Beautiful weather, eclectic fine art and a picturesque setting in Heritage Grove Park combined to create the perfect Evergreen Fine Arts Festival this past weekend.
If the number of cars lining Meadow Drive all weekend was any indication, the 46th annual event was well attended. Hundreds wandered through the grove, looking at the offerings from 100 artists. Some attendees were looking for specific items to accent their homes, while others just browsed the booths that sported everything from paintings and photography to waterfall sculptures and pottery.
The 100 artists spanned the country, from Washington D.C. to Washington state, from Florida to California, according to Beth Erlund, who wore several hats at the festival. She had a booth to display her own batik artwork, and she coordinates the festival for the Evergreen Artists Association.
The festival can’t have more than 100 artists because the grounds can’t accommodate more vendors and because fewer booths tend to make the festival better for the artists displaying their work, she said.
Erlund said more people were involved in the festival this year compared with 2011. There seemed to be more people wandering through the grove, and more than 400 artists submitted portfolios for consideration, more than years in the past.
She attributes both to additional advertising outside of Evergreen.
“(The Evergreen Artists Association) would like to see a lot of people come to the festival because it helps the whole Evergreen community,” Erlund said. “It’s to everyone’s advantage. People may come from Denver to the festival, then stop for lunch or shop in a gallery. It helps all of the businesses in the community.”
Among the vendors was Ken Pieper of Evergreen, a home designer turned artist. Pieper, who has designed homes in the area for more than 25 years, said he has painted on and off all of his life.
His landscape paintings are contemporary in style with gold aspen, mountains and waterfalls.
“My paintings are not everyday aspen,” Pieper said while standing in his booth on Saturday. “The paintings apply to any living environment you put them in.”
He’s a self-taught artist: “All of this is talent given to me by God.”
He says that after all of these years painting, he’s still amazed by the positive responses to his work from customers and other artists.
“That’s food for the soul when people appreciate your work,” he said.
Erlund, who lives part of the year in Morrison and the rest of the time in Florida, also is a self-taught artist, with her first job in zoology. She began painting regularly when her husband was transferred to Japan.
After she moved to Evergreen, she said the Evergreen Artists Association became her mentor.
“The EAA made it possible for me to be a practicing artist,” she said.