/krē’āt/ mountain arts + culture quarterly
Published by Breckenridge Creative Arts | ISSUE NO. 9, Winter 2017-18
/krē’āt/ : to make or produce : to cause to exist : to bring into being /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 greater creative community of Breckenridge. Creative Director
contents features NOISE
OUTSIDE THE LINES
Robb Woulfe, Breckenridge Creative Arts
Editor + Content Writer Erica M. Davis
Art Director + Designer Kate Hudnut, GatherHouse Inc.
Contributing Photographer Liam Doran
Additional Photo Credits ‘NOISE’ photos by Jordan Knecht and Jonathan Mason; ‘Unsilent Night’ photos by Tom Jarmusch and Taylor Davidson, courtesy of Phil Kline; Elevate cospace photos courtesy of Elevate.
Cover + Back Cover Artwork
Scene ‘UNSILENT NIGHT’
Around Town HANDMADE
Portrait ERIN BARRY, PRINTMAKING TEACHER + STUDIO TECH
Objectified STEEL DRAWING FOR COOPER
Conversations WRITING PROCESS
Photos by Liam Doran Special thanks to the Town of Breckenridge for its generous support. @breckcreate // breckcreate.org
FOREWARD /krē’āt/ winter 2017+18 Our winter issue of /krē’āt/ embraces creativity across the board, from BCA’s new exhibition series, launching in December with “NOISE,” to the boundary-pushing curators at the forefront of disciplines from the creative arts to business. We explore the new Elevate coworking spaces in Breckenridge and Frisco, and the movement their commitment to innovation and education has germinated. Here we recognize trailblazers among the “creative class,” embracing Richard Florida’s idea that creative community requires “talent” in the form of a highly skilled and educated populace, “tolerance” in terms of a diverse community with a “live and let live” ethos, and the “technology” infrastructure necessary to fuel entrepreneurial culture. We believe we have all of these things here—and with them, the potential for creative innovation within and beyond traditional artistic disciplines.
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FEATURED EVENT ‘NOISE’ from BCA’s new exhibition series
BCA launches its new exhibition series with ‘NOISE,’ a contemporary exploration of sound (and other types of noise) through sculpture, film and performance art.
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BCA launches new exhibition program with experimental sound
on’t mistake noise for sound. There are in fact many kinds of noise, explained Jordan Knecht, who is among the artists whose work will be featured in a new three-month exhibition from Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA) entitled “NOISE,” running from December 1 to February 28. When they see the word “noise,” most people think of sonic noise—the sounds we hear, inclusive of ambient background sounds. But living in a world full of quick moving images, billboards and advertisements, visual noise is a huge part of the human experience. Linguistic noise includes “words being thrown at us at a rapid rate,” Knecht said, and social noise is exemplified by our “interaction through social media.” He is quick to point out that “none of these is inherently bad.” Rather, they provide multiple access points for an exploration of the concept. Knecht’s exhibition, which opens December
1 at BCA’s rebranded Gallery@OMH in Old Masonic Hall, consists of a series of installations in which visitors take an active role in the creation of the artwork—whether by creating sounds, pushing buttons, shining lights or following prompts in a printed booklet provided by the artist. The work is generative, meaning that although Knecht created the systems, the creative experiences change each time based on inputs by whomever is interacting with them. Often, the results are quirky or humorous. “I think that it is necessary to fundamentally shift how people are interacting with art in a generation where human beings are born with screens in their hands,” said Knecht. Despite his training as a printmaker and book binder, and despite his love for traditional art forms, he feels these mediums may hold less relevance for younger generations. “I’m interested in art as a reflection of the world that is interacting with it,” he said. “I’m also interested in giving
participants and viewers of art the power to affect what they are observing, and for them to feel as though the work is relevant because they are being reflected in it.” “I want to create work that’s in direct opposition to the notion of artist superiority,” he explained. “I want to invite people to see the way I perceive, and also to experience how other people perceive. I think everyone’s perception is unique and valid.” By exploring noise from multiple vantage points, Knecht’s work is inclusive of many perceptual strengths. “If you can’t hear, you can still experience noise. If you can’t see, you can still experience noise,” he said. “I want it to be something where people don’t feel excluded, where my oddball concepts are a little more accessible.” At the same time, he said, “I also want to make it for a 5-year-old-me who loved going to the science center and pushing buttons, and I had no idea what they did but I still had a blast feeling like I was allowed to be part of the experience.” Exhibiting alongside Knecht at Gallery@OMH is composer and musician Jonathan Mason, who presented a playful symphonic work at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art last summer in which guests were invited to press buttons atop a series of Kandinsky-inspired colored boxes to activate variations of the symphony. Mason will show two new works in Breckenridge, one of which employs his inspiration from Kandinksy, and invites six participants to create a drum composition together. Both artists’ installations work on two levels, explained Nicole Dial-Kay, who came on board
