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Carbondale Clay Center hosts new show by Annette and Andrew Roberts-Gray

Visitors to Carbondale Clay Center will travel through time, as local artists Annette and Andrew Roberts-Gray open their latest collaborative show.

“We are really excited and honored to host this collaborative exhibit by Andrew and Annette Roberts-Gray. The work in this show spans a variety of mediums, including clay, to present a unique and atypical exhibition for the Carbondale Clay Center,” Clay Center Executive Director Angela Bruno said.

The center will officially open the show with a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday.

The show uses the 1968 pop song “In the Year 2525,” by Zager and Evans, as the theme for presented works in ceramic and painting mediums.

“It was a number one hit, it has a sort of a dystopian, future-like theme to it,” artist Andrew Roberts-Gray said.

Both artists have taught at the Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, and have extensively exhibited their work throughout the valley and beyond.

The narrative elements of the songs are used as suggestions for visual tone, imagery and context for paintings, sculpture and mixed-media work.

“I think people will be really excited from our generations who remember the song,” he added.

The show represents the second collaboration between the couple that have lived in the Roaring Fork Valley since the early 1990s.

“Most of the collaborative work in the show are paintings. We’ve worked together on paper,” Robert-Gray said. “It’s a blend of traditional landscapes and science fiction — what the future may hold technologically.”

The event will include entertainment with Carbondale’s own “Let them Roar” playing live.

The center will also offer refreshments at the reception.

The exhibition will run through Jan. 25 at the Carbondale Clay Center, located at 135 Main St.

“I think people will find that the imagery is very accessible,” he said.

“The ideas are ones that they are familiar with, just presented in a way that will surprise them.”

Dillon Ice Castles to open Friday, Dec. 21

The Dillon Ice Castles will officially open for visits on Friday, Dec. 21. Utah-based Ice Castles, LLC said the popular ice architecture and sculpture attraction is opening a full week earlier than usual.

Dillon is one of six cities across North America to feature the Ice Castles. The Dillon location is the first of the company’s six locations to open for the season due to an early start to construction and a bountiful early winter in Summit.

“We are excited to able to open before Christmas this season,” said Ice Castles CEO Ryan Davis. “Kids will get out of school for the winter break and families will be spending time together. Ice Castles gives people one more way to make incredible winter memories over the holidays.”

The attraction features ice-carved tunnels, fountains, slides, frozen thrones, and cascading towers of ice embedded with color-changing LED lights that twinkle to music at night.

Artisans have spent the last five weeks growing, harvesting, and hand-placing icicles to create the life-size winter playground which brings tens of thousands of people to Dillon each season. The frozen creation in Dillon is made up of 25 million pounds of ice.

The company has other locations in Midway, Utah; Stillwater, Minnesota; North Woodstock, New Hampshire; Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; and Edmonton, Alberta.

Meet Glenwood Springs’ chosen North Landing artist, Madeline Wiener

When Colorado artist Madeline Wiener discovered what she calls "the Stone" up in Marble, her life changed forever.

Now, "the transplant from back East" gets the once-in-lifetime opportunity to plant a piece of her own life's work in the city formerly known as Defiance.

"I have dedicated my career to creating sculpture for public places — sculpture that is intended to be touched, interacted with, functional — and I came to designing a series of works that I call, 'Bench People,'" the stone carver who splits her time between Boulder and Marble said in a recent phone interview.

Wiener's work, which lives in places as near as Montrose and as abroad as Scotland, exhibits a bit of Defiance itself.

"I just felt like it was such a great opportunity to get people to touch the stone and feel the warmth, feel the coolness, feel textures — do all of those things that are taboo when a visitor goes to a museum or a gallery," Wiener said.

Wiener's next sculpture work will reside at the place where the former Grand Avenue Bridge once touched down, the city-owned North Landing site.

Thanks to a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant awarded to Glenwood Springs earlier this year, Wiener was selected as the desired artist to create a sculpture for the open space. And now, the community not only gets the opportunity to meet the artist herself, but additionally give input on her future work at two public art charrettes, taking place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Monday and again Dec. 5 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

"Coming home and doing it right in my own backyard, this is more than an honor," Wiener emphasized. "I could not have dreamed that I would have been the one selected for this particular project.

"Whatever it is that I will be doing, I will be doing it out of a block of Colorado yule marble, which comes from the quarries just round the bend in Marble, Colorado."

Before sculpting that block of Colorado yule marble, Wiener wants to meet and hear from the community where it will live, for further inspiration.

