BreckCreate hosts Hands on Artists’ Books during June Creativity Crawl.
The ski resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado, at a lofty height in Summit County, about 90 miles west of Denver, is home to a well planned and lively downtown art district. Recognizing that developing a strong cultural profile as a means of expanding the town’s tourism industry beyond the winter months makes good business sense, the city has invested roughly twenty-five million dollars into the arts over the past few years.
According to Jenn Cramm, BreckCreate’s Director of Public Programs and Engagement, the vision began in 2001, with the town’s purchase of the historic buildings for what is now the Breckenridge Arts District Campus.
In 2014, the vision was more formalized with the designation of the non-profit Breckenridge Creative Arts (BreckCreate). In the past two years, the campus has been on a fast track of improvements and program development.
June 13, the night I was in town, was the grand opening of the Old Masonic Hall as a newly renovated, dedicated space for the arts. Pictured below is a view from the outside window of Jennifer Ghormley’s lovely hanging paper installation Transitions, with sky and downtown Breckenridge reflections.
The campus, with studios and residences in renovated historic structures, hosts a variety of cultural programming throughout the year, including a national roster of visiting artists in two on-site residences. Special programming throughout the year includes second Saturday art walks, year-round workshops with visiting and local artists, visual art exhibitions, dance, music and theater performances and the quarterly Creativity Crawl.
My visit was hosted in the front section of the Fuque Livery Stable, an open room with floor to ceiling windows on three sides and track lighting. Over the course of the three hour Creativity Crawl, I showed dozens of books, spread out on three tables, to the 100 or so visitors who stopped by. I am always surprised at how few visitors at events such as this are aware of the field of artists’ books. Many stayed to learn more, simply by looking at the books and asking questions about them. Several returned for a second visit, bringing along others they knew would appreciate the form.
I love when this happens – watching the glimmer of interest (occasionally with a hint of reticence to engage) shift into full fledged involvement, enthusiasm and discussion. A lot of time, effort and expense goes into making these mobile artists’ books shows happen, for both myself and the hosting venue. Getting to share the excitement that inevitably grows as visitors interact with books serves to affirm my commitment to Abecedarian Gallery and Artists Books on the Road.