenridge for its generous support. @breckcreate //

FOREWORD /krē’āt/ WINTER/SPRING 2019 Our winter/spring issue of /krē’āt/ reflects on Breckenridge Creative Arts five years in with an eye to our past, present, and future. Through the lenses of both history and art we revisit the lore surrounding our beloved snow god Ullr, and from there journey on to the fantastic worlds of artists Tanya Schultz and Ashley Eliza Williams. With help from Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, we trace our public Gallery@OMH from the historic meeting place of Masonic Lodge #47 that it once was, to the active community art space it is today. There, historic and modern worlds collide once morein an exhibition that juxtaposes local Victorian wallpapers, on loan from the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Archives with our current predilection for selfie-making in a wildly colorful but ‘Inedible Feast’ by contemporary artist Laura Shill.







Fantasy lands, Norse mythology, and ecological landscapes coalesce in this Ullr-inspired frolic through the imagined worlds of Pip & Pop and Ashley Eliza Williams.






A world beyond

Artists construct fantasy lands as we petition the god of snow


ach year in Breckenridge we celebrate

folk tales, especially ones that encompass

Ullr Fest with taciturn acknowledgement

a kind of wish-fulfillment—stories of finding

of the mythology behind it—how once

paradise, treasure, and other worlds. There

upon a time, in an ancient world far from our

are interesting parallels with the way we are

own, the gods battled in the skies, birthing

always searching for a kind of happiness or

lands and weather and other wonders of

fulfillment, especially through purchasing or

nature. The world of the Norse snow god Ullr

consuming stuff.”

carries particular appeal, for within it lies a paradise of sparkling, abundant powder that

She finds tales of food utopias like the Dutch

fuels the mountain dweller’s wildest dreams.

Luilekkerland or French Land of Cockaigne, “where sugar rains from the sky and the streets





revelry, lands,

escape during medieval times, when people

world-building, and mythology through the

didn’t have enough food to eat,” she said.

works of Australian artist Tanya Schultz and

“At the same time they were also seen as

American artist Ashley Eliza Williams, January

cautionary tales of gluttony.”



are lined with pastries,” particularly appealing. These places represented “a kind of fantasy or









24 to March 10, 2019. In






Pip & Pop

original installation upstairs at Gallery@OMH

Under the name Pip & Pop, Tanya Schultz

that responds to Norse mythology—the realm

and her partner Chad will create whimsical

of our beloved Ullr—as well as local lore about

three-dimensional fantasy worlds of rainbows,

Breckenridge as a sovereign kingdom. “I’ve

flowers, and creatures using candy, sugar,

been creating some super sparkly objects

glitter, plastic ephemera, fuzzy balls, and other

that are inspired from Norse mythologies,”

craft materials.

Schultz said. “There are great descriptions of places that existed such as Asgard—a

“I’m interested in fictional geographies—places

beautiful paradise filled with jewels and

that exist in mythologies, video games, stories,

gold—and also rainbow bridges that connect

or just our imagination,” Schultz said. “I love






longtime self-identity as a “kingdom” (see

point that there are too many saturated colors,

page 14) figures into the artists’ material choices.

or too many pretty, sparkly things? I hope that the work teeters on this edge.”

“In the center of the room will be a series of platforms that are covered in patterns of washi

Ashley Eliza Williams

tape, sparkle tape, and colored and metallic

Downstairs at Gallery@OMH, fantasy takes

vinyl,” Schultz said. The platforms represent

one step closer to reality in the work of Ashley

a landscape of multi-leveled worlds—evoking

Eliza Williams, whose process begins with care-

the nine worlds of Norse mythology, which the

ful study of the natural world. “I look closely—

gods traveled between via rainbows, as well

explore every lichen, every detail, every crack,”

as video games where characters jump from

said Williams, who renders subjects from

one level to the next. “On top of the platforms

floating, lichen-covered rocks and spherical,

we’ll be creating a detailed work composed of

planetary masses to smoke, clouds, and stars

hundreds of objects created in my studio here

in paint on canvas.

in Australia,” she said, using “sugar, glitter, polyurethane foam, modeling clay, pompoms,

Her subjects are recognizable but surreal.

sequins, beads, crystals, artificial flowers,”

“I’ve always been interested in internal worlds

and more.

and how that relates to the natural world— how, depending on our perception, we can all

“There is a lot of sugar in our work in various

move through the same landscape and have a

forms,” she noted. “It has a beautiful sparkle to

different experience,” she said.

it but also elicits a sense of taste, of sweetness. I think sugar holds an empty promise—it’s

For her “Sentient” series, she hiked Horsetooth

sweet and appealing but there is nothing

Reservoir near Fort Collins, studying how “in

lasting or nutritious about it.” The same

the early morning the light would come in and

aesthetic underlies the choice to use cheap,

the rocks would really look like living beings,

colorful craft materials.

and they would change over the course of the day” to “take on the colors of landscape

In Breckenridge, Schultz looks forward to

and sky.” While most people think of rocks as

responding to the mountains, which are

inanimate objects, she studied them carefully to

integral to many paradise mythologies. “I’m

find the living “sentients” within. “I’m interested

also influenced by folktales where rocks,

in lichen—how it is very much alive and very

mountains, or even ordinary objects come to

sensitive,” she said. “Scientists use lichen to

life,” she added. She will create the installation

measure the health of a landscape; it changes

over the course of two weeks with the help of

color and recedes or grows based on the level

local volunteers.

of pollution.”