as BCA’s director of exhibitions and special projects in September. “They are accessible, fun, participatory and almost fun-house style; and they offer the opportunity to participate in conversations around the act of creating,” she said. “If you come into the space and create the composition, who is the artist?” Both artists also pull from important composers. “Jordan relies a lot on the works of John Cage, and Mason is very much rooted in classical music,” Dial-Kay said. “There is a tie from a long tradition of music to contemporary art exploration.” Dial-Kay formulated “NOISE” after organizers of the Breckenridge Music Festival (BMF) proposed bringing Phil Kline’s “Unsilent Night”—a participatory sound installation in which audience members play one of four tracks on boom boxes as they walk a pre-determined route through town— to Breckenridge. A non-denominational performance created by the composer to take place during the December holidays, “Unsilent Night” has become a cult classic since its 1992 debut, and has been hosted by more than 100 cities on four continents. On December 2, BCA will present it as a part of “NOISE” in partnership with the BMF and the Breckenridge Tourism Office. Meanwhile down the street at Gallery@ BRK inside Breckenridge Theater, the Fort Collins-based OFF Cinema will present a video installation for the duration of “NOISE,” as well an experimental film series December 11, January 15 and February 12. Led by Jacob D. Barreras and Libi Striegl, OFF Cinema is known for The Unseen Festival,
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its Denver-based series that explores new definitions of contemporary film. The group aims to “bring cinema that’s experimental or avant garde to audiences who are not expecting it,” explained Barreras, who curates emerging filmmakers almost exclusively. “We definitely feel this newer work being produced by filmmakers who are essentially just out of college is speaking to a lot of generations,” he said. The exhibition, entitled “Sounds from Near and Fajr,” entails a series of three films by Spanish filmmaker Lois Patiño—“Montaña en Sombra,” “Noite sem Distância” and “Fajr”— running on a continuous loop. “We chose these films because they’re sort of transcendent in the way they handle time and place,” said Barreras. “Taken together, they “begin with the setting sun, progress into darkness and finally emerge with the rising sun over the dunes of Morocco as if we’ve traveled through the night in just under an hour, and time has almost vanished in the remarkable spaces we’ve visited.” “Lois’ work is always playing with sound,” Barreras added. “It may not be diegetic sound,” which originates from a film’s world, “and it may not be ambience—but within his sound is an otherworldly exploration that really creates a sonic sense of echoing this place or this time.” Each evening of the film series begins with one of Patiño’s films, followed by 4-5 works by various filmmakers curated to “match the mood or essence or theme” of the opening piece, while focusing on the “idea of juxtaposition or disconnection,” where “what’s being heard is not always what’s being seen,” Barreras said. “A lot of times people only go to things they are comfortable with,” he added, expressing hope that people will attend regardless of whether
they know anything about experimental film. “What we are presenting is something unique. Unless you live in New York or San Francisco or for a couple weeks in Boulder, it’s tough to see experimental film. We are trying to create accessible programs, and to inspire people who might not have seen or considered experimental film to become a next generation of filmmakers.” A host of other activities will support and activate the “NOISE” installations, including artist talks, classes and workshops. Among them is “Make Your Own Sound Rig” on December 1 and 2. Led by the Boulder-based cassette label Shadowtrash Tape Group, the workshop helps participants prepare sound rigs for “Unsilent Night.” “NOISE” is the first in BCA’s retooled exhibition series, which features seasonally rotating installations, events and contemporary art interventions that cut across disciplines of visual art, performance, film, digital media and social practice. Each exhibition has an underlying theme or story that is firmly rooted in topics important to the mountain community. “NOISE” embraces risk-taking by exploring a difficult concept in creative ways, as well as the community’s interest in featuring a wide range of artists and mediums. Starting with “NOISE,” BCA will host conversations “about what it means to be in a public performance artwork, and a sound work, and what it means to be in a gallery space and touch things, even beat on things,” Dial-Kay said. “All of those are pretty difficult definitions of contemporary art. ‘NOISE’ is a fun and engaging way to start that conversation,” she said, “and a good way of looking forward to the exhibition schedule.”
