The Best Is Yet to Come

How does an event as esteemed as the Cherry Creek Arts Festival manage to stay fresh and continue to grow year after year? Through common sense and teamwork, says spokeswoman Stephanie Blake. "The festival has become a cultural institution in Denver, and people have come to expect it to continue with its traditions. But they also expect the festival to innovate every year. We can do both because we have great support from the community. We have amazing sponsors, and those relationships allow us to provide free art access and education to the public."

Throw in hundreds of volunteers, the work of more than 250 artists from Colorado and across the nation (73 of them new to the fest this year), and a gourmet Culinary Avenue, and it all adds up to an event with staying power.

Innovations in 2013 begin with the Five Years Out Arrow Art Challenge, sponsored by Arrow Electronics. A whole tent, the Arrow Innovator's Club, will be given up to the work and spirit of eight finalists whose challenge was to create works that express their own visions of what art will look like in five years. See how the runners-up and head trend-diviner Stefan Begej, who took first prize and the $10,000 grant that goes with it, interpreted the future in the tent at Second Avenue and Detroit Street; performance speed painter Tim Decker will also be painting quickie portraits of other trendsetters three times daily throughout the fest. Also new is the Sunday-morning Athleta Esprit de She 5- and 10K race for women (8 a.m., espritdeshe.com) and hands-on culinary demos aimed expressly at kids.

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival takes place between Columbine and Steele streets and Second and Third avenues in Cherry Creek North; admission is free. The fest opens daily at 10 a.m. and goes until 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow and 6 p.m. Sunday. The party continues from 6 to 10 p.m. tonight and tomorrow with Music at the Beer Garden on St. Paul Street. For more information, go to cherryarts.org or call 303-355-2787.
July 5-6, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., July 7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 2013

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd