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/krē’āt/ mountain arts + culture quarterly

Published by Breckenridge Creative Arts | ISSUE NO. 7, Summer 2017


/krē’āt/ : to make or produce : to cause to exist : to bring into being Launched in 2015, /krē’āt/ is an online magazine published quarterly 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

contents features FOR THE CHILD IN ALL OF US

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CULTURE SHIFT

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OUR ART, OURSELVES

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greater creative community of Breckenridge.

departments

Creative Director

Foreward

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Conversations DRAFTING A BLUEPRINT

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Portrait BETH GROUNDWATER, MYSTERY NOVEL AUTHOR

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Scene WRITING YOUNG

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Robb Woulfe, Breckenridge Creative Arts

Editor + Content Writer Erica Marciniec

Art Director + Designer Kate Hudnut, GatherHouse Inc.

Contributing Photographer Liam Doran

Additional Photo Credits BIFA: ‘Monuments’ photos by Courtney Pedersen and Chris Phutully; ‘Los Trompos’ by Braden Camp, Jonathan Hillyer, and Abel Klainbaum; ‘Driftwood’ courtesy of Casus Circus; ‘Ants’ courtesy of Polyglot Theatre; ‘Birdmen’ courtesy of Close-Act Theatre; Itchy-O courtesy of Itchy-O; and Tree-o courtesy of Russick Smith. BMF: Graphic design imagery and photos, including Branford Marsalis, BalletX, Mandolin Orange, The Mavericks, Robert Cray, David Danzmayr, Turnpike Troubadours, Del McCoury and David Grisman, Aniello Desiderio, Teddy Abrams, Elizabeth Hainen, and Wonderbound, courtesy of the BMF and Cast Iron Design

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

Around Town MEASURING IMPACT

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Objectified TORO

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Sourced

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FOREWARD /krē’āt/ summer 17

Our summer issue of /krē’āt/ invites hands-on participation from children and inner children of all ages—whether by taking part in the interactive installations and performance art that has been thoughtfully curated for this year’s Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, or by touring the public art collection with an eye for how it speaks to who are and who we hope to be. With the Breckenridge Music Festival’s innovative new direction as a model, we look at how strategic planning helps local arts organizations navigate a changing landscape to add value to the communities they serve. Among them is Breckenridge Creative Arts—creator of the BIFA festival, manager of the public art program, and purveyor of this magazine—which benefits to this day from the dedicated services of the Public Art Advisory Committee, a group of local volunteers who play a vital role advocating for public art in Breckenridge.

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FEATURED EVENT BRECKENRIDGE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS

BIFA returns August 11-20 to transform the Breckenridge landscape with a well-curated, 10-day slate of interactive, multidisciplinary visual and performing arts experiences.


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For the child in all of us Interactive works at the heart of Breckenridge International Festival of Arts


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here’s a difference between talking to children and talking with children. The latter involves getting on the child’s level—whether literally kneeling down to see eye-to-eye, or letting him or her drive the conversation. This insight is a cornerstone of the 2017 Breckenridge International Festival of Arts (BIFA), which returns for a third year August 11-20. Many of the diverse visual and performing arts experiences to be featured are family-centered and interactive—in other words, art that is less about sitting and watching, and more about participating first-hand. ‘Ants’ by Polylot Theatre No performance encapsulates this better than “Ants,” an interactive theater experience from Australia’s Polyglot Theatre, which will perform three times daily in Blue River Plaza, free of charge, August 10-14.

The show opens when three giant ants emerge in the plaza, busy on a task reorganizing a large pile of breadcrumbs. Instead of engaging with children, the ants leave them to figure out how to take part. Eventually children start picking up on what needs to be done, handing breadcrumbs to the ants or helping them put breadcrumbs in line. There are no words in the show, just clicks, buzzes, and whirrs. “Children end up clicking at the ants,” said the troupe’s artistic director, Sue Giles, who develops her concepts by observing child’s play. “Sometimes the ants will crouch, and all the children will crouch and wait and rub their antennas together. It becomes quite magical, and really, really strange,” she said. “Sometimes it just looks like choreography.” As the performance progresses, children start laying breadcrumbs down in new lines and the ants follow suit, resulting in patterns crisscrossing public space. “The ants become


less important than the shapes that are created,” Giles said, explaining how “children change the landscape in a way that subverts the adult desire line,” a term used to describe the path grown-ups tend to walk from point A to point B. “The potential for the children to really take control and become the bosses of the landscape they create is very real,” she said. In part, “Ants” is about “realizing the independence and capability of small children,” Giles explained. “I think offering children an open idea is one of the best things you can do.” Because the show is free and accessible in public space, it attracts people who might not normally attend the theater or experience contemporary art. “People have greater access to new ideas and new ways of seeing things,” Giles said, “and I think that’s very healthy for us all.” ‘Los Trompos’ by Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena Whereas “Ants” is performance art, “Los Trompos” by Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena is a sculptural representation of five large-scale spinning tops, to be exhibited in the Breckenridge Arts District starting August 7 for BIFA and running through October 22. Although children are often told “don’t touch” when it comes to art, such is not the case with “Los Trompos.” Instead, the artwork aims to inspire interaction by inviting passersby to climb on and in the sculptures, or join together to set them in motion.