Jordan Knecht // jordanknecht.com OFF Cinema // facebook.com/oldtownfilmfest Unsilent Night // unsilentnight.com Shadowtrash Tape Group // shadowtrashtapegroup.com /KRĒ'ĀT/
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â€˜Unsilent Nightâ€™ Music makers take to the streets for holiday cacophony
reckenridge presents a new take on a holiday tradition this year with Phil Kline’s “Unsilent Night,” a performance piece in which participants walk the streets of town playing tracks on boom boxes and other sound devices. The four tracks, played simultaneously, combine to create a luminous soundscape of chiming bells and atmospheric sounds. First performed in 1992 in New York City, where it is now an annual tradition, the mobile sound sculpture has become a cult classic around the world, traveling to more than 100 cities on four continents. This year, Breckenridge joins the fun on December 2 with the promenade immediately following the Lighting of Breckenridge. “‘Unsilent Night’ is a fun and accessible piece of contemporary electronic music, and you don’t need any musical training to participate in it,” said Tamara Nuzzaci Park, executive director of the Breckenridge Music Festival, which co-presents the event with Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA) and support from the Breckenridge Tourism Office. “The piece brings people together and inspires curiosity, completely transforming an environment,” she said. “It’s one of the more inventive ways that art, and music in particular, can have an impact on people’s lives, even if it’s just 45 minutes walking down the street.” Those wishing to participate should download one of Kline’s four tracks from the URL at the
bottom of this page, load it onto a sound rig, and gather in Blue River Plaza at 4:30 p.m. December 2 for instructions. There will be a limited number of sound devices available on a first come, first served basis starting at 3 p.m., and cassettes and CD’s will also be available at Old Masonic Hall December 1-2. Shadowtrash Tape Group will offer public workshops to help participants construct sound rigs on December 1 and 2. Leading up to the event, composer Phil Kline will teach workshops on electronic music at Summit High School and local middle schools. Kline will also give a talk at the Breckenridge Arts District on December 1. “We wanted to go to the community with a participatory art piece, to engage people in community-building and challenge them to take on something somewhat difficult, but ultimately fun,” said Nicole Dial-Kay, BCA’s new director of exhibitions and special projects. “It kind of takes the idea of ‘Silent Night’ and turns it on its head to become a raucous music composition.” “While nondenominational, Phil Kline’s ‘Unsilent Night’ gives you that uplifting holiday feeling, and is a way to celebrate with friends and family through art,” Park added. “I think it could really catch on. The month of December is such a special time—it’s the quintessential holiday spirit that’s here in winter. It seems like a perfect fit.”
Breckenridge Music Festival // breckenridgemusicfestival.com Event details // breckenridgemusicfestival.com/event/unsilent-night Unsilent Night downloads // unsilentnight.com/participate.html Shadowtrash Tape Group // shadowtrashtapegroup.com
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Handmade A holiday showcase of makers, DIY projects, contemporary craft + design
akers converge on the Breckenridge Arts District December 1-3 for Handmade Holiday, which this year features two large-scale, outdoor exhibitions of contemporary craft and design in addition to hands-on projects. The exhibitions—by the textile collective Ladies Fancywork Society and Boulder-based printmakers Flatiron Press—are collaborative works between the artists and anyone who wishes to participate. Community members are invited to stitch small textile pieces together, which will be used on a larger scale to “yarn bomb” a building in the Arts District. Yarn bombing is a specialty of the Ladies Fancywork Society, who are known for knitting coverings on trees, street signs and structures, some as part of major museum commissions around the country. “It’s a form of graffiti that doesn’t do any damage,” explained Nicole Dial-Kay, Breckenridge Creative Arts’ new director of exhibitions and special projects. “It subverts the idea of textiles as a calm, domestic medium into a rebellious, almost punk-rock act of graffiti.” Their work is a window into the world of contemporary craft and design— which Dial-Kay explains “might not be what you expect, but is still very much rooted in that tradition of making.”
