What do you get when you cross a bit of the Paris art scene with a bit of the New York theater scene? Throw in a dash of the Santa Fe gallery feel and a splash of the Cannes Film Festival. Top it all off with a majestic lake and surrounding mountains, and you have Evergreen, Colorado. Last summer, the Evergreen Arts and Culture Alliance created “Arts Alive Evergreen,” a week-long extravaganza that showcases the breadth of talent and opportunities in our mountain community. Arts Alive has grown exponentially since its inaugural year, and July 15 marks the opening of a 16-day celebration of the arts.
The festival will take place at diverse locations throughout Evergreen: in theaters, classrooms, on the sidewalks and pathways, near water and under old-growth ponderosa pines. What better way to celebrate our lively artistic community than to enjoy our beautiful mountain settings with the finest in art, music and film?
Arts Alive kicks off with the Evergreen Players’ production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” on July 15. And it’s not just the adult actors who are lighting up the stages of Evergreen. During the day on July 15, enjoy performances by the 5 to 7-year-old actors of the Evergreen Players Drama Camp and improv comedy from the 13- to 17-year-olds in the Players’ teen group, The Tribe. In between performances, hop over to the downtown branch of Evergreen National Bank to see a preview of artists who participate in the Open Door Studios Tour. This year’s studio tour will be Sept. 17 and 18 throughout Evergreen. Then settle into your seats for opening night of “Spelling Bee” at Center/Stage.
Get up early on Saturday to head over to Buchanan Park for the first day of Summerfest, a two-day festival of arts and crafts produced by the Center for the Arts Evergreen. Buchanan Park is a great launching point for a walking cell-phone tour of the sculpture collection throughout Evergreen made possible by Art for the Mountain Community. Stop by Evergreen Fine Art on your walk (or drive) for live artist demonstrations. Enjoy the gallery’s sculpture garden and collection of work from new and emerging artists. End up at Center/Stage for a photographic exhibition of the Art for the Mountain Community sculpture collection on display at the Rotary Gallery.
On Monday, July 18, the Colorado Children’s Theatre begins a week of free workshops for kids. Your children can experience a preschool/kindergarten theater workshop, a musical theater workshop for teens, a musical theater dance class, a live karaoke party, and more. All of these events take place at CCT’s home on Meadow Drive.
Tuesday and Wednesday offer more family-friendly events, with performances by the Dandy Lion Theatre Company in Heritage Grove. Children of all ages will love the free show, “A Fairytale Comes to Life,” from 11 a.m. to noon each day.
Thursday kicks off a celebration of the visual arts in Evergreen. Timberline Gallery, in its new location in the Evergreen Design Center on Meadow Drive, will offer free drop-in seminars on digital photography on Thursday and Friday. Bergen Village Shopping Center has pulled together an arts festival that begins on Thursday evening and takes place all weekend long. The festival will feature live entertainment, live artist demonstrations, and merchant discounts throughout the weekend. Hearthfire Books will host a children’s story time and live readings by local artists. The shopping center will offer skateboard lessons and exhibits, sign language classes and performances by local musical artists.
On Saturday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., downtown Evergreen will be filled with painters, photographers and sculptors, bringing the best of Evergreen to life in art. The downtown galleries will host open houses while you stroll from easel to easel enjoying the wonder of “plein air” artistic creation.
The celebration of outdoor art will continue at Hiwan Homestead Museum on Saturday. Artists with Altitude will present outdoor painting demonstrations and host a sale of their work. Stick around for the evening at Hiwan, when the museum presents a Movie in the Grove. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy a screening of the silent version of “The Phantom of the Opera,” starring Colorado’s Lon Chaney and accompanied by the live music of pianist Hank Troy.
The last weekend of Arts Alive includes a community-wide event when the Downtown Business Association hosts Derby Week. Derby week kicks off on Friday, July 29, with the Auto Rendezvous, packed with classic cars. Saturday will be a party in downtown Evergreen with horse-drawn trolley rides and a coloring contest for the kids. It all culminates on Aug. 6 with the second annual Dam Ducky Derby.
The closing event of the Arts Alive festival is the award-winning Evergreen Jazz Festival. Eleven bands descend on Evergreen, filling the streets and performance venues with the sounds of music. The weekend features dance lessons, musical demonstrations, educational programs and more than 75 hours of traditional jazz music on five stages throughout Evergreen.
For more information and to check out a complete calendar of Arts Alive Evergreen events, visit www.artsaliveevergreen.org.
Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.