“I hope to instill a sense of optimism in my


work,” Schultz said, “but I’m also interested

motivation. “I’m an environmentalist,” Williams

in the idea of abundance [and] excess. How

said. “I’m interested not so much in painting

much sweetness is too much? Where is the

pictures of a depleted landscape,” but “in












trying to capture some of the complexity and

“I think about ancient people who just saw an

wonder” of natural phenomena that may one

edge of a whale and invented a monster, or a

day be lost to climate change.

dragon,” she said. “Mythical beings started out as sort of a mythological error, after people

“Our inner lives are made up of the things that

saw the edge and invented the rest. I think we

we experience as we move through the world,”

still do that a bit—and I do that in my work.”

she said. “When that landscape becomes impoverished and not as complex—when we

‘No Man’s Land’

lose those organisms, animals, and trees—

“How many times have we been accused of

our inner world becomes less complex. I’m

being Disneyland, and a place to escape

interested in telling stories of that complexity.”

reality?” asked longtime local Leigh Girvin, reflecting on Breckenridge and the parallels

Currently, she is interviewing scientists about

one might draw to the fantasy worlds of artist

grief, and what it means emotionally to study

Tanya Schultz.

something that is potentially disappearing, like a coral reef. “I think I’m an artist who really

“In Breckenridge, we love our myths; we love

wants to be a scientist,” Williams said. “I love

our lore. Ullr is but one of them,” she said.

the idea someone can spend their whole life

“We have our lore of ‘No Man’s Land,’ and we

studying a single organism, event, or system;

recently embraced the troll, ‘Isak Heartstone.’

that focus is inspiring to me.” Her admiration

Whatever is in our cultural psyche, it is

carries over to historians, and the way they

something that resonates with us, that we are

dedicate themselves to archiving information.

drawn to—these Northern European-based

“Maybe I’m archiving something that’s more

myths. It makes sense, because that is where

internal,” she reflected.

the snow is.”

Williams is working on a new series called

Thus this winter, as we don our Viking hats

“Insomnia Drawings,” which she renders at

to invite the god of winter and snow into our

night during intense periods of insomnia. “I love

hearts and minds through spirited bacchanalia,

going for walks in the woods in the middle of

it seems fitting to journey through Gallery@

the night and early mornings when you can

OMH at 136 S. Main Street for another cosmic

only see the edges of something, or a shadow

romp through the invented worlds of Tanya

of something, and you have to fill in the rest,”

Schultz and Ashley Eliza Williams en route.

she said. “Perceptually that’s fascinating to me—it means you are creating a world that is half reality and half wherever your mind wants to take you.”

Tanya Schultz // Pip & Pop // Ashley Eliza Williams // Breckenridge exhibition series // Gallery@OMH // 136 S. Main St., Breckenridge







On Ullr + cultural identity Longtime local Leigh Girvin unearths new details through oral history project

I understand you have been recording oral histories. Can you tell us about that? The Oral History Archives Project is a new program of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance to capture the stories and memories of Breckenridge’s history as a ski town in the voices of those who experienced it and made it happen. In this process we are unearthing new details, some new information, and solving a few mysteries. And you uncovered a 1963 clipping that shed light on the first Ullr Fest—or Ullr Dag, as it was called then? Yes I took a photo of an article clipping that someone had in a scrapbook. It is well known that the first Ullr Dag event had coins printed, and we know the Feds came and said, ‘You can’t mint your own money.’ One of the things we learned from the article is that apparently making coins for special events was fairly common practice—and Breckenridge was busted. Why crack down on us? It was because someone reported us. That was new information. These are the kinds of details we can use to paint the picture of the first Ullr celebrations. Have you learned anything else about Ullr Fest? We recently interviewed three children of a family who came to Breckenridge in the summer of ‘61 before the ski area started. They brought old family photos with them, and some of the Ullr coins. One of the things we learned from the photos is that the first Ullr Dag included a dance contest to ‘The Twist,’ and one of those girls won the contest twisting away to Chubby Checker. So we know it was silly then, in a lot of the ways that it’s silly now. Also, the first Ullr Dag had skijoring on French Street, with horses and skiers. It’s the details, I think, that fill in the richness of our history.


What do you think Ullr Fest says about our cultural identity? What’s really important about Ullr—and this is where I think it ties into our cultural identity—goes back to the early days of Breckenridge Ski Area. The first ski instructors who were recruited to come to Breckenridge were Norwegian. they had a skill we didn’t have in the U.S.—they knew how to teach skiing. One of the many ways Breckenridge is unique is that our first ski instructors were Norwegian; most of the other ski areas brought in Austrians and Germans to teach skiing. It makes a lot of sense the Norwegians would come up with the idea for a winter carnival that honors the Norse god of winter and snow, Ullr. I’ve heard from a number of people the idea to have the festival, Ullr Dag, came from our Norwegian ski instructors. This is an important connection to our cultural identity. It sounds as though winter figures prominently into our identity too? We also have Boreas—the Greek god of the north wind and winter. Boreas, our famous pass, has been around a lot longer than Norwegians or skiing. It’s kind of a root cultural identity for Breckenridge already, to have that connection to a god of winter and snow. It makes sense because here we are in Breckenridge, at 9,600 feet above sea level, on the roof of the continent, tucked up against the Continental Divide—so our cultural identity is also an identity of place. We are a place that is wintery a lot; we have seven months of snow up here. It was not uncommon when I was a kid to have 20 degrees below zero for days in a row, and you’d be lucky if it warmed up to 0. Trygve talks about one day when it was 57 degrees below zero. It makes sense, where we live, that our identity is defined with winter.