sculptural printmaking installation over the course of the weekend. Participants can choose from pre-made designs or create their own nature-inspired imagery, explained Chris Blume, who co-owns Flatiron Press with Sam Cikauskas. The plan is to print with fluorescent-style inks so the imagery stands out, and to mount it on composite board that will be freestanding, hanging, or some combination thereof, in order to create an immersive space. “It’s kind of a collaboration between me and Chris, the participants and the natural environment of Breckenridge,” Cikauskas said, noting that because it will be site-responsive, the exact details of the installation will evolve based on the setting. “Prints are usually quite permanent,” commented Blume. In contrast, the Handmade Holiday exhibitions will last only three days, aside from any photographs that are taken. “It’s really nice to kind of let go—to know they are not going to be there for very long, to not have that sort of importance put on the preservation of the work,” he said. “I think that’s going to be an interesting thing to see.” The weekend’s activities will also feature open studios and DIY workshops by local artisans, where participants can make a variety of crafts and holiday gifts, from candles and sponge prints to jewelry.
For the second exhibition, Flatiron Press will offer three days of printmaking workshops focused on silkscreen and relief printing, and the prints that result will be used to create a
Flatiron Press // flatironprintmakers.com Ladies Fancywork Society // ladiesfancyworksociety.com
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Printmaking teacher and studio tech, Breckenridge Creative Arts Background Home: Frisco Family: Parents John and Karen, sister Caroline Education: Skidmore College, BA in studio art with a concentration in painting, printmaking and digital media Why Breckenridge? It’s beautiful! And I love to ski. Art Medium: Printmaking Latest project: A series of jigsaw reductive woodcut prints inspired by an interview with my
90-year-old grandmother reflecting on the landscape of Calabria, Italy, where she grew up Favorite creative space: Randall Barn Source of inspiration: The colors, textures and patterns of my everyday surroundings Creativity is: Taking risks and trying new things, even if they fail Insights Personal hero: Helen Frankenthaler Favorite book: “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom Favorite restaurant: Anywhere that serves breakfast sandwiches Song in your head right now: “Garden” by SZA Unique home or office decor: A paua shell given to me by a close friend Favorite movie: “American Beauty” Favorite causes: Intersectional feminism Favorite way to spend free time: Skiing and printing
Confessions What keeps you up at night? My roommates Pet peeve: Poor communication First job: Teacher assistant at Hillcrest Educational Center First choice for a new career: Motion graphics designer What do you do to recharge your batteries? Go on a run or drink coffee Guilty pleasure: Pop music
Originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Erin Barry, 23, began printmaking and painting at age 16. Find her artwork at erinaloysiabarry.com.
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FEATURED CREATIVES CURATORS AT THE FOREFRONT
Local curators from the creative arts to business share their thoughts on how to curate meaningful and relevant experiences for todayâ€™s high country audiences.
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Outside the lines
Local curators offer fresh takes on art,
exhibition + contemporary culture
urating art once implied the streamlined task of organizing an exhibit—from selecting paintings to writing labels and deciding how to hang works on a wall. If there’s one thing the next generation of curators can agree on, however, it’s that today’s practice defies easy categorization. In part it’s because contemporary art comes in so many different forms and occupies so many spaces, from traditional galleries to outdoor installations. “Contemporary art exists on no particular plane—it’s music, performance art, sound work, landscape painting, ceramics,” said Nicole Dial-Kay, who came on board with Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA) as director of exhibitions and special projects in September. Simply put, it’s “art that is responsive to contemporary life.” Dial-Kay previously served as education director at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, where she curated the renowned digital arts festival, MediaLive. “I’ve never been in a role of just curator,” she said. “I’ve always been in a role that includes programming, exhibitions and performances—all the forms that contemporary art activation takes now.” “I think the word curation has become so much broader, even in the past 10 years,” said BCA’s director of learning and engagement, Becca Spiro. During college she took Curating 101, where students decided on a theme, selected two artists, and wrote extensive catalog entries. “I remember thinking to myself—that’s not for me; I don’t really care about how the art is hung or how the labels look, I’m much more interested in working with the artists,” she recalls. But today, working with artists comes part and parcel with the job—which can include everything from planning an exhibition to programming films, performances and hands-on activities to “activate” the work and make it accessible. “I think there’s a misunderstanding that curators are just paying attention to what’s happening in the international art market or local arts scene,” Dial-Kay said. “My personal philosophy is that if I’m not engaging the community, if I’m not providing an access point for anyone who walks in the door, I’m not doing my job.” One of a growing list of curators who come from an educational background, she believes “there’s something valuable about not just understanding artwork but how individuals react to artwork that makes for effective programming. It doesn’t matter how great the artist on the wall is, if no one in town relates to it or understands it,” she said.
