MONTROSE—(January 15) Sure, they are calling their new series of events an Interactive Art “Crawl.”
It’s pretty clear that Sarah Brewer, Naomi Dyer and Krystina Maixner have actually hit the ground running. The three young visual artists will bring art and art appreciation to the streets of the emerging LoMo arts district along West Main in Montrose on a regular basis, starting this month.
On Jan. 17, The ReneWest Interactive Art Crawl will kick off with a feast for all of the senses—locals and visitors alike are encouraged to hit the streets of the West Main arts district in search of fine art, fun, drinks, drama, music and more. The events are planned for the third Thursday of each month, to tie in with the popular First Friday Art Strolls Downtown and with summer’s Main in Motion events. This month’s Art Crawl, which features a theme of “Light it Up,” will showcase bicycles, with a bicycle lighting contest hosted by Papa Wheelies Bicycle Shop (207 East Main St.). Businesses on West Main will stay open late, and many will feature performances by local musicians and other special treats.
For Sarah Brewer, a mother of two and breast cancer survivor at age 28, it’s really a celebration of life. A charcoal portrait artist and painter in acrylics, Brewer and her husband left Montrose several years ago with the idea of relocating, and found themselves in communities where well-established art walks formed a staple of the social scene. When her husband’s career instead brought them back home, Sarah decided to recreate some of that artistic energy right here.
“I decided this was an opportunity,” said Brewer, whose work has been recently featured in the Montrose Farm Market mural Downtown.
After arriving home in August, she arranged to meet with Downtown Development Authority Director Scott Shine, who offered suggestions, resources and support for the project.
“This is about creating a more diverse culture Downtown,” Brewer said. “In February we will feature ice sculptures, and in March we plan to hold a masquerade.”
Also planned for the initial “Light it Up” event is a silent auction fundraiser, featuring thrift store lamps refurbished by local artists to be bid on by participants.
“The lamps will displayed in local businesses through the evening,” she said.
Although the Interactive Art Crawl does not yet have non-profit status, Brewer said that is a goal and hopes that locals will support the events with generous donations and by shopping at participating shops.
Among the local businesses excited about the Interactive Art Crawl are Papa Wheelies, The Riddled Raven (24 South Grand Ave.), Pickled Painter (209 West Main St.), Amelia’s Hacienda (44 South Grand Ave.), The Wild Rose (206 East Main St.), 2 Rascals Brewpub (147 North First St.), Chow Down Pet Supplies (202 West Main St.), Sushitini (228 East Main St.), and Dance Around (413 North First St.), which may offer hip hop classes in connection with the Art Crawl events. Also on board is one of Montrose’s newest manufacturing businesses, Prairie Dog Treats (146 West Main St.)
Brewer said that eventually the Art Crawl hopes to incorporate some of the local clubs, and to display art work by high school students. For now, she simply hopes for a strong turnout at the kick-off event on Jan. 17.
“Dress warm,” she advised, “and hit the streets!”
By Caitlin Switzer
DOWNTOWN MONTROSE– (January 15)
Also bringing new energy and increased vitality to Downtown are the First Friday Strolls, which have been growing in popularity over the past year, according to Organizer Yesenia Duncan of A+Y Gallery (513 East Main St.).
First Friday Strolls, which welcome the public to “stroll” through local shops and galleries, present community members and visitors with a different side of Montrose—along with a chance to experience the diverse and eclectic variety of merchandise showcased in local shops and galleries, and observe live demonstrations by sought-after artists and artisans from around the region.
Next month, A+Y Gallery will debut its Young Aspiring Artists program during the next First Friday Stroll on Feb. 1. The idea is to share the professional side of displaying selling artwork with area teens.
“We are looking for more teens interested in displaying their work,” Duncan said. “The goal is to teach these young artists the business side of trying to make it as an artist; they will price their own pieces, title them, and create their own format for display. The young artists will be on hand at the event as well, to learn how to sell and network with community members.”
In addition to sharing and showcasing the work of the artists themselves, the First Friday Strolls offer a low-cost form of entertainment for the entire community, she said.
“These First Friday Strolls take place year round, right here in our vibrant Downtown,” Duncan said. “We encourage people to come out and make a night of it—sample a glass of wine or beer, indulge in some one-of-a-kind shopping opportunities, and take in a demonstration by one of our outstanding local artists—this is the perfect chance to witness the creative process, and to discover how labor and time intensive the work really is.”
Among the local artists whose work can be viewed and appreciated are Matthew Curtis, Jenny McIntyre, Wayne Brown, Sven Krebs, Paola Caldararo, Barb Bichon, Wendy Persch and Melody Searle, Duncan said.