How does this play out between locals and visitors? Cultural identity defines us, and when there is an “us,” there is an “other.” In some ways, celebrating Ullr becomes a warning to outsiders—you need to learn to embrace winter or else you are not going to be very happy here. There’s a great meme on Facebook lately that says, “If you choose not to find joy in snow, you will have less joy in your life, but you will still have snow.” That sums up, in a lot of ways, where we live—our cultural identity. It’s something we can rally around and have fun with. It defines us. It’s part of our lore and mythology. Why does Breckenridge sometimes refer to itself as ‘The Kingdom’? Back in the 1930’s a group of local ladies decided they wanted to find out when Breckenridge was admitted to the Union. They did some poking around and they determined that Breckenridge is on a strip of land that was never officially entered into the U.S. Subsequent historians will argue the accuracy of that—but this is what they believed in the 1930’s. I’ve seen a photo of the ladies and the governor officially bringing Breckenridge into the Union. They decreed: ‘We will come into the U.S. but one or two days per year we get to be a sovereign kingdom of Breckenridge.’ Those one or two days a year became ‘no man’s days’—we weren’t in the U.S. ‘No Man’s Land’ continued well into my

youth; it was an event, a fundraiser for the fire department. Since we are in no man’s land, since we are a kingdom, we have a right to mint our own coins—ergo the Ullr coins. That’s where lore ties into the early Ullr Dag festival. Breckenridge Creative Arts is hosting an exhibition that ties into Ullr Fest. Why should we connect art with history? When you’re talking about cultural identity, a lot of times you are talking about the arts. The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance can overlap with artifacts, newspaper clippings, and oral histories that help define that culture. There are so many opportunities for collaboration between Breckenridge Heritage Alliance and Breckenridge Creative Arts. I think Ullr is a good starting point. How can people help with the Oral History Archives Project? In the year since we started recording oral histories, I have spoken with over 60 people. Each interview I do raises more questions, more threads to unravel, more people to talk to. We are gaining a very rich and detailed view of the formation of Breckenridge as a ski town, and there is still so much more to uncover. If anyone with memories and stories of Breckenridge from the 60’s through 90’s would like to share them for the record, please contact me at or archivist Kris Ann Knish at

Leigh Girvin came to Breckenridge as a child in 1972. After many years serving as executive director of Summit Huts Association and Continental Divide Land Trust, she now volunteers and works with numerous community organizations, including Breckenridge Creative Arts and the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. The oral history recordings will be kept in the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Archives, located in the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center and South Branch Library building on Harris Street. Breckenridge Heritage Alliance // Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Archives //






/objectified/ An object of art

Ullr Almost every year since 1963, Breckenridge has honored the Norse god of skiing, Ullr, in a raucous annual festival that beseeches the skies to open and drop their bounty of crystalline gold. Seen by many as the bringer of snow, Ullr is idolized in this metal sculpture by the late Richard Jagoda, who was a key character in the antics of the early Ullr Dag—as the festival used to be known—and among the first ski instructors at Breckenridge. The piece was purchased for the Breckenridge public art collection by Atlas Development Corporation. Breckenridge public art collection //







2018 marks five years of planning, investment, and execution on a vision for Breckenridge to be a world-leading creative destination. Here’s a look at BCA 5 years in.






An arts organization Breckenridge Creative Arts reflects, refocuses + forges ahead



t’s hard to believe five years have passed since the Town of Breckenridge established Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA), the nonprofit organization charged with managing facilities and assets like the Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge Arts District, Breckenridge Theater, and public art collection, while at the same time re-envisioning arts programming for a new era. In that time, costumed stilt walkers, face projections on trees, and whimsical glowing kites have animated town streets and skies, while musicians played high in the trees above pop-up artworks on local trails, all part of a slate of new festivals—including the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts (BIFA) and WAVE: Light + Water + Sound—designed to animate public space with shared experiences of wonder and awe. “I think the festivals have been enormously successful—both in attracting new visitors to Breckenridge but also enriching the lives of the entire community,” said Bob Lowe, who steps up as chair of the BCA board in January. Lowe has been a board member since BCA’s formative years, when arts executive Robb Woulfe was hired to found and lead the new organization. “I think early on Robb did a really nice job of experimenting with different things to see how they would work,” said Lowe, while admitting that some things didn’t work as well as others. “We did late night movies in the Arts District, but when it doesn’t get dark until 9:30 p.m., and when it gets dark, it gets cold, and the weather is not predictable—it didn’t work out too well. The Fire Arts Festival was so popular that we overran the town’s resources, so we had to back off that one.” “But that’s all part of the process—we experiment, we learn, and BCA gets better,” he explained, using the evolving function of the Arts District as an example. “Now we have a nice educational component that helps the school system,” he said, not to mention increased collaboration and participation by locals in workshops and classes offered on campus. A learning opportunity “Understanding how best to serve our residents and guests is a process that takes time and experience,” agreed Woulfe. “It involves listening to our community, assessing our organizational strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing forces, trends, and models in order to strategize Breckenridge’s continued creative development.” A growing body of information—made possible through feedback-gathering tools like in-person and online surveys, focus groups, social media listening, and analytics and reporting—underpins BCA’s efforts. “The knowledge and experience we’ve gained will help us deepen the relevance, benefit, and value of programs and services to residents and guests,” Woulfe said. One example is Date Night—a program on the Arts District campus that encourages mingling along with craft creation. “We’ve had a lot of success on campus with socially-based activities,” he said, “so this year we are retiring a couple programs and trying to leverage what’s been