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“They were not conceived as beautiful objects, but as playful tools that generate links between individuals,” said Cadena, explaining how the work “seeks connections between individuals through laughter, joy, playfulness, beauty, and collaboration.” Children, in particular, “go crazy with them,” he said, as the pieces “become amazing, huge toys.” Past installations have seen adults, too, relaxing in their shade to socialize or read a book. “Los Trompos belong to a new expression of contemporary Latin American design, a mirror that reflects the present and speaks about a continent without borders,” Cadena said. Constructed of colorful, woven cords, they pay homage to traditional Mexican weavers while “creating innovative expressions that speak of tradition but engage with modernity and contemporary issues.” “We come from a country of rich artisanal tradition and craftsmanship,” he said. “We as contemporary Mexican designers are in a constant search to celebrate that heritage with humbleness and respect, but also with an adventurous spirit. Innovation happens there, in those moments when irreverent expressions speak about past, present, and future.” “Hector and I have a very playful spirit and come from a culture that enjoys laughter,” he added, speaking to the whimsical nature of the piece, which appeals to children and adults alike. “Our work has always that signature of searching for smiles; we love happy and

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positive individuals—and with that in mind, we always aim to construct happy communities.”

will offer an outdoor lecture on “local legends” who have shaped Breckenridge.

‘Monuments’ by Craig Walsh The temporary, visual installation “Monuments” will rove town for the duration of BIFA, lighting up area trees nightly with projections of three local subjects—historian Maureen Nicholls, age 75; biking enthusiast Jeff Wescott, age 55; and dancer Zoe Gallup, age 12. Created by Australian artist Craig Walsh, the work uses minimal-motion video to create the appearance of large, topiary-like sculptures in which the portraits of local subjects have been carved.

“The work itself looks at a different range of people to be immortalized as monuments than we would expect from a traditional monument,” said Walsh. “I like idea that I can make monuments to everyday people.”

Many of Walsh’s works, exhibited worldwide, challenge traditional conceptions of public monuments and the selective history they represent in civic space. For each new work, he collaborates with the host community to select the subjects. “The concept stimulates the community to think about others in the community who make contributions that are not necessarily so visible,” Walsh said. “That’s as important as the outcome.” The subjects for the Breckenridge installation were selected “because of their unique connection to the themes of history, athleticism, and creativity—all of which are integral to the fabric of our community,” said Robb Woulfe, creator and chief curator of BIFA. “By including Zoe, who represents the young, creative voices in our community, we aim to make connections with local children and to honor the next generation of artists, thought leaders, and change-makers.” The piece is co-presented by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, which

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Because it is mobile, “Monuments” reaches both traditional and “incidental” audiences who stumble upon it, and each site affords new interpretations based on the interplay between the work and the location’s significance to the community. The Breckenridge installation will be the artist’s U.S. premiere. ‘Driftwood’ by Casus Circus Contemporary circus returns to BIFA with the U.S. premiere of ‘Driftwood,” a show by the Australian company Casus Circus. This collective of friends and family is known worldwide for its “delicately human” performances that explore the real personalities of the acrobats. “Yes there are some amazing circus skills that celebrate the possibilities of the human body,” said Natano Fa’anana, the group’s creative producer and co-founder. “But the essence of ‘the person’ is what excites us as storytellers, and this is woven throughout the choreography.” In “Driftwood,” that includes Jesse and Lachy’s relationship as husband and husband, though same-sex marriage is illegal in Australia. “This approach to art is important because we are telling a story,” he said, “and we need to believe it from the heart, first and foremost, in order for our audience to believe it themselves.”

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The wordless story is told through “acro scenes that have the audience deathly silent out of fear of distraction,” with “humor, clowning, silence, moments borrowed from yesteryear circus days, borrowed from yesteryear Samoa, people flying from one to another, to someone displaying stunning feats of strength and grace over our heads on aerial apparatus,” he said.

a film screening of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush” accompanied by live orchestra in partnership with the Breckenridge Music Festival August 12, and a new series called Acoustic Flow featuring free outdoor classes in yoga, meditation, and healing arts accompanied by live music on the banks of the Blue River.

“We have massive respect and love for traditional circus,” Fa’anana noted, joking that in his troupe’s take, the acrobats are the animals. “If you come see our show, always feel free to approach us afterwards,” he said. “Casus animals don’t bite.”

