Twenty years ago, Salida was a sleepy mountain town on the Arkansas river with a few galleries. River rafters knew it; so did artists looking for a scenic but quiet spot to live and work, and it was (and is) a nice riverside stopover while driving through the Rockies. It was then, recalls Salida artist Steph Brady, that the Salida ArtWalk had its inauspicious start.
“In the beginning, it was only two places. One guy put on his bathrobe and had a six-pack on the mantel; the other one had an open house, and that was the gist of it,” says Brady, whose Green Cat Studio has been an ArtWalk stop for nineteen of those twenty years. “Everyone kept jumping on board, and it finally really started catching on about ten years ago. Now we have people all the way from Santa Fe trying to get into our galleries. We’ve done a good job promoting each other, and if you don’t like my art, you might like the guy down the street.” Now there are more than fifty venues participating in what’s become a vibrant arts town.
The twentieth annual Salida ArtWalk gets under way today and continues through Sunday with a vast schedule of artist receptions, live music, theater events, kids’ activities and, on Saturday at the SteamPlant, a Miniature Masterpieces benefit art auction.
If you’re planning to stay overnight, reservations are a must, but as Brady notes, “It’s not so far away. It’s a nice time to come up and get away for a day. It’s like a mini-vacation.” For more information, visit www.salidaartwalk.com.
June 22-23, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., June 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 2012