"I do not know what I am doing yet, and that is where the community gets involved," Wiener said.

Carving the fine line of gauging what the public wants versus what the sculptor may desire seems like a monumental challenge, especially for an artist. However, Wiener seems an exception to the rule.

"Right off the bat, they will know that I am a stone carver, and they will be acquainted with my work because there will be visuals put up around the room, and they will see other sculptures that have been created in this genre, in this style of my Bench People," Wiener said of her message to those offering input.

"They will get to know me, but I will also get to know them, and that way I can be thinking about what they might like to see out there," she said.

Although Wiener's Bench People sit all over the world, the stone carver stresses the importance of giving each piece that she does its own sense of identity that reflects the world it lives in specifically.

"That is where the people will come in. Do they want to see a child? Do they want to see two children? … I cannot give this away, but I want to do something that leaves an impressionable size and can be seen from a distance," Wiener added.

"Do they want me to go Native American? There is a huge Hispanic community, so, do they want me to stay in that genre or that culture? I will listen to them."

mabennett@postindependent.com

Photographers discuss dog show at Aspen Chapel Gallery

Ten participating artists will discuss their photography in the current Aspen Chapel Gallery show, "Man's Best Friend," on Wednesday.

The exhibition is in partnership with the Aspen Animal Shelter. The show includes canine-centric work by Dan Bayer, Ted Bristol, Annie Hosier, Klaus Kocher, Heather Lafferty, Brenda ManesBland Nesbit, Bryna Patterson, Karen Sanders and Summers Moore, who also curated the show and will lead Wednesday's hour-long discussion.

"The pictures of dogs, cats and horses has delighted viewers because most of us relate to animals," Moore said in an announcement. However, there is more to the pictures than what you see and our discussion will be more in depth about the photographs, process and technique."

The show opened last month with a lively reception including artists, locals and their four-legged friends. A percentage of art sales are being donated to the Aspen Animal Shelter.

The talk is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. "Man's Best Friend" runs through Nov. 25.

Carbondale comes together for Dia de los Muertos

A tradition borrowed from Mexico, Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, has become an annual gathering for the town of Carbondale.

A holiday that dates back hundreds of years, Dia de los Muertos is a time for families and friends to remember family members who have died.

“So many of our families have Latin American backgrounds. It’s a good way to recognize that at a community level,” Valley Settlement Executive Director Jon Fox-Rubin said.

The Roaring Fork Valley celebration, which began as a fairly small event over a decade ago, has grown over the years.

The collaboration of the community now includes Carbondale Arts, Valley Settlement, Thunder River Theatre Company, SOL Theatre, The Third Street Center, Mezcla Socials and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico.

“It is a time to honor those who have passed on. For Carbondale it is also an opportunity for our different cultures to come together,” Carbondale Arts Executive Director Amy Kimberly said. “That is one of the most wonderful things about Dia.”

Carbondale Arts will bring the community together on First Friday, as festivities will begin at 5 p.m. at the Third Street Center where altars made by families honoring the departed will be on display.

“It is very colorful. The altars are all very moving and honor something or someone who has passed,” Kimberly said. “It is a great mix of traditional altars and then artful altars that are very nontraditional.”

There will be dance performances and Que Viva, where loved ones will take a moment at the altars to say the names of anyone who died in the past year.

At 6:30 p.m., a procession of more than 200 people will go from the Third Street Center through town to Thunder River Theatre.

A giant Katrina puppet and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico will lead the procession with participants dressed in traditional costumes and dancing.

According to Fox-Rubin, it is an opportunity for children and adults to dress up and partake in some of the historical traditions.

There will be two performances by Ballet Folklorico at Thunder River Theatre at 7 and 7:45 p.m.

The evening will close with a fire/aerial silk show at the Fourth Street Plaza on Main Street by Dance of the Sacred Fire Troupe, which is new to this year’s event.

“What’s neat about Carbondale is we have two dominant cultures side by side, the historic Anglo culture and the newer Latino culture,” Fox-Rubin said.

“It’s a neat way to engage all ages and folks from different backgrounds together.”

kmills@postindependent.com

Glenwood Springs students find voice with theater piece

For the past month, Glenwood Springs Middle School and Voices, a nonprofit founded by local poet Barbara Reese and is based out of Carbondale, have been working together to create a one-of-a-kind theater project.

Voices began in 2016 with the mission to amplify voices of diverse populations through the arts.