Knowing the community is key. “From the moment I arrived, I keep getting a list of what people here care about—nature, history, environment,” Dial-Kay said, referring to the community-generated “thematic narratives” that serve as BCA’s curatorial guidepost. “I’m in conversations with artists at Tank Studios, RedLine studio in Denver, people who are really doing great things in the contemporary art scene. Few have been given these prompts—about history, environment, a mountain town that has really unique interests and problems. Artists are finding that really compelling to respond to.” Matthew Karukin, former owner-operator of the Breckenridge nightclub three20south, is well versed in how to curate music that will be popular for mountain audiences. His personal stamp is “trying to discover that emerging talent—newer acts and stuff that’s on the rise that we can get into our smaller venues before they’re too big and can’t play here.” Since 2015, Karukin has put his talent to work directing the Breckenridge Music Festival’s Blue River Series, which in recent years has included performances by Mandolin Orange, Turnpike Troubadours, Robert Cray, The Motet, Amos Lee, Indigo Girls and Branford and Wynton Marsalis. “We try to have a very diverse lineup for the series,” he said, noting that audiences range from ages 20 to 70. “We want to broaden our appeal to everybody, and make sure we present something different that they’re not seeing somewhere else.” Above all, quality is the emphasis. Breckenridge Music Festival has also been pushing boundaries by inviting touring
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artists to perform with members of the orchestra, including this summer’s first-time collaboration with The Motet.
fun—whether that means screaming down the slopes on a winter’s day, or hiking deep into the backcountry to cast a line in a pristine creek.
“There’s always some sort of boundary-pushing or rule breaking—that’s what makes contemporary art cool, right?” Dial-Kay joked. But in all honesty, “sometimes pushing boundaries can be the most engaging way to present artwork, especially to broader audiences,” she said. Still, she believes a curator needs to make a good argument for what he or she wants to do—whether that means responding to a community need or showing artwork that is in line with an organization’s goals. “I would never present shocking art for shocking art’s sake,” she said. “That’s just irresponsible.”
Enter Amy Kemp, founder of Elevate cospace—a workspace with desks for rent where entrepreneurs coalesce to work side-by-side and swap ideas. Kemp opened Elevate’s Frisco location in 2014, followed by the Breckenridge space with partners James Lee and Dave Knell in 2016. Since then, they have become epicenters for a growing list of offerings—from Badass Business Boot Camp, Startup Weekend, and Camp 9600 storytelling workshops to ski and ride meetups—curated specifically to address the needs of local innovators while tapping into the spirit of fun and outdoor adventure that draws so many people to the high country.