Other live music includes an August 11 performance by Itchy-O, Denver’s 32-piece, percussion-centered electronic performance band, at Tiger Dredge lot; and singer Rhiannon Giddens, known for her Grammy-winning work as a member of the African-American folk interpreters, Carolina Chocolate Drops, at the Riverwalk Center August 17.

‘Birdmen,’ Charlie Chaplin + live music The Dutch performance troupe Close-Act Theatre will be back by popular demand to animate Blue River Plaza with new open-air acts, performed twice daily August 15-19. ‘Birdmen’ features giant, illuminated, pterodactyl-like creatures, and the 19th century marching band ‘PerQ’ is bound to inspire strange processions of performers and guests alike. The popular Trail Mix series returns too, featuring environmental installations and pop-up music performances along area trails for the duration of the festival. There will be

Creative play The 10-day Breckenridge International Festival of Arts reminds us that art need not be separate from us; instead of observing from afar, we are invited to interact with the performers, artworks, and one another. It’s captivating to see how children, in particular, connect on their own terms with one another and their landscape; and from there it’s not so big a leap to our own inner child, when we open our hands and hearts to creative play each August at BIFA.

Breckenridge International Festival of Arts // breckcreate.org/bifa Polyglot Theatre // polyglot.org.au Los Trompos // esrawe.com Craig Walsh // http://craigwalsh.net Casus Circus // casus.com.au


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/scene/

Writing young Girls’ Writing Club coached by local authors

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n April 10, a group of 12 girls gathered at Old Masonic Hall for a short story writing workshop led by local author Lindsay Eland. It was the first in a quarterly series geared toward 5th- to 8th-graders called Girls’ Writing Club, created by local parent Sonya Dalrymple as a way to develop her daughter Jaydn’s interest.

“She has always loved to tell stories,” said Dalyrmple, whose daughter already has a blog. After Jaydn fell in love with Eland’s middle grade fiction books—“Scones and Sensibility” (2009), “A Summer of Sundays” (2013), and “5 Times Revenge” (2016)—they invited Eland to lunch, and Dalyrmple later started hashing up plans to host a writing workshop with Eland.


Dalyrmple met Becca Spiro, director of learning and innovation for Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA), while exploring the option to host it at Old Masonic Hall, the recently renovated multi-arts facility on Main Street Breckenridge. Spiro herself was trying to put together activities for teens and tweens, so it turned out to be a perfect fit. At the first workshop, Eland taught the girls about character and plot development and read selections from “The Tale of Despereaux” and the Harry Potter series before they sat down to their own writing. “We were really blown away by their creativity, their language, and their sentence structure,” said Dalyrmple, who is now working with BCA and local authors to help the girls refine their written works and publish a collection. “I feel like work should be meaningful,” Dalrymple said. “It’s always more impactful if there’s an audience, a reason for it. It validates the girls’ writing. It teaches them at an early age that it is possible to publish something and get it into the hands of many people, not just their teacher.”

“Middle school is kind of tricky,” she added, explaining her hunch that the girls might feel more comfortable in an all-girls environment. “We just wanted to give them freedom without any friction. The feeling in the room was really supportive and encouraging. There was no hesitation or censoring.” The Girls’ Writing Club is open to all Summit County girls ages 11-14. The next workshop, on August 20, will be led by Kathleen Willard, a poet and printmaker who recently did a residency in the Breckenridge Arts District. Willard will take the girls to the Moonstone Trail to observe an environmental art installation, where they will write and talk about female authors inspired by nature. Parents should contact Breckenridge Creative Arts to sign up. “It made me excited to have a parent who had this vision,” Spiro said. “It’s an example of the kind of community ownership that’s possible on the Arts District campus. I’d love to see more locals who have ideas like this come forward and work with me to make them happen.”

Girls’ Writing Club // breckcreate.org/teens-tweens // 970.453.3187 ext 7 Lindsay Eland // lindsayeland.com Kathleen Willard // breckcreate.org/artists-in-residence/kathleen-willard

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/portrait/


Beth Groundwater Mystery novel author Background Home: Park Forest neighborhood, Breckenridge Family: Husband Neil, grown children Anne and John Education: B.S. in Computer Science and Psychology, College of William and Mary;

M.S. in Software Engineering, Virginia Tech Why Breckenridge? We loved it as our vacation home while raising our children in Colorado Springs, and looked forward to living here full-time.