The Voices Project, the flagship program of Voices which started in 2017 at Basalt High School, is a four-week program including two weeks in the classroom writing, creating vignettes, poetry and symbolic movement pieces exploring the theme of change and growth.

Cassidy Willey, a bilingual teaching artist who is directing the project, started working with 45 sixth-grade students in both Traci Wilson's art class and Lucia Campbell's English language developer's class for the student-generated project.

According to Campbell, she has seen her students gain confidence in their writing through the project's on-demand and improvised nature of writing exercises. It also has helped reinforce the notion of writing as a process with a purpose that is first and foremost about generating and sharing ideas.

"It made me want to do it because I like making up things," GSMS sixth-grader Eleazar Mellian said of his vibrant imagination he brings to the project.

A handful of students self-selected for the commitment to the everyday project and wanted to continue the work outside of the classroom performing onstage.

"We have five really awesome, excited, brave students that are going to take the stage on Saturday with their original work," Willey said.

The five sixth-graders have spent the past two weeks on the stage after school honing their performances and improvisation.

"My job is just to help make it performance-ready, and help to galvanize behind their ideas and their passion and then translate them to the stage," Willey said.

Titled "Here We Go Again," the project is based around the theme of change, with all student-generated ideas and themes. Each individual piece of the performance is based on what they are excited about and what they wanted to do.

"They did a lot of brainstorming about changes they are going through, working with improvisation," Willey said.

Scenes include a piece about their first day of school, an improv game with changing emotions set in a barber shop, and twins getting lost acted out in pantomime.

"I really like just being able to interact with others in a performance," GSMS sixth-grader Isabella Waymire said.

The group will be giving a small preview today for their sixth-grade classmates at GSMS, before Saturday's 6 p.m. performance that is free and open to family, friends and the community at Glenwood Springs Middle School.

"We are all are all just kind of taking this big creative, emotional leap together and then supporting one another to put all the pieces in place to make the final product," Willey said.

kmills@postindependent.com

After short hiatus, the Culinary Arts Festival returns

After a year off, the Glenwood Springs Arts Council is ready to hold its annual fundraiser highlighting the community's culinary arts.

"Everyone kept coming up to us saying they missed the culinary arts event because it was part of the fall, so we decided to give it a go and bring it back," said Glenwood Springs Arts Council Treasurer Judy O'Donnell.

The Art of Food + Drink themed event will be held today, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hotel Colorado.

"It's a chance to see everybody in town. It's just a good event," O'Donnell said.

Food from local restaurants including the Hotel Colorado, the Pullman, the Riviera Supper Club, Colorado Ranch House, Sunshine and Moon, Uncle Pizza and Eat; along with drink vendors Cooper Wine and Spirits, Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub, Kendall Jackson, 10th Mountain Tasting Room and Tin Cup.

"It's a chance for our attendees to sample more then a dozen restaurant and drink vendors," council volunteer Terry Glasenapp said.

Roaring Fork Valley's own Valle Musico will entertain the crowd with their fusion of classical, rock, Latin and improv sounds.

Tickets are $50 purchased in advance, $60 at the door. Tickets are available at GlenwoodArts.org, by calling 970-355-9689, and at A LA CARTE, High Country Gems, and Jewels and Gems, all in Glenwood Springs.

"Instead of going out, come to the Arts Council event at the Hotel Colorado," O'Donnell said.

Both O'Donnell and Glasenapp say it's a perfect time for the community to come together around a common interest, and help support the Arts Council.

REORGANIZATION

The council, which was founded in 1982 to help promote and educate the arts through cultural events, concerts, poetry readings, exhibits and more, is reorganizing after the Center for the Arts, which it ran, closed last year due to financial reasons.

The council will hold a strategic planning meeting the first of November to set new goals and a mission plan deciding what the future holds for the group.

"Where do we go from here, what exactly is the council going to be, how we are going to be reorganized since we don't have a facility anymore?" O'Donnell said.

"How we can make a difference in the community in the future?"

O'Donnell and Glasenapp said the council hopes to continue through sponsoring more events and working with other organizations to create partnerships for future events.

"The economic value of the arts I think has a really proven record in communities all around the world," Glasenapp said, "When the arts thrive people want to be there, restaurants, local businesses, things get more beautiful, when there is more art."

kmills@postindependent.com

Glenwood Caverns finishes Octoberfest with retirement of Iron Mountain Tramway

For a decade and a half, the Iron Mountain Tram traversed the 4,300-foot climb from the base of the Iron Mountain to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park high above Glenwood Springs.