Curating for a mountain community like Breckenridge is not the same as curating for an urban environment. “In the city it takes a lot more to shock someone,” said Spiro, citing a recent performance piece at Denver’s RedLine Contemporary Art Center that featured a kegel-operated smoothie. “Our threshold for offending people is lower than Denver.” “Accessible but challenging I think will be our motto for a while,” said Dial-Kay. “Accessible doesn’t need to mean less—it just means there’s a bridge, there’s something people see and they respond to, they see themselves in and their interests in. I think art is for everyone,” she added. “It just takes some really responsive curating and programming, people willing to have conversations, and events that are more fun than academic.” Certainly if there’s one thing high country dwellers and guests can relate to it’s
“A lot of people move here sacrificing their careers and work to play,” said Lee. “A lot of these people have college degrees. It’s wicked admirable—to leave your career in the dust to go play. We’d like to reinforce that you can move here and you can build that career while you are playing.” “When I think about events and programming, a lot of it is about how do we create the community we want to see—how do we provide relevance to people when and where they need it,” Kemp said. “Do they need time management skills? Do they need personal development workshops?” For Kemp, content curation involves not only surveying community members, but keeping an eye out for cross-pollinating experiences like BCA’s Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, which emphasizes audience participation. “Our Camp 9600 is a version
of that. It’s interactive, and it’s performance because you stand up and present,” she said of the Breckenridge Arts District-based workshop, offered by the Breckenridge Tourism Office, which is geared toward the outdoor recreation and travel industry. “That kind of creative thinking can spark a zillion different ideas.” Similar to contemporary art, and in keeping with new movements in technology and the sharing economy, Kemp and her partners hope to help push the business community forward by programming “events that will shake and disrupt and maybe make people a little uncomfortable,” she said, but at the same time “introduce them to new ways of thinking and interacting.” The technology and storytelling communities, too, have long used the term “curating” to refer to collecting and displaying content in a way that is interesting and accessible to audiences. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing the mark, Spiro said, recalling her own frustration with the “almost insultingly esoteric” artwork at exhibitions she attended in grad school. “The artwork I’ve enjoyed most has been
accessible from different standpoints—you can appreciate it on an intellectual level, and you can appreciate it on an emotional level,” she said. One of her current projects involves organizing student art shows for grades 9-12, with the ultimate goal of having young people curate the shows from start to finish. “You realize how many factors are involved, from what is the title of the show, to who is eligible to submit, to how you choose the artwork,” she said. “It brings up issues of fairness that are really transferrable to other areas of life—how can you be equitable or egalitarian, so you get out of the bubble of your limited perspective, and try to find other opinions to inform programming or shows.” “I have a very open perspective on what art is and what art can do,” Dial-Kay agreed— an outlook that may prove essential to accomplishing her goal, which is to bring art to new audiences. Together with other, less traditional “curators” around town, it promises to evolve the creative scene in a way that’s uniquely reflective of the mountain community, and utterly outside the lines.
BCA exhibitions // breckcreate.org/exhibitions Breckenridge Music Festival // breckenridgemusicfestival.com Elevate // elevatecospace.com
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/objectified/ An object of art
Steel Drawing for Cooper Part of Steuart Bremner’s “Steel Drawings” series, this abstract sculpture of curved-and-welded steel lines topped with single stones stands in front of the Hot Shop on the Breckenridge Arts District campus, where it moves with the wind and collects snow as it falls. The steel forms are made to be graceful, like Japanese ink drawings rendered three-dimensional, and the materials are “elemental, everyday objects” whose interaction is open to interpretation. The piece was donated to the public art collection in 2010 by Cooper and Dave Walsh. Breckenridge Public Art Collection // breckcreate.org/explore/public-art Steuart Bremner // steuartbremner.com
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FEATURED ORGANIZATION ELEVATE COSPACE
Elevate incubates creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship through coworking opportunities and creative program offerings designed to support new businesses.
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Elevate entrepreneurs find community + collaboration in cospace
ike so many freelancers and entrepreneurs, Amy Kemp found herself making the rounds to local coffee shops when she first struck out on her own with Mountaintop Media, the public relations and marketing firm she founded in 2014. “I loved that energy, moving around and being a part of every town and community,” she said. Before long, however, she realized working in coffee shops wouldn’t quite cut it. “I needed a space where I could take calls without baristas yelling and kids screaming in the background,” she smiled. “At the same time I missed being around coworkers.” She wasn’t the only one. Researching the Summit County community, Kemp found quite a few people in a similar situation, who needed more than a home office or coffee shop. She spent time in coworking spaces in the Front Range, including Galvanize, Battery 621 and Fuse at the Riverside. “I was so struck at how collaborative the coworking community is,” she said. “I loved the community they were creating.” The people she met were quick to ask how they could help, and Kemp saw parallels between this “give first” mentality, popular among technology startups, and the Summit County spirit, even if it isn’t always verbalized in the business community. “The idea is to give your time, give your energy, pay it forward,” she said. That ethos underpins Elevate, the coworking space Kemp opened in Frisco in 2014, followed by the Breckenridge space in 2016 with partners James Lee and Dave Knell. Both
locations offer desks for rent—whether for one day a month, unlimited access to a shared workstation, or your own dedicated desk. But the cospaces offer a great deal more than that, from company and collaboration with fellow coworkers to a slate of innovative programming designed to support entrepreneurs. Among them is Startup Weekend, which Elevate Breckenridge hosted in November. Participants pitch their ideas on Friday, then form teams and work all weekend before presenting full-fledged business plans, and many launch their businesses by Sunday. “It’s one of the most intense events we host, but one of the most life-changing,” Kemp said. “It’s a heavy dose of what it’s like to take that leap into entrepreneurship.” Another offering is Camp 9600, an immersive storytelling conference that attracts big names and companies, created in partnership with Mountaintop Media, Elevate and Breckenridge Tourism Office. “We know marketing has shifted a lot to storytelling,” said Lee. “That is super important to what people are doing on social media.” At Camp 9600, participants “learn how to amplify their storytelling through writing, photography, social media and branding; and we mix in a lot of the things we like—like hiking, biking and drinking,” he said. “Most coworking spaces in urban areas have been affiliated with the technology community,” Kemp said. “Here in Summit County we are very technology-heavy, however we realized very early on that we are also defined by outdoor recreation and creative workers.”