Art Medium: Fiction writing Latest project: My last book, “A Basket of Trouble,” was published in 2013. I’m now

focused on the active retired lifestyle, and volunteering with the Breckenridge Film Festival. Favorite creative space: On a hike Source of inspiration: People and their whirling emotions and relationship issues that, who knows, could lead to murder… Creativity is: A part of daily life that can be applied to whatever you’re doing

Insights Personal hero: My grandmothers, after whom I named my daughter Favorite book: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen Favorite restaurant: The Breckenridge Distillery Restaurant, Ember, and Hearthstone Song in your head right now: “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” by Traffic Unique home or office decor: Bird prints by Colorado artist Rick Bainbridge Favorite movie: “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” Favorite causes: Getting Town Council to commit to 100% renewable energy Favorite way to spend free time: Going outside to hike, bike, ski, or whatever

Confessions What keeps you up at night? Ideas. When I was actively writing, I kept a notepad by the bed. Pet peeve: People who don’t pick up after their dogs, leaving poop on our local trails First job: Lifeguard First choice for a new career: Travel writer What do you do to recharge your batteries? Go for a walk outside or read a great new fiction

novel inside Guilty pleasure: Chocolate, the darker the better

After a career in software engineering and project management, author Beth Groundwater returned to fiction writing to publish six novels, a novella, and numerous short stories. Beth Groundwater // bethgroundwater.com

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FEATURED ORGANIZATION BRECKENRIDGE MUSIC FESTIVAL

The Breckenridge Music Festival unveils an exciting new strategic direction featuring multidisciplinary collaborations, alternative venues, emerging pop talent, and more.


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Culture shift Breckenridge Music Festival carves out a new future


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he Breckenridge Music Festival is taking a giant leap on its new course for the future. A pillar of the community formed nearly 40 years ago by local residents, the nonprofit organization is well-known for its summer festival that features chamber music programming delivered to audiences by its professional orchestra, its Blue River Series of diverse national touring acts, and year-round, in-school music education programs. But now, after asking a range of strategic questions regarding what the future should look like, the group is shifting its focus and brand. In November 2016, the Breckenridge Music Festival (BMF) launched a strategic planning process that produced a new vision and mission statement, spearheaded by a committee led by board chair Brian Hall. They studied data to learn what local and visiting audiences seek and what has worked for comparable organizations, and used their findings to plot a new strategic direction. “This process has evolved around how the BMF can complement the current arts and culture landscape in Breckenridge,” said Tamara Nuzzaci Park. Park came on board as executive director of the BMF last year and her talent and experience are taking the organization to new levels of diversity and excellence. Most significant will be a creative shift away from some of its purely classical-based products to music-based productions that span a range of artistic genres—whether in the form of collaborations between classical musicians and popular groups or instrumentalists not generally paired with orchestra, or programming that crosses into different art forms altogether, such as writing and dance. New partnerships with mission-aligned organizations throughout the region will help the BMF expand its offerings while serving broader audiences. On August 1, for example, the BMF orchestra will travel to Gerald Ford Amphitheater in Vail to perform the scores for two American ballet classics, “Serenade” and “Fancy Free,” with the Vail Dance Festival. Then on August 10, the Vail Dance Festival will come to Breckenridge with the Philadelphia-based contemporary ballet company, BalletX, to perform two choreographed works accompanied by live string quartet at the Riverwalk Center. “Vail is a destination for today’s top dancers, dance companies, and choreographers. We are thrilled to match their stellar productions with high-caliber live music,” Park said of the budding relationship, “and to deliver that experience to Breckenridge.”


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The BMF’s approach is accompanied by a shift in the artistic and organizational mindset— one that views the resident 45-piece orchestra less as an orchestra in a traditional sense, and more as “a flexible collective of professional musicians,” Park said. For example, during another dance-and-live-music collaboration taking place at the Riverwalk Center August 3, a smaller group of 10-15 players will perform scores by Vivaldi and Tartini to accompany a contemporary performance by Denver’s Wonderbound dance company. The shift enables the BMF to capitalize on another finding—that Breckenridge audiences appreciate the intimate, boutique nature of concerts likes its in-home Champagne Series, and the opportunity to attend performances in smaller and outdoor venues, in addition to its mainstage Riverwalk Center programming. “We don’t exist to exist,” said Hall. “We need to make sure we remain relevant in Breckenridge and Summit County—that we meet the needs of the community. We are looking at a strategy that I think is a really good course correction in terms of what we offer, how, and where.” Among the planned changes is an expansion and refinement of the already popular Blue River Series, which features touring acts in a variety of genres from pop to jazz, including last year’s Indigo Girls concert. This summer’s program includes an increased number concerts, as well as a focus on emerging, fresh talent like the Turnpike Troubadours on June 29, and acts that will appeal to younger audiences like Mandolin Orange on July 6. “We are also focused on presenting high level artists for the sophisticated listener,” said Park, citing Branford Marsalis on August 2. As a recruitment strategy, the BMF will make its resident musicians available to national touring acts for innovative collaborations. “We are not only interested in classical music,” said Hall. “Classical music is just one component. We are being bold about our ideas, and what we need to be more inclusive or appeal to a broader audience,” he said, citing the free family concert—an 11 a.m. performance of “Babar the Little Elephant” accompanied by a live illustrator while children draw their own interpretations, taking place July 30—as an example of the BMF’s efforts to be relevant to families and people of all socioeconomic levels. In that same vein, the organization is committed to expanding its year-round educational programming, inclusive of adults. To communicate its program shift, the BMF will introduce a new look to support its identity, including all of the organization’s classical, cross-genre, and popular programming. “All of our promotional materials will have a different feel from what is traditionally presented here in our market, to distinguish us,” said Park. “There will be a real Colorado vibe and a clean, contemporary take on what we are doing.”