more popular.” Among the new offerings will be a series of contemporary mountain craft classes selected to appeal to the high country, do-it-yourself spirit. In 2019 these will include woodworking and welding, with hopes to offer classes like foraging wild edibles, designing fishing flies, and constructing snowshoes and custom-made skis in the future. Of course a huge topic of discussion lately has been “Isak Heartstone,” the 15-foot-tall troll created by Danish sculptor Thomas Dambo for the 2018 BIFA festival’s Trail Mix series, who sat stacking stones amidst the tailings piles on the Wellington Trail for three months this summer and fall. The sculpture was a huge draw for visitors and locals alike, but resulted in traffic complaints from residents. “We were surprised how incredibly popular the troll became,” admitted Town Council


member Wendy Wolfe. “We had done trail art for a couple years during BIFA. You would go out on your favorite trail and you would stumble onto this eclectic group of musicians performing in the woods; it was delightful. I heard locals talk about that, and they would remember it when it came around the next year. Of course the troll took on a life of its own. Who can predict it?” “I think that’s one of the great things about art,” she added. “Art by its nature can be delightful; it can be controversial; it can be surprising. It arouses emotions you didn’t predict. I think sometimes we get caught up in the issues around it, and forget to celebrate the successes.” In November, Town Council voted to remove “Isak Heartstone” for public safety reasons and the troll was de-installed, with key sculptural





components preserved in the hopes of reconstructing it in a more suitable location at a future date. She sees it as a learning opportunity. “I think there are questions we have to ask ourselves in the future: ‘What if this is wildly popular? If it is, have we put it in the right place? Are we prepared to give it the proper signage from the beginning? Are we prepared to transport people appropriately?’ We have to start thinking more around ‘What are the consequences if this is wildly successful?’ Because we just learned what that looks like.” Attracting visitors From the start, one of BCA’s major goals has been to drive creative tourism. “We have accomplished that in a number of ways,” Robb Woulfe said. “Now, we are being asked by stakeholders if we need to be driving tourism to Breckenridge. There’s a danger in the idea that ‘bigger is better,’” he admitted. “So we have to continue to evaluate what success is for us, and for our community.” Behind that self-reflection is the fact that the tourism landscape has shifted in recent years. No longer is the town struggling to get people to the high country during shoulder seasons— in part due to population growth on the Front Range, Councilmember Wolfe explained. “If we get too crowded, if we have too many people here, and the experience is not what people hoped it would be—it’s like the expression, you ‘kill the goose that laid the golden egg,’” she said. “That’s a challenge for us. The Town of Breckenridge is only so big.” Conversations like these have led the Town to partner with the Breckenridge Tourism Office (BTO) to pursue alignment between its Vision 2040 buildout and capacity study,


and the tourism office’s master plan. Topics of discussion include how to manage the guest experience better, and how to attract destination visitors who will spend a week, not just weekends, in Breckenridge. The Town has also commissioned AMS Planning & Research to re-examine its investment in local arts organizations. “We have been very blessed to have vigorous resident organizations in Breckenridge who are passionate about what they do,” the Councilwoman said, listing the newly-renamed Breckenridge Music, National Repertory Orchestra, Breckenridge Film Festival, and Breckenridge Backstage Theatre among those that have provided top-notch programming for decades. Since BCA’s start, many have teamed to co-present films, artwork, and performances—a trend Robb Woulfe describes as a “rising tide” that benefits all parties while maturing the town’s artistic identity and strengthening its cultural profile. “It’s all about effective collaboration and coming up with a model where everyone can not only succeed but thrive—to float those boats even higher,” Wendy Wolfe agreed, while acknowledging the occasional scheduling conflicts that crop up. “These are wonderful problems to have in the name of growing a better art program.” “Within the arts community we are starting to build a reputation,” Lowe commented, touting the reinvigorated artist-in-residence program, and the fact that 161 people from around the world, representing 6 continents, 28 countries, and 27 U.S. states, applied this year. The successes continue to add up. In 2016 the Breckenridge Arts District was designated a Certified District in the Colorado Creative