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In April, Elevate hosted the Colorado Outdoor Industry Leadership Summit, COILSx, a gathering of outdoor industry leaders that focuses on business, conservation and issues in mountain communities. “We’re really now sort of taking on a bigger presence at the state level as far as what it looks like for a small mountain town to build this ecosystem for entrepreneurs,” said Lee, who has been a business owner in Breckenridge for nearly 20 years. “I have a sort of entrepreneurial gene,” he said. “I was shoveling driveways, cutting lawns. I had a paper route in Alaska when I was a kid. As early as I could work, I was doing my own thing, and I brought that to Colorado when I came here.” In Breckenridge, he founded the web and graphic design business Summit Creations, and co-founded Hub Breck, Iconix Clothing and Fathom VR. He was inspired to open Elevate Breckenridge with Kemp after attending events at the Frisco location. “I wanted to bring that same energy and support for entrepreneurs to Breckenridge, which is where I call home,” Lee said. Future plans include founding a nonprofit organization through which business programming can be managed. “Town Council supports what we are doing, and sees how we are reverse engineering the housing crisis in a way that is a lot less expensive than building houses,” he said, pointing out that if “new companies can launch, provide value to the community and also make more money,” it’s “a bunch of wins.” Lee also hopes to increase program offerings, citing the success of his Summit Entrepreneurs meet-up, which is just a few months old.
Meanwhile, in Frisco, Elevate ambassador Elyse Schreiber looks forward to starting her own meet-up—a professional group for career-driven women in the county. “I have found great community here at Elevate,” said Schreiber, who started her own graphic design business, Freehand Collective, in May. Already, she has a steady stream of work coming in, thanks to word-of-mouth introductions at Elevate. “Especially starting out, I got tons of great pointers from other entrepreneurs and self-employed people on simple stuff like how to handle taxes, or who’s a good CPA to talk to,” she said—and that is above and beyond the cross-pollination that occurs when innovators share a workspace. “Being a creative person, it helps me to see what other creatives are doing, even if they’re not in a creative field. It’s been a great community for cultivating ideas.” “A lot of people don’t think of a business as a creative endeavor, but it really is,” Kemp said, “especially when you’re trying to disrupt an industry or try something new—you have to be creative and innovative. We want people to think differently, to not just do business as usual. We are really focused on: ‘How do we spark creative thinking? How do we spark innovation?’” “Right now is one of the most exciting times to be in business,” she added, “and there are so many needs out there. You find that need, you figure it out, and you make a life out of that.”
Elevate cospace // elevatecospace.com Mountaintop Media // mountaintopmedia.strikingly.com Freehand Collective // freehandcollective.com Fathom VR // fathomvr.com Hub Breckenridge // hubbreck.com // digitiqe.com
BRECKENRIDGE CREATIVE ARTS
Writing process Programmer + writer Jason Rush finds community in cospace
What kind of work do you do as a programmer? I work for Panda Strike, a software consultancy with a number of different clients in different industries. These days I’ve been doing a lot of work with Disney Imagineering, the division that builds attractions at their amusement parks. My team is working on a suite of software for managing the planning and construction of those projects. What brings you to the high country? As soon as I took the job with Panda Strike, where I could work from anywhere, my wife and I started looking for a place to live up in the mountains. We were spending most of our free time in the area anyway and wanted to live where we played. In the winter, I love to snowboard and snowshoe. In the summer, it’s hiking, biking, camping and paddleboarding. And you’re a creative writer too? Yes, I recently finished a horror novel called “Mad Maddie” that I’m shopping around, and in the meantime, I’m working on a new novel, a mountain-climbing/ghost story that I’ve been thinking of as “Into Thin Air” meets “Heart-Shaped Box.” I have two short stories, “Great Oak” and “Gleed,” produced by the Pseudopod horror podcast, and a third story, “Opus,” that will appear in Rice Paper Press’ annual anthology.