"I can hardly believe it's been 15 years; the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting seem like yesterday," co-owner Jeanne Beckley said.

From 1999 when the Caverns first opened, Steve and Jeanne Beckley transported people from the Hotel Colorado to the historic fairy caves via Transfer Trail in used buses that were purchased from Snowmass.

"After a couple of seasons, it became apparent that our business model was being challenged," Beckley said. "We were spending lots of money on bus maintenance and, being seasonal, generated revenue for only 6 months out of the year."

According to Jeanne, Steve Beckley (co-owner and her husband) remembered seeing an old article from the Avalanche Echo in the late 1890s that mentioned the idea of installing a tram as a way to get the top of the mountain. With the help of Chuck and Nancy Peterson, the concept of a new tram became a reality.

"The tram went in 2003 and changed our world forever," Caverns general manager Nancy Heard said.

Fabricated by CWA Construction in Switzerland, the tram was designed and installed by Leitner-Poma, with 19 cabins and the capability to transport 300 people per hour.

The tram allowed people to be transported to the top of the mountain faster than the Beckleys could get them through the cave tours.

With only the cave tours and the restaurant inside the visitor center at the top of the mountain, the Beckleys built a nature trail for the visitors waiting the two to three hours for a cave tour.

"But that didn't quite solve the problem. it was clear that we needed more things to do for our guests," Beckley said.

According to Jeanne, after a trip to the International Attractions & Amusement Park Association tradeshow, the Beckleys decided to purchase their first attractions, the alpine coaster (the first in the United States), a giant swing and zip ride in 2005.

"It was a huge turning point for the direction of the company," Heard said.

Fast forward to today, 2.2 million guests and more then a half dozen attractions later, the park has decided to retire the tram and replace it with a new one.

The existing tram travels in groups of three cabins and must slow down for passengers to load and unload, transporting 300 passengers an hour.

The new tram will include 44 detachable, six-passenger cabins, spaced 100 to 200 feet apart. The capacity will increase to 1,000 people per hour. Trips up the mountain will average seven or eight minutes instead of the 12 to 13 minutes it takes now.

"I am most excited that the new tram will provide for a much better guest experience," Beckley said. "It will give us higher capacity, which means shorter lines at the tram base."

Moving at 600 feet a minute, the new tram will cut the ride time nearly in half and have a smoother ride.

"I can't wait for the next chapter," Beckley said.

GOING OUT IN STYLE

As the end of an era approaches, the park plans to send the old tram out in style.

While the park is in the middle of celebrating its annual Octoberfest this month, local band Alpine Echo performs along with traditional hayrides, face painting and kids games this weekend and next Saturday.

Sunday, Oct. 28, will be all about the tram. The park will host a farewell party, with a throwback to the year it opened. All tram rides will be back to 2003 prices of $10 per person. Atop the mountain there will be cake, drawings, prizes, giveaways, free refreshments and $1 hotdogs in the plaza.

One lucky person's name will be drawn, and will get to ride down the last tram of the day with owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley.

"This will be the time to say goodbye to the current tram and make our last ride down the mountain," Beckley said.

DISMANTLING AND CONSTRUCTION BEGINS

Dismantling preparation of the old tram will begin once the park closes Sunday evening.

Once dismantled the old tram will be shipped to the new owners Aeries Resort in Grafton, Illinois.

According to Jeanne Beckley, after lots of prodding, Steve Beckley agreed to negotiate with the new owners to keep tram car No. 1.

"He will be glad we did it 50 years from now," Beckley said.

Heard said it will go on display in the park for photo opportunities for visitors.

"It's such a significant symbol of the growth of the park that we wanted to hold onto a piece of it," Heard said.

The park will be temporarily closed for a four-month window during the tram dismantling and construction. Park staff will be busy doing various park projects, including helping with the tram.

"We're busy getting ourselves ready to wind down, Steve and Jeanne have been generous enough to maintain our full-time, year-round staff," Heard said.

The park is set to reopen mid-March with its new high-capacity tramway.

"This is probably the single biggest improvement we've made since we put the tram in the first time," she said.

kmills@postindependent.com

Novelist Sarah Schantz to speak on mental health at CMC campuses

Award-winning novelist Sarah Schantz will visit Colorado Mountain College’s (CMC) Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Aspen campuses this month to bring attention to mental health issues.

