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HomeUncategorizedJerry Bell: Art Appreciation at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival

Jerry Bell: Art Appreciation at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival

I’ve always gotten up early Friday morning to get the Cherry Creeks Arts Festival . As artists set up their tents and unpack, the serious buyers are already out scouting the best of the best. It seems to me more transactions are conducted in the first couple of hours of the festival than at any other time. It’s time to whip out the gold cards and buy the exceptional pieces. I don’t have a gold card but I do enjoy this art buying spectacle. I’ll look for smaller original pieces.

A jury has to select artists to show at Cherry Creek. For those artists who get in it’s like Christmas  in July. Denver has a reputation for being a good city for art sales. Some artists will sell out and regret they didn’t bring more of their works. The festival features the work of 250 national and international artists and more than 350,000 people attend the free event. It is one of the best art shows in the country.

I like to talk to the artists and pepper them with questions about how they created their art. They are happy to oblige and talk about the process. In some cases it’s very intricate and involved. Suddenly, I find myself with a whole new appreciation of what I’m looking at.

Over the years you get to know some of the artists. Jennifer Cavan, who is at this year’s festival, is a favorite of mine. Her bright colored New Mexico scenes are prominently displayed in my home.  Jennifer used to spend all winter in Angel Fire, New Mexico creating pieces for the summer when she and her husband travel the country displaying her works at art shows. She has become more known, and now lives in Santa  Fe. While slight in stature you can easy spot Jennifer by her bright red hair, almost as bright as the colors of her works.

These traveling artists are all quite accomplished nomads carrying their works in trailers and vans as they travel the country. Premier art festivals limit the number of artists and a jury has to pick you to be in a  festival. It’s very competitive and can determine who can make a living with their art and who will be a so-called starving artist.

These artists all have interesting stories. I’ve met rocket scientists, accountants and other professionals who exited prosperous careers to create art. They feel free from the 9 to 5 grind and those who find a market for their creations are among the happiest people I’ve ever met. 

Whether you buy art at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival or not attending the festival is an opportunity to educate yourself about art and meet some awesome people who have made art their livelihood. The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is back from July 1-3 in Cherry Creek North this year after it’s Covid hiatus in 2020 and then scaled down version in 2021. Hydrate and wear sunscreen and enjoy first class art appreciation.

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