“If you start to look different, people start to think about you differently,” said Hall. “We are rethinking the BMF. You can describe that in words, but it’s very impactful with design. We thought this was a good time to refresh our approach and our look and our message.”

to a cultural landscape here in Breckenridge that has changed enormously over the last three years. Asking ourselves those big picture strategic questions ensures that we are always complementing and adding value to that external landscape.”

The BMF Board of Directors already gave the nod to the strategy, and will do a formal review of the plan in June. In the meantime, festival organizers have been fine-tuning the plan based on input from various stakeholder groups.

Like any good strategic plan, the BMF’s is data-based and flexible, so if the data says to take another path, they can do so. “The importance is in the process,” she said, “in inspiring a conversation and elevating that above the day-to-day to determine how a nonprofit organization can provide the greatest value to the community it serves.”

“It’s always a good idea to pause and evaluate an organization’s reason to exist, and to discuss that with a cross section of who you are trying to impact,” Park explained. “We are adapting

Breckenridge Music Festival // breckenridgemusicfestival.com

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/conversations/

Drafting a blueprint Strategic planner Deb Kelleher Spiers helps local nonprofits


‘Capacity building’ is a hot topic these days. What does it mean? To me, capacity building means understanding and developing the skills and capabilities an organization needs to deliver on its mission. And strategic planning? Strategic planning is the first step. A good strategic plan lays out your goals, what strategies you will employ to reach those goals, and your operational tactics. It does not have to be a large binder that sits on your shelf. For Breckenridge Creative Arts, we summarized our strategic plan on one piece of paper. How do you facilitate strategic planning? In an ideal world you start with an understanding of your vision and mission. Once you have that you look at the external environment to understand what’s going on and identify elements that might impact your organization. This involves desk research, and often a competitive assessment. Then you develop specific strategies, followed by the tactics. For Breckenridge Creative Arts, we did it as a Board with CEO Robb Woulfe involved. Usually there’s one facilitator who synthesizes what people are saying. I like to ask: “Five years from now, where do we want to be with operations and offerings?” Sometimes there are too many goals, or the goals are too big, and we need to narrow the scope or change the time frame. So it’s a process.

The goals are in the 5-year range. Every year we revisit the goals and make sure they are still solid; if they’re changing every year they probably were not big enough goals. Why is strategic planning important? A solid strategic plan helps organizations effectively deploy their resources. It becomes a management tool. It helps answer the question, “What should I be doing?” and provides a roadmap for capacity building. And you are a volunteer? Yes. My volunteering arose out of the fact that I spent most of my career working too many hours to do anything to help the communities in which I lived. Both my husband, Mark, and I decided now is the time to give back. Why Breckenridge? I grew up in New Jersey, and I have the awesome 1980’s “big hair” pictures to prove it. Years ago in Beaver Creek I broke my arm the first day of the holiday, so we went to look at property. We bought a lot in Breckenridge we thought would be seasonal, but we loved it so much we moved here full time in 2011. What else do you like to do? I very much enjoy hiking with my dog, Macallan, which is the name of my husband’s favorite scotch. I bike and I golf and I ski downhill and cross country. I read and I quilt.

Does the plan ever change? Every element has a time frame. The tactics are annual. The strategies are good for 3-5 years.

Deb Kelleher Spiers moved to Breckenridge after retiring from Publicis Healthcare Communication Group, where she was executive VP and chief strategic officer. In addition to serving as board chair for Breckenridge Creative Arts, she volunteers through The Summit Foundation’s Executive Volunteer Corps, helping local nonprofits with strategic planning.