Schantz, author of the novel “Fig,” which won the 2016 Colorado Book Award and was National Public Radio’s Best Book selection in 2015, will speak at CMC campuses across the Rocky Mountains as part of CMC’s Common Reader program. The novel portrays a young woman who struggles between fantasy and reality to cope with her mother’s mental illness.

CMC biology professor Kimberly Harding, author of mental wellness workbook “Ascend and Transcend,” will moderate a presentation and discussion with Schantz exploring mental health issues through the novel’s protagonist. Harding’s workbook is supported by a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation.

“We applied for this Colorado Health Foundation grant because we recognize that mental health and mental illness are critically important to our students, employees and communities,” said Lisa Doak, assistant vice president of student services at CMC.

The events will be open to the public as well as students and faculty CMC. Schantz will speak at the Rifle CMC campus at 7 p.m. Oct. 23, and at the Aspen location at 10 a.m. and the Morgridge Commons in Glenwood Springs on Oct. 24.

Copies of the novel and workbook are available at Garfield County libraries and the CMC campuses in Rifle and Aspen.

2019 WinterWonderGrass Steamboat Springs festival lineup announced

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The magic of WinterWonderGrass will be back in 2019, and the list of headliners has been announced.

The festival lineup features over 23 bands performing on four stages over three days Feb. 22 to 24.

Headlining artists include Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth and The Infamous Stringdusters.

Additional artists who will be performing in Steamboat include Jeff Austin Band, Fruition, The California Honeydrops, The Lil Smokies, Billy Strings, The Shook Twins, Lindsay Lou, Love Canon, River Whyless and more.

“Caravan to WonderGrass Colorado,” the festival's official announcement celebration, will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 at the Chief Theater. Chain Station and Bridget Law will be the evening’s featured entertainment.

The free event will feature beer from Oskar Blues brewery, giveaways and ticket specials.

"Steamboat is now one of my homes, and that has permeated down into my team,” said Scotty Stoughton, founder of WinterWonderGrass. “The love, support and appreciation we feel from the community inspires us to make the city proud. It's beyond an honor to continue to build the legacy of the original WinterWonderGrass in Colorado.” 

The internationally recognized bluegrass and craft beer festival, which hosts a unique mix of world-class bluegrass on three heated indoor stages and one outdoor stage, has a reputation for selling out shortly after the line-up announcement. This is the third year Steamboat will play host to the festival.

Since its inception, WinterWonderGrass and its sister event, Campout for the Cause, have contributed $100,000 to local environmental groups and youth education programs, as well as local and global humanitarian causes, according to a recent WinterWonderGrass Festival news release.

This year, the festival will support Friends of the Yampa, Yampatika and Partners in Routt County.

“It’s more than just a three-day music festival,” said Ariel Rosemberg, director of marketing and ticketing for Bonfire Entertainment.

While music is at the core, the festival is focused on sustainability by partnering with organizations like Waste-Free Earth.

Oskar Blues Brewery is the festival’s presenting sponsor for the daily beer tastings, featuring the taste of Colorado from over 22 local and regional breweries.

The festival also includes late night shows held at local venues including Thunderhead Lodge at the top of the gondola, The Steamboat Grand, Chief Theater and Schmiggity's. Tickets for these shows will be sold separately with those line-ups to be announced at a later date along with the festival kickoff on February 22.

Following the successful batch of festivals in 2018 in Colorado and California, the festival has announced a new, East Coast version of the event located in Stratton, Vermont, running from Dec. 14 to 16.

Expecting to sell out quickly once again this year, three-day tickets for WinterWonderGrass start at $179 and VIP three-day tickets start at $319 for a limited time.

For ticket iinformation, visit http://www.winterwondergrass.com.

WINTERWONDERGRASS 2019 LINEUP:

• Trampled by Turtles

• Railroad Earth

• The Infamous Stringdusters

• The California Honeydrops

• Fruition

• Billy Strings

• The Lil Smokies

• Della Mae with Bonnie Paine

• Jeff Austin Band

• †he Shook Twins

• Lindsay Lou

• Love Canon

• River Whyless

Additional artists include:

  • Pixie and the Partygrass Boys
  • Pickin on the Dead
  • Town Mountain
  • Rapidgrass
  • Upstate
  • Wood Belly (recent Telluride Bluegrass winners)
  • The Sweet Lillies
  • Chain Station
  • The Lonesome Days
  • Jay Roemer Band

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter@Audrey_Dwyer1.