Industries Creative District program. In 2017 Breckenridge was ranked the number 1 small community on the National Center for Arts Research’s Arts Vibrancy Index. Local, regional, and national funders have rallied in support, funding BCA initiatives with a total of $325,400 in grant awards since the start of operations in 2015. BCA’s new gallery exhibition series, reimagined in 2017, exposes Breckenridge audiences to the latest in contemporary art from world-renowned and emerging local artists through a diverse array of works that cut across disciplines of visual art, performance, film, new media, and social practice.

welcome other things that would call our attention to important issues—water, global warming, beetles, wildfires. I think that’s a very worthy exploration for BCA going forward.” BCA takes that idea a step further this summer with “Ecoventions,” a project that utilizes public art to directly impact an environmental need. The centerpiece is a watershed sculpture by artists Daniel McCormick and Mary O’Brien, designed to restore equilibrium to an adversely impacted ecosystem. The artists use local natural materials such as willow or beetle kill pine to weave large bas-

As to what he hopes the landscape will look like in the future, Lowe commented: “I’d like to think that BCA and Breckenridge are thought leaders in the arts industry 20 years from now—that other towns are coming to us and saying, ‘Wow, how did you do this?’”

ket forms that are live staked onto the site, where they grow into silt traps, erosion control implements, and fish habitat, eventually disappearing to become part of the land and waters they serve to improve. The concept, which has been funded by a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, teams ecological restoration experts with the artists and BCA and Town representatives.

Enriching community BCA also aims to enrich the lives of local community members—a goal the group has pursued in recent years through a two-pronged programming focus on issues important to the community like water, environment, cultural diversity, and mental health; and hands-on artwork that promotes shared play in public space within the larger goal of sparking social interaction.

Meanwhile BCA’s programmatic focus on interactive art aims to delight at the same time as it encourages community cohesion. Citing “Los Trompos”—the large-scale spinning tops by Mexican artists Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena—Lowe commented that “for young families especially, it’s a way to introduce them to art that’s more interactive and playful, not so cerebral that they have to think about it; they can just be part of it.”

In “The Blue Trees” by Konstantin Dimopoulos, for example, town trees were colored cobalt blue as a wake-up call to the plight of trees in our world environment—an issue important to the Breckenridge community. “Some people thought that was just crazy,” Wendy Wolfe said. “Other people thought it was very thoughtful. Again, that’s art. That’s what art can do. Based on that experience, I would

“I think what we are doing becomes more of the texture and the fabric of the community,” he said. “It gets people off the sidelines, hiking the trails, coming to town, starting to become part of the community.” Still, Councilmember Wolfe admitted there is room for improvement. “Our residents and our locals are a little conflicted, because

they don’t really like the big crowds in town. I think when they do end up seeing the wonderful things that happen they are as delighted as much as everyone else.” “This speaks to the kinds of questions we have been asking ourselves,” Robb Woulfe said. “How can we engage our residents more, and address public concerns, so that we truly are a community resource?” “We have really come into our own in the last five years,” he added. “We are more focused, more relevant than ever before. This is the direct result of our efforts to gather data and adjust our strategies based on what we’ve learned. We look forward to seeing what the future holds as we continue this process of listening, learning, self-reflection, and growth.” Creative identity Arguably, “Isak Heartstone” has generated the most buzz of all BCA projects to date, both outside and within the community. Word got out, and local families joined the throngs of visitors hiking to see it. Many who live here referred to it fondly as “our troll.” “This is what we have been hoping for and working towards—pride of place,” Robb Woulfe said. “Destinations dream of having a

strong cultural profile—not only as a tourist draw, but because it is vital to who we are. The issue at this point becomes, not ‘Should we or shouldn’t we?’ but ‘How do we manage the experience better so Breckenridge continues to grow its creative identity, and attract destination visitors, while also enriching the lives of our community members?’” Moving forward, BCA plans to sharpen its focus on creative placemaking, community ownership, and social impact programming, he explained. “Breckenridge has benefited from adding an emphasis on art and branding the town as an arts community,” Councilmember Wolfe said. “As one of the town leaders, I do believe that we should have a vigorous art presence in this town.” “The good news is that each time we host a festival, exhibition, or special event—whether it turns out to be a great success or presents challenges—we learn more about how to do a better job moving forward,” Robb Woulfe said. “You have to remember BCA is only five years old—but we are five years smarter and stronger than when we started. I think our locals and guests will be very pleased with the changes we’ve planned for 2019, and beyond, based on everything we’ve learned.”

Breckenridge Creative Arts /






/around town/

Makers on high Arts District embraces contemporary mountain craft


or art lovers and makers, the Breckenridge Arts District is a treasured community resource. The campus of renovated historic buildings offers a rich array of classes, workshops, and events; and on the side fronting Main Street, Gallery@OMH is a hub for exhibitions, experimental music, and social gatherings. Over the past five years since Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA) took on programming for the Arts District, some of the most popular workshops have been glassblowing, pottery, and metalworking. “It has become more and more apparent, in the data we have been getting back, that our community values things that are hands-on, resourceful, and utilitarian,” said Nicole Dial-Kay, BCA’s director of exhibitions and special projects. “People here are makers. They’re active. They want that product-based end result. I think it’s the mountain spirit—that innate survivalism that makes us interested in things like woodworking, glassblowing, and other ways to create with our hands.” In response, starting in 2019, BCA will shift focus to offer more “contemporary mountain craft” experiences on the Arts District campus. “We are looking for programming that celebrates the crafts, customs, landscape, history, and stories of contemporary life in the mountains,” explained CEO Robb Woulfe. The approach takes a cue from the growing folk school movement, which aims to enrich lives,