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Measuring impact Local nonprofits study data to fine-tune their offerings


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fter three energetic years launching new festivals, public art installations, and facility upgrades, Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA) is turning a reflective lens inward to study its impact on the communities it serves. Formed in 2014 by the Town of Breckenridge to manage its cultural facilities while breathing new life into the local arts scene, BCA recently contracted with a program evaluator to help plan what data to collect and how to collect it. Instead of just studying the numbers, such as attendance, it will also look at qualitative data like participants’ opinions about its offerings. This will give BCA the opportunity to share its impacts with stakeholders while driving program development. “Because we are so quickly expanding and still such a new organization, it’s important to be really thoughtful with all our programming moving forward,” said Becca Spiro, BCA’s director of learning and innovation. “We want to make sure it is relevant and accessible and attractive.” During the first two phases, stakeholders weighed in on BCA’s impacts on local residents and visiting guests, and the resulting list was used to generate evaluation questions. The questions are in turn used to create surveys and interviews. “After we know what we want, we work backwards from there,” said Spiro, citing an insight from the Phase 1 process that any impacts assessed need to be actionable. In other words, there’s no reason to seek data on something that can’t be changed. “It’s really

important we are getting information back that we can use to help us improve,” she said. Spiro has already drafted four online surveys, to be rolled out soon, and plans to conduct focus groups in the fall with two new committees she is forming—one with local teenagers, and another with parents and teachers. She also plans to attend Foundations of Evaluation, a new, three-part workshop series from The Summit Foundation on how to craft key evaluation questions (May 16), how to design and conduct surveys (June 29), and how to design and conduct other qualitative evaluations such as interviews and focus groups (August 16). Taught by the Denver-based Vantage Evaluation, the series can be taken as a whole or in part, both by nonprofits who are already conducting their own evaluation programs and those new to the process. The series is part of The Summit Foundation’s new NRG (Nonprofit Resources for Grantees) program, launched last year to enhance its financial and technical support of local nonprofits by providing capacity-building resources. “We’re trying to take that support to the next level,” said Megan Nuttelman, program officer. “Through NRG and through our grants we are working to support our nonprofits who are working to support our community.” “When you are thinking about what programs to develop and what to prioritize, it really helps to have that data to back up where you are trying to go,” Nuttelman said. “If you are able to evaluate your work and you know what’s working and what’s not, you can really focus your efforts.”

Breckenridge Creative Arts // breckcreate.org The Summit Foundation // summitfoundation.org /KRĒ'ĀT/

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FEATURED CREATIVE Public Art Advisory Committee

The Public Art Advisory Committee weighs in on public art in Breckenridge, from the permanent collection and visiting installations to their impacts on local character and creative tourism.


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Our art, ourselves Public art advocates ensure local artworks speak to who we are


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n a Tuesday every two months, a group of local artists and art aficionados gather to weigh in on public art in Breckenridge. The Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) is a volunteer standing committee of the board of directors for Breckenridge Creative Arts, and its role is to oversee a thoughtful process of integrating artworks into public spaces. “Public art is a reflection of our community,” said co-chair Amy Evans, a local landscape painter who has been a member of the PAAC since its formation three years ago. “It raises awareness of the importance of arts in the community, and it enhances the character of our town.” The Town of Breckenridge began investing in public art more than 20 years ago with the installation of Robert Tully’s collection of granite and steel sculptures, evocative of our mining past, in Blue River Plaza. Since then, the permanent collection has grown to 31 pieces. “Our job is to look at the collection—what’s missing, what can be put in, and how to make the collection grow in terms of presence in the art world,” said PAAC co-chair Marsha Cooper. During the years she and Evans spent on the now-dissolved Public Art Commission, Cooper worked aggressively to increase the Town’s collection by securing donors and advocating for public art. Now, she says, it’s not simply about growing the collection, but making it more varied and robust. “Initially our collection was very local, and then we expanded out to the state, and regionally,” she said. “Now we are expanding nationally and internationally. That’s how the collection

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will develop and grow, and that’s very exciting.” “We are being more thoughtful about everything,” Evans added. “We went through a big process of how to determine how the collection fits into people’s perspective of what Breckenridge really is and what it represents.” That process, undertaken by members of the PAAC with Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA) staff members, involved brainstorming and describing the elements of local identity that contribute to a strong sense of Breckenridge as a place. For example, everyone agreed Breckenridge is known for its striking natural beauty and its rich and varied history as a mining town turned skiers’ mecca. People are here for outdoor recreation, from snow sports to biking, hiking, and fishing; and they tend to be concerned about the environment. These “thematic narratives,” outlined in the new Breckenridge Public Art Master Plan and Policy, become selection criteria that ensure new public artworks represent the beliefs, values, and ideals that the Breckenridge community holds dear. “We started by looking at the entire collection,” Evans explained. “Some pieces speak to our heritage and history; some speak to our surroundings; some speak to winter sports. We’ve looked at all that to think about how we go forward. Now the focus is on how we can increase the quality and depth of our collection.” In the three years since its formation, the PAAC has been involved in the purchase and/or installation of several new pieces in the Town’s collection, including “Prowlin,’” a fabricated steel sculpture in the likeness of a fox; “Sack Race,” a bronze piece donated by the

