Former teacher remains committed to Carbondale
Ro Mead scoffs at the idea of retirement.”I don’t think I’ll ever retire,” she said. “I really think that being this involved and this active, I forget that I’m an age.”There’s simply too much to do, said the 69-year-old director of the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities. Mead, a ceramic artist and teacher by trade, has occupied herself with community service work in the past few years.She’s worked with Town Mothers, a group that fought against the Crystal Rivers Marketplace development in Carbondale, and she volunteers on the Economic Roadmap group, which is dedicated to improving fiscal matters in Carbondale.
“It’s a great caring community, and it’s still funky,” Mead said. “That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.”Recent weeks have been extraordinarily busy, since Mead is one of the head organizers of this weekend’s Carbondale Mountain Fair.”I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard,” Mead half-joked.In fact, making sure the fair goes off without a hitch is such a colossal task, a new position was created to ease the CCAH director’s pain.”It’s huge. In years past, the director of the fair was also the director of [CCAH], but it’s just become too big,” she said.
What many Roaring Fork Valley residents don’t realize, Mead said, is that Mountain Fair is actually a fundraiser for CCAH.A Colorado native, Mead has been attending Mountain Fair since 1975, when she had her own artists’ booth and displayed samples of her ceramic work. In the following years, Mead’s art changed direction, but she still went to the fair just to party.”And now I have to be responsible,” Mead said with a laugh.Her true love, however, has been calling to her in the past year.”I miss having my hands in clay,” she said.
Mead has been so busy in the past year working with CCAH that she hasn’t worked with ceramics at all. She also declined to teach any courses this year at Yampah Mountain High School or Colorado Mountain College, as she has off and on for years.Mead said that what she misses the most, especially about her art, is the singularity of it, the focus, the tunnel vision of artistic concentration that borders on obsession.”Multitasking is highly overrated. When you’re writing or creating or whatever kind of art form it is, you really focus, and the world can go away, and I miss that a lot. You have no idea what time it is, and people who don’t do that don’t understand what you’re talking about,” she said.Although her career path might alter a bit, Mead said whatever she chooses to do, she’ll do it in Carbondale.”I love Carbondale,” she said. “I don’t think there’s any other place like it, and I’ll be really sad if it ever changes.”
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