OURAY COUNTY – Now in its 50th year of cultivating visual arts to Ouray County, the Ouray County Arts Association will begin its Golden Anniversary celebration with the Winter Arts and Crafts Festival, Feb. 12-14, at the Ouray Community Center.
“This event is intended to highlight local and regional artisans, not just artists,” OCCA Secretary Vicki Caldwell said on Tuesday. “It will feature all types of arts and crafts – it’s wide open. That means artisans can exhibit jewelry, quilting, knitting and anything else artistic.”
Caldwell said entries to the Winter Arts and Crafts Festival are still being taken. “This is very inexpensive to enter,” Caldwell said. “It’s free for members and $15 for unlimited entries for nonmembers. If someone has 50 pairs of earrings, they can come and show them for that price. Our hope is to get people to visit Ouray over Valentine’s weekend and come to the show, eat locally and stay in our hotels.”
There is no limit to the number of pieces submitted, but they must all be for sale. This is a non-juried show and the public can attend for free. The artist of the piece selected for the People’s Choice award will receive $50.
In conjunction with the Winter Arts and Crafts Festival, OCAA is sponsoring a silent auction that will feature the donated work of local artists, craftsmen and businesses. The festival will be held from 1-7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Caldwell was excited to announce that the OCAA’s 50th anniversary celebration will continue into the summer with the Artists’ Alpine Holiday, July 30-Aug. 7. The event is one of the oldest juried art shows in the region and has become popular over its 50 year tenure in Ouray County.
“It has grown into one of the biggest art shows on the Western Slope,” Caldwell said. “A lot of places have art shows, but to have a juried art show is a big deal and it has been a big deal for 50 years.”
Judging this year’s Artists’ Alpine Holiday will be John Cogan, a New Mexico realist known for his paintings of the Grand Canyon. “He has also agreed to do a three-day workshop for interested artists on the weekend of July 30 that is co-sponsored by Weehawken Creative Arts,” Caldwell said.
The nine-day event will feature a paint-out on Ouray’s Main Street, artist demonstrations, studio/gallery tours, children’s workshops, and an anniversary concert.
There will also be an exhibition of the OCAA Permanent Collection at the Ridgway Library and other gallery venues around the county. Each year, OCAA purchases one piece of art for the collection, which now, after 50 years, features 50 pieces.
“Everyone will get to see them for free,” Caldwell said. “The collection has a whole array of different formats and genres.”
Caldwell credits OCAA’s contributing members and volunteers for making this year’s celebration possible.
“Because our grant funding has been so diminished in these economic times we are depending on membership contributions to help finance all these events,” she said. “It is only through volunteer efforts that this organization has kept going for 50 years and it is only through those continued efforts that we will survive.”
For more information on submitting a piece for next weekend’s Winter Arts and Crafts Festival, or to find out more about OCAA’s 50th anniversary festivities, call 626-3212 or visit ourayarts.org.
OCAA is a nonprofit organization established to encourage the visual arts in Ouray County. Its mission is to provide information about art-related events in Ouray County; to encourage appreciation, enthusiasm, participation and support of the visual arts; to encourage local artists by providing a venue for presenting their work; and to award scholarships to deserving students in Ouray County. To become a member of OCAA, call Caldwell at 325-4816 or visit its website at ourayarts.org.