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Bunchman family; “Tom’s Baby,” which memorializes the Breckenridge discovery of the largest gold nugget in Colorado; and “Toro,” a robot made of upcycled steel donated by the partners at Downstairs at Eric’s. “‘Toro’ has made for a fun and quite popular piece of art for children,” Cooper said. “It gives children the opportunity to interact and respond. It also gives adults the opportunity to think about that response, and their own personal response to the art.” The PAAC is also involved in discussions about “Syncline,” a 24-foot-tall, azure blue, abstract steel sculpture by Albert Paley, commissioned by the Town in 2014. Breckenridge will be the first Colorado town to own a work by the internationally renowned sculptor, helping to raise its profile on the world arts scene. “I think people will travel here just to see ‘Syncline,’” said PAAC member Carl Scofield, who has lived and worked in Breckenridge as a freelance photographer for more than three decades. “Overall it’s just enhancing the experience of our town.” “There’s a lot of discussion about public art not being something pleasing to everyone, and why we think that’s a good thing,” said PAAC member and longtime local architect Darci Hughes, acknowledging the mixed opinions that have surfaced around the contemporary piece. “It creates discussion. Having an open and active dialog in the town is wonderful thing—that, in and of itself, gets a community involved.” The Public Art Advisory Committee recently advised on a new, more robust maintenance program for the existing collection, and it

weighs in when artworks need to be relocated or deaccessioned from the public art collection. Under discussion now is what to do with “Double Axle”—the large, translucent, spiral-shaped piece by David Griggs that hangs in the Breckenridge Recreation Center— now that the rec center is under construction. For a while the committee was also discussing what to do with “The Nest”—the large, stainless steel work topped by two bronze eagles at the intersection of Main and Ridge. Once hard to see, the piece has since benefitted from landscaping improvements and now forms a visual focal point in front of the new Residence Inn. Another key initiative of the PAAC has been to promote education around public art. The group, with staff guidance, helped bring about the retooled, docent-led Art Around Town walking tours, now offered May to October, as well as the new Breckenridge Public Art + Arts District Audio Tours, accessible by mobile app. Although many people imagine sculptures when they think of public art, the fact is that any artwork in the public realm—whether a sculpture in a community gathering place or details integrated into functional items like benches and walkways—can be considered public art. Some public art is representational, meaning it depicts a recognizable subject like a child reading. Other art is abstract, inviting viewers to interpret its meaning. Public art also does not have to permanent— an idea showcased at BCA’s new BIFA and WAVE festivals, and one that Cooper credits CEO Robb Woulfe for helping people understand. Examples include Konstantin Dimopoulos’ “The Blue Trees,” in which local aspen trees were colored cobalt blue for months


before gradually fading to white; and Trail Mix, a series of environmental installations and pop-up music performances along local trails. “People loved Trail Mix; you’re out hiking or biking and you encounter a sculpture made from things in the environment—it just stops you in your tracks,” said Evans. “We’ve had sculptures that move like dinosaurs. We are opening people’s awareness that art can be a lot of different things.” The rotating outdoor exhibit, Sculpture on the Blue, is another example of temporary or seasonal art. In the past it displayed work by local and regional artists, but has recently been revamped to occupy a flexible time frame and feature work by a single artist. This summer, it takes the form of a three-month installation called “Los Trompos,” a colorful, interactive work by Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena that will live outdoors in the Breckenridge Arts District. “We’ve re-envisioned Sculpture on the Blue in a way that makes it fresh and new, and allows for the exposure of national and international artists,” said Cooper. “The push is outward— to grow the permanent collection, as well as the temporary collection and performance art. I think the Town of Breckenridge has been very wise in pushing the boundaries of art to bring tourism and recognition.”

“We can’t always depend on Mother Nature to provide economic stability,” Evans added. “To think this has only been going on for three years is amazing to me. We’re attracting groups coming here for meetings. We’re getting awards. We’re getting a lot of interesting publicity. Denver is now doing ‘The Blue Trees’— and we were the first in Colorado to have it. I think we are just starting to see the benefits.” “We are fortunate to have Town leaders who understand the value of a robust public art program as a means to strengthen our community and enhance our already impressive set of cultural assets—but also to ensure Breckenridge remains artistically vibrant and economically competitive in today’s creative economy,” said Woulfe. “Investing in a public art program the way we have is a bold step that really speaks well about our town,” Scofield concluded. “In all my years living here, Breckenridge has been a fun, unique, creative town that has always had its own identity. People aren’t here just to make money, just to ski, just to invest—they’re here for a lifestyle. Part of the heartbeat of town is doing things uniquely. Our public art is a manifestation of that.”