build community, and inspire lifelong learning through the teaching of heritage crafts. New Arts District workshops slated for 2019 include woodworking and welding, both taught by local practitioners. Moving forward, BCA hopes to engage additional instructors to offer classes like yurt-building, or ski design, explained Becca Spiro, BCA’s director of learning and engagement. “There’s so much talent here,” she said, touting the do-it-yourself culture that finds local residents working in utilitarian crafts like welding as hobbies outside their regular jobs. “We are capitalizing on the talent that is in Summit County.” A new quarterly series, BCKCNTRY Bespoke, invites guests for curated evenings featuring local, small-batch artisanal makers and their original products, along with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, live music, and hands-on craft-making. Jazmyne Ortiz, formerly of Grateful Bread, will lead high-altitude pastry making and taste-testing on March 2; Rocky Mountain Soda Company follows with a session on mixed drinks with local herbs June 15. “These are the kinds of personally made products someone has spent a lifetime crafting their experience around,” said Dial-Kay. “There’s a passion and drive that comes from personal interest and care—a personal identity that goes into it when you are a craft maker.” This year will also see the expansion of the

popular Date Night series—in which singles and couples gather for a fun night creating a simple craft—from a quarterly to a monthly event. “We really play up the idea of a romantic evening,” Dial-Kay said. “We have candles, and play Barry White music. There’s usually a fun twist—like having partners switch projects halfway through. That leads to some fun conversations,” she said. “It’s a great alternative to going out to a bar, and we time it so you can go out to dinner afterwards.” “We’ve had a lot of success on campus with socially based programs,” added Woulfe, “so we are trying to provide more opportunities

for social interaction within our offerings.” Another example includes the retooled Second Saturday program, which will open up the entire Arts District to a campus crawl-style activity hub, replete with facility self-tours, craft-making, artist meet-and-greets, and mimosas for the over-21 crowd. “Ultimately our goal is for the Arts District to be a better reflection our community,” Dial-Kay said. “Instead of offering what may have worked at other museums, we are looking at the values of our community, and trying to reflect that back.”

BCKCNTRY Bespoke // Date Night // Breckenridge Arts District //







Mike Waesche

Founder and CEO of RMU SKIS Background Home: Breckenridge Family: Wife Hannah; dog Charlie Education: Colorado State, Bachelor’s of Science Why Breckenridge? The community Art Medium: Product design Latest project: Core pack 15 – RMU’s first bike pack, a 2-in-1 pack where the waist belt

becomes a fanny pack for short rides Favorite creative space: T-bar Source of inspiration: Breck provides an environment that inspires product innovation. Creativity is: For one’s use Insights Personal hero: My wife Favorite book: “Shoe dog” by Phil Knight Favorite restaurant: Angel’s Hollow Song in your head right now: “In This Love” by Stick Figure Unique home or office decor: Full service bar in our Breckenridge concept Favorite movie: “Despicable Me 3” Favorite causes: Environment Favorite way to spend free time: Skiing

Confessions What keeps you up at night? New ideas, and things I may have forgotten about Pet peeve: Learn how to get through security at the airport! First job: Driving range clean up technician First choice for a new career: Pilot What do you do to recharge your batteries? Ski or bike Guilty pleasure: Videos of dogs trying on shoes

Mike Waesche, 32, co-founded Rocky Mountain Underground—a Breckenridge-based manufacturer of skis, packs, outdoor gear, and apparel—in 2008, building skis in a garage with a couple friends. The mountain-life brand, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer, operates a retail location and full service bar at 14 S. Main Street in Breckenridge. Rocky Mountain Underground //







History and art intersect in this juxtaposition of contemporary art by Laura Shill and Victorian wallpapers from the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Archives in Breckenridge.






On wallpaper + immortality

Exhibition pairs modern self-image making with Victorian wall decor


ultimedia artist Laura Shill comes to Breckenridge March 28 to May 19, 2019 to exhibit a collection of her latest work, including a new piece, “Inedible Feast,” at the public Gallery@OMH on Main Street. Among the works she is known for is her “Hidden Mothers” series, which explores a strange phenomenon of photography’s tintype era—often, portraits of babies had invisible mothers holding them, either cropped out by the frame, or deliberately obscured behind the baby with fabric draped over their heads. Later, in her “Absent Lover” series, she created collages by photographing Harlequin romance novel covers and careful erasing one of the two figures locked in a passionate embrace. “A lot of my graduate research was about the role of photographs in helping construct a version of the self,” said Shill, who earned her MFA at the University of Boulder in 2012 and has exhibited nationally and internationally since, including at the Venice Biennale and Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. “You can perform an identity for the camera and it’s often an aspirational performance—not who you are exactly but who you’d like to be seen as,” she explained. Selfies deconstructed That concept finds its apotheosis in the upcoming exhibition, which will feature several works, among them “Separation Perfected,” a series of 36 plaster-cast arms rising out of a pedestal, each grasping a selfie-stick with a mirrored acrylic cell phone reproduction, that comes together to form the shape of an altar. “When the viewer stands before the work it breaks them into 36 pieces, reflected back to themselves but fragmented,” she said.