Is writing words similar to writing code? I actually think there are a lot of parallels in my processes for each. Agile software methodologies have really shaped how I approach writing as an iterative process with small, focused scenes that get refactored and rewritten as the larger story comes into focus. You are a member of Elevate Frisco. Why? While I really enjoy working from home, it’s nice to be in an office environment every once in a while. It’s a great place to network and find people to collaborate with, but most important to me is that it’s just nice to have a water cooler to gather around and talk about last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” or whatever. And you started a writing group? Yes, I found a small community of writers through Elevate, and started a meetup. We get together monthly and critique a writing submission from two members each time, providing positive, constructive and encouraging feedback. The styles and genres represented are fairly diverse, ranging from fiction to memoir to self-help to business. How do you tap into your creativity? For me, it’s all about making myself do it. I rarely, if ever, get struck with sudden inspiration, it always comes from working at it. What’s best for me is just to allot time to work. I generally get up an hour early and spend an hour writing before work. Sometimes, that’s 50 minutes of staring at a blank page and thinking, followed by 10 minutes of mad scribbling. But if I skip that 50 minutes and wait for the inspiration before I start writing, it never comes.
Writer and programmer Jason Rush moved to Breckenridge two years ago to live and work where he plays. Find him at jasonrush.com, and his stories at pseudopod.org/2015/10/16/pseudopod-460-great-oak and pseudopod.org/2017/02/24/pseudopod-531-gleed. For Elevate meetups, see meetup.com/ELEVATE-coworking.
BRECKENRIDGE CREATIVE ARTS
/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
Nikki LaRochelle Design nikkilarochelle.com Squeeze Designz squeeze-designz.com
Alice G. Milne House and Memorial Park 102 N. Harris St. breckheritage.com
Straughn Design 552 97 Circle straughndesign.com
Barney Ford House Museum 111 E. Washington Ave. breckheritage.com
Summit Creations 102 Continental Ct.
Breckenridge Sawmill Museum Boreas Pass Rd. breckheritage.com
summitcreations.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
Museums + Historic Sites
Galleries Arts Alive 500 S. Main St. summitarts.org Blue River Fine Art Gallery 411 S. Main St. blueriverfineartgallery.com Breckenridge Gallery 124 S. Main St. breckenridge-gallery.com Colorado Scenics 421 S. Main St. coloradoscenics.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. 421 S. Main St. artonawhim.com
William H. Briggle House 104 N. Harris St. breckheritage.com Country Boy Mine 542 French Gulch Rd. countryboymine.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 Childrenâ€™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
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 Ruby Jane 232 S. Main St. valleygirlboutique.com Wandering Daisy 326 S. Main St. Young Colors 226 S. Main St., Unit 1 youngcolors.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
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
Alpine Spa and Salon 500 S. Main St., 3rd floor alpinespaandsalon.com
Cuppa Joe 118 S. Ridge St.
Ambika Healing 435 N. Park Ave. ambika.massagetherapy.com Blue Sage Spa 224 S. Main St. bluesagespa.com
Mug Shot Café 435 N. Park Ave. Starbucks 225 S. Main St. starbucks.com
Breckenridge Bliss Massage Therapy 325 S. Main St. breckenridgeblissmassage.com Meta Yoga Studios 118 S. Ridge St. metayogastudios.com
BRECKENRIDGE CREATIVE ARTS
The J.R. Hodges Tin Shop is one of two live/work studios on the Arts District campus, part of BCAâ€™s artist-in-residence program, which offers regional, national and international artists of all disciplines an opportunity to focus on process rather than product while engaging with the local community in a meaningful way.
mountain arts + culture quarterly