Breckenridge Creative Arts // breckcreate.org

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/objectified/ An object of art


Toro The futuristic robot ‘Toro’ illustrates the Breckenridge community’s interest in contemporary, diverse art forms. Donated by the restaurant partners at Downstairs at Eric’s, the sculpture drew admirers of all ages when it was unveiled at Sculpture on the Blue. In it, artist Fred Zietz explores a romanticized future hewn from the refuse of society. In Breckenridge, ‘Toro’ represents the wild wanderings of the creative mind, and through it our creative future. At the same time, its use of upcycled automotive and industrial steel fits with our sustainability ethos. Breckenridge Public Art Collection // breckcreate.org/explore/public-art Fred Zietz // fredzietz.com

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/sourced/ A guide to creative businesses and organizations in and around Breckenridge Cultural Organizations Breckenridge Backstage Theatre 121 S. Ridge St. backstagetheatre.org Breckenridge Creative Arts 150 W. Adams Ave. breckcreate.org Breckenridge Film Festival 103 S. Harris St. breckfilmfest.com Breckenridge Heritage Alliance 309 N. Main St. breckheritage.com Breckenridge Music Festival 217 S. Ridge St. Alley breckenridgemusicfestival.com Breckenridge Tourism Office 111 Ski Hill Rd. gobreck.com National Repertory Orchestra 111 S. Main St. nromusic.com

Branding + Design The Brandon Agency 160 E Adams Ave. thebrandonagency.com GatherHouse Inc. 110 Second Ave., Frisco gatherhouse.com KL Creative Design 304 Illinois Gulch Rd. klcreativedesign.com McGraphix Creative & Consulting 201 S Ridge St. mcgraphixcreative.com

Nikki LaRochelle Design nikkilarochelle.com Squeeze Designz squeeze-designz.com Straughn Design 552 97 Circle straughndesign.com Summit Creations 102 Continental Ct. summitcreations.com

Galleries

Museums + Historic Sites Alice G. Milne House and Memorial Park 102 N. Harris St. breckheritage.com Barney Ford House Museum 111 E. Washington Ave. breckheritage.com Breckenridge Sawmill Museum Boreas Pass Rd. breckheritage.com

Arts Alive 500 S. Main St. summitarts.org

William H. Briggle House 104 N. Harris St. breckheritage.com

Blue River Fine Art Gallery 411 S. Main St. blueriverfineartgallery.com

Country Boy Mine 542 French Gulch Rd. countryboymine.com

Breckenridge Gallery 124 S. Main St. breckenridge-gallery.com Colorado Scenics 421 S. Main St. coloradoscenics.com Exclusive Collections 421 S. Main St. ecgallery.com Gary Soles Gallery 300 S. Main St. breckenridgephotoshop.com JK Studio 100 S. Main St., 2nd floor jkstudiollc.com Raitman Art Galleries 100 N. Main St. artonawhim.com

Edwin Carter Museum 111 N. Ridge St. breckheritage.com High Line Railroad Park 189 Boreas Pass Rd. breckheritage.com Lomax Gulch 301 Ski Hill Rd. breckheritage.com Mountain Top Children’s Museum 605 S. Park Ave. mtntopmuseum.org Prospector Park 112 N. Main St. townofbreckenridge.com Red White and Blue Fire Museum 308 N. Main St. breckheritage.com Summit Ski Exhibit 308-B S. Main St. breckheritage.com


Boutiques + Specialty

Architecture

Breckenridge Photographics 500 S. Main St. breckphoto.com

Allen Guerra Architecture 1915 Airport Rd. allen-guerra.com

The Glass Art Company 411 S. Main St. #16 theglassartcompany.com Global Candle Gallery 326 S. Main St. globalcandlegallery.com Magical Scraps 310 S. Main St. magicalscraps.com Marigolds Farmhouse Funk + Junk 215 S. Main St. marigoldsfarmhousefunkandjunk.com Ole Man Berkins 326 S. Main St. olemanberkins.com Portiera Designs 326 S. Main St. portieradesigns.com Ready Paint Fire 323 N. Main St. readypaintfireco.com

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

Healing Arts Alpine Spa and Salon 500 S. Main St., 3rd floor alpinespaandsalon.com

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

Cafes + Coffee Houses Amazing Grace 213 Lincoln Ave. amazinggracebreck.com Cabin Coffee Company 222 S. Main St. cabincoffeecompany.com Clint’s Bakery & Coffee House 131 S. Main St. clintsbakery.com Cuppa Joe 118 S. Ridge St.

Ruby Jane 232 S. Main St. valleygirlboutique.com

Ambika Healing 435 N. Park Ave. ambika.massagetherapy.com

Mug Shot Café 435 N. Park Ave.

Wandering Daisy 326 S. Main St.

Blue Sage Spa 224 S. Main St. bluesagespa.com

Starbucks 225 S. Main St. starbucks.com

Young Colors 226 S. Main St., Unit 1 youngcolors.com

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

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Breckenridge Creative Arts offers a robust schedule of low-cost and free activities for children of all ages, from hands-on craft and fine art workshops at the Breckenridge Arts District, performances for young audiences, and interactive public art installations to school field trips.

krēˈāt issue 7  

mountain arts + culture quarterly

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