“I think a lot about the intimate relationship I have with my phone,” Shill explained. “It’s last thing I touch before bed, and the first thing I touch in the morning. It knows all the photos I take, even the ones I wouldn’t show to anyone. If I leave for work in the morning and leave my phone behind, it’s like a phantom limb—I have anxiety being separated from it. I’m really interested in that relationship we have with these devices and how that is changing our species.” Shill’s new work, “Inedible Feast,” takes that concept a step further by creating a fantastic feast of plastic food on a banquet table upstairs in the historic building that houses the gallery, in a room that once served as a gathering space for the Masons. The idea references Baroque paintings of feasts, which depict death and decay as metaphors for humanity’s impermanence. By creating the feast in plastic, Shill does the opposite—she comments on our desire to be immortal, which visitors will play out through the inevitable selfie-making-and sending that happens when they encounter the piece. Those who use emojis in their text messaging—and particularly those versed in “sexting,” where erotic emoji fruits like phallic eggplants are used to negotiate intimacy—will recognize those cartoon symbols, realized in plastic objects as part of the feast. Victorian wallpaper The room housing the feast will be hung with a reproduction of ornate, Victorian-era wallpaper sourced from a local historic structure—a pairing that was the brainchild of Nicole Dial-Kay, director of exhibitions and special projects for Breckenridge Creative Arts.

“If you look at Laura’s work, there is an aesthetic of excess,” she said. “There’s a deceptive prettiness to the whole thing— curlicues, ornamentation, and intricate details.” For Dial-Kay, it evoked the embellishments popular with Victorian Breckenridge’s well-heeled residents, when domestic gathering spaces like the parlor and dining room would be hung with ornate wallpapers projecting images of culture and wealth.

too costly to reproduce. It has garlands and scrolls and metallic golds and metallic greens.”

The wallpaper sample reproduction is based

on which the came from a

Upon seeing the exhibit, she hopes more local residents will contribute wallpaper

collection housed at the Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Archives in the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center, which catalogs, describes, and preserves archival material collected by Summit Historical Society and Breckenridge Heritage Alliance (BHA).

samples they discover in the walls of their homes or businesses, whether they date to the Victorian era or the 1970’s, so the collection becomes a resource “for homeowners and business owners looking to replicate the historic character of a room, or designers looking for inspiration.”

“The idea for the wallpaper collection was inspired by Robin Theobald,” said Kris Ann Knish, BHA archivist and collections manager. While partnering with the Town of Breckenridge to restore his childhood home— the 1882 Barney Ford house that would eventually become a museum honoring the life and work of the prominent African-American businessman and civil rights activist— several layers of wallpaper were discovered and preserved, she explained. Robin’s wife Patty took a sample to a company that specializes in recreating historic wallpapers, and had a reproduction made for the museum’s front entrance. That wallpaper, she admits, probably dates to a later period than when Barney Ford was living in the house. “From what I understand, the Theobalds did find the original wallpaper,” Knish said. “It consists of about five colors and was so ornately patterned it was going to be


Fabricating Victorian wallpaper is an art in and of itself, since early Victorian wallpapers were created by hand-blocks, she explained. To make a reproduction, a master drawing is made from the original pattern, and separations are cut for each color, to be screened in layers. “These companies are trying to be as authentic as possible,” Knish said.

Art of illusion Another reason Dial-Kay decided to pair the Victorian wallpaper with Shill’s work was the fact that Shill, too, has created wallpaper. “The wallpaper I made in the past looks like it would be at home in a Victorian, ornate setting,” Shill admitted, “but if you look closely it’s a subversive image that would have made the Victorians squirm.” Shill’s feast will similarly deceive. “It’s all sort of perfectly placed and inviting,” Dial-Kay noted. “That’s the whole idea of a feast—you want it, you want to eat.” But you can’t, because it’s made of plastic. “I think if an alien species discovered our species through our Instagram feeds, they would see us out in nature, eating great food, with our friends, and we are so happy,” Shill said. “In reality it’s really the opposite—we





are anxious; we feel isolated; we don’t have a lot of hope for the future—but the thing we reflect back through our images is sort of the opposite of that. I’m interested in the notion of food that doesn’t nourish you, so I’m presenting a feast you can’t eat, and hands that don’t touch you back.” That said, she anticipates it to be “a visually exciting and fun show,” made with a lot of hands-on help. People can interact with the exhibit by taking photos and sharing them. The idea to create an “Instagrammable” exhibit first occurred to her in 2015 when she showed her wallpaper. “It was just wallpaper on the wall; it didn’t occur to me that this will be the backdrop for 100 selfies. What else do you do anywhere but make a selfie?” she asked. It’s a human desire to put our best face forward—whether wealthy Victorians reflecting taste and status through home décor, or the curated images we present online. It’s just that today, in the moment of time Shill’s latest body

of work explores, “it has sort of turned the volume up to 11,” she said. “It’s far more instant—we can project these things literally across the world to a really large audience of essentially strangers.” “I’m not trying say cell phones are evil—I’m trying to look at it almost like a scientist would look at the way you would look at the impacts of a thing,” she said. “Cell phones allow us to travel in time and space in ways that separate us from our physical realities.” Her Breckenridge work promises to be a study in contrasts—at the same time a commentary on modern self-image as it is a colorful playroom of fantastic creations—creating the conditions for “a beautiful moment” where people stand next to her work and make a selfie. “In general I like to not give guidelines, or instructions. I think it’s more interesting when people make choices regarding it,” she said. “That becomes more interesting than the work itself.”

Laura Shill // Gallery@OMH // 136 S. Main St., Breckenridge Breckenridge Heritage Alliance // Dr. Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Archives //







Gallery@OMH From Freemasons to contemporary art: a community space repurposed


ow and again, a group of Masons head over to 136 S. Main Street in Breckenridge to spend time at Gallery@OMH, Old Masonic Hall—the community art gallery and gathering space in a historic building that was once home to Breckenridge Masonic Lodge #47. Their favorite spot is at the top of the stairs, in the small parlor area where a rotating exhibit of Freemason artifacts pays homage to the history of the place. “We have an image of the founding officers from the original Masonic Lodge #47 on exhibit,” said Nicole Dial-Kay, director of

exhibitions and special projects for Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA), which manages the space. There’s also a lambskin apron—which is interesting, she explained, as members are generally buried in theirs—and a big, blue light (an artifact from New York) with the symbolic “G” on it, which represents belief in a Supreme Being as the “Great Architect of the Universe,” as well as “Geometry,” the science most important to a stonemason. Dial-Kay put the exhibition together with the help of Kris Ann Knish, archivist and

collections manager for the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, from whom the artifacts are on loan. “I think she did a remarkable job,” said Raymond Smith, who serves as secretary of the local Lodge #47. “Our philosophy is to help men become better men,” he explained, noting that there are associated groups for women, young boys, and young girls too. Many influential figures in Breckenridge history were Masons, including naturalist Edwin Carter, who was a founding member. Today, Lodge #47 has 48 members. It meets at Farmer’s Corner, and prides itself on its commitment to charitable causes. Meanwhile the historic building that housed Lodge #47 for 100 years is now home to a variety of multidisciplinary performing and visual arts, including musical performances, film screenings, and a contemporary art exhibition series. Recent technological upgrades, including a large screen that descends from the ceiling and a high-definition projector, allow the upstairs space to double as a theater. “There’s so much character in this historic building,” said Dial-Kay, describing the efforts that went into preserving and re-creating era-appropriate architectural details during the building’s renovation. “That history is something we don’t want to disappear; we want to keep it present with everything we are doing here.” The structure dates back to 1892, and operated as a Masonic Lodge from 1905 to 2005. The Masons held their private meetings upstairs,

but opened the building to members and their families for special occasions like card parties, plays, children’s recitals, dinners, formal dances, and masked balls. Today, BCA has been looking for “ways to redefine it as community space where people can hang out and have a good time,” Dial-Kay said. One popular addition has been Sonic Lodge— a quarterly series of live music that was so well-attended last year, BCA is expanding it to a monthly series this year. Past performances have included local bands and DJ’s as well as Colorado regional acts like Bad Licks, Bluebook, and Vic N’ The Narwals. The 2019 lineup kicks off January 26 with Wildermiss and Jess Parsons. “Sonic Lodge is a music performance very much in the style of a basement show you’d see in college,” Dial-Kay said. “The charm of this event is that you walk down Main Street and walk into this art space filled with young people dancing and live music—and it feels like you stumbled across something magical.” “The personality of the space changes on a nightly basis,” said Robb Woulfe, CEO of Breckenridge Creative Arts. “One night you can hear a rock band and have a beer with friends while you are surrounded by contemporary art. Another night it’s a lighthearted get-together for singles where you can make a craft. The Masons are a social club, so there’s something really fitting about getting back to the idea that this is a social space,” he added. “With great respect for its history, we are excited to reinterpret, retell, and reinvent its story using contemporary art forms.”

Gallery@OMH // 136 S. Main St., Breckenridge // Sonic Lodge // Breckenridge Masonic Lodge #47 //






/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.

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.

Michael F. Gallagher Architect

Portiera Designs 326 S. Main St.

Neely Architecture 1705 Airport Rd.

Ruby Jane 232 S. Main St. Wandering Daisy 326 S. Main St. Young Colors 226 S. Main St., Unit 1

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 Matthew Stais Architects 108 N. Ridge St.

Ole Man Berkins 326 S. Main St.

Ready Paint Fire 323 N. Main St.

Breweries + Craft Beverages

Healing Arts Alpine Spa and Salon 500 S. Main St., 3rd floor Ambika Healing 435 N. Park Ave. Blue Sage Spa 224 S. Main St.

Amazing Grace 213 Lincoln Ave. Cabin Coffee Company 222 S. Main St. Clint’s Bakery & Coffee House 131 S. Main St. Cuppa Joe 118 S. Ridge 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.






The Breckenridge Arts District features a lively arts campus of renovated historic structures that now function as studio spaces for classes, workshops, affordable rentals by local artists, and live/work spaces for visiting artists-in-residence. In 2016, the campus was designated a Certified District in the Colorado Creative Industries Creative District program.