Take in the arts at the Downtown Art Festival

There will be plenty of canvases and paint, but the 2019 Downtown Art Festival is going well beyond the easel.

From Friday through Sunday, Oct. 4–6, downtown Grand Junction will be devoted to the arts: fine art, film, dance, writing, theater and music.

"The community has really rallied around it and I'm just so excited about it," said Caitlyn Love, communications specialist for Downtown Grand Junction.

To help you navigate all this festival will offer, we've broken it down by art.

For a festival schedule, go to downtowngj.org.


There will be quite a number of local artists to meet during this festival, which will begin with First Friday receptions and exhibition openings at downtown galleries and businesses Friday evening.

Among those events is a blacklight paint party, the creation of an Edgar Allan Poe-inspired group painting and the Monuments and Canyons Plein Air Invitational exhibition.

For information about First Friday events, see the Out & About entertainment calendar on pages 10–11.

The installation of the 16 sculptures in the new temporary Art on the Corner exhibition will lead off the festival's Saturday activities. Those installations will begin about 8 a.m. Saturday, Love said.

There also will be one permanent sculpture added to Art on the Corner: a piece by Dave Davis, who founded the program and died in 2018.

That piece will be on the northeast corner of Fifth and Main streets and is more than 10 feet tall. "In a very Dave Davis fashion, it has reused and repurposed metals," Love said. "That's a true highlight this year, honoring Dave."

Those who want to vote for the exhibition's People's Choice Award can pick up a ballot at the Downtown Grand Junction booth in festival's Artist Expo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on Main Street.

For the Art Expo, nearly 70 booths featuring artists and arts organizations will fill Main Street with demonstrations, interactive workshops and performances.

Keep an eye out for Vincent Van Gogh, who recently escaped his painting and will be wandering around downtown, Love said.

If you spot him, take his photo and tag Downtown Grand Junction with the photo on Instagram or Facebook to be entered into a drawing for a $25 downtown gift card, she said.

Another part of the expo you won't want to miss is the Community Crosswalk Painting from 10 a.m. to noon at Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue.

Working with Grand Junction engineers, The Palatte came up with a geometric and colorful design for the crosswalk that shouldn't distract drivers, Love said.

It's basically paint by number with supplies provided. Community members can find a link to sign up to paint part of the crosswalk at Downtown Grand Junction's Facebook page.

And if you voted for the Art on the Corner's People's Choice Award and want to know the results, attend the awards ceremony at 2:30 p.m. at the plaza at Fourth and Main streets.


While there will be plenty of shows to see at downtown bars and venues — see Music Scene on page 6 for information — there also will be music performed at the plaza at Fourth and Main streets during the festival.

From 6–8 p.m. Friday, Rose Finn Music from the Front Range will play

And beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday you can hear the jazz trio Nick C & The Mind of 3.


Various theater performances will be going on along Main Street during Saturday's Artist Expo, but there is one place where you will be certain to find musical theater.

The Theatre Project can be found from 12:30–1 p.m. Saturday at the plaza at Fourth and Main streets.

Its members will perform three numbers from "Jekyll & Hyde" — the musical will presented Oct. 18–20 and Oct. 24–26 at The Art Center, tickets cost $15 at 970Tix.com.

Then the theater group's younger members will perform four numbers from various Disney Jr. productions, including "Madagascar" and "Aladdin."


See Ariel, Prince Eric and that less-than-nice sea witch in Absolute Dance's original ballet "The Little Mermaid."

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to performance time.

The ballet has a cast of more than 40 local dancers and was choreographed by Theresa Kahl, Absolute Dance owner and instructor; Kety Vandervelde, an Absolute Dance instructor; and Tanner Blee, a dancer with State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, California.

The music was drawn from many different sources, from classical to movie soundtracks such as "Finding Nemo."

"It will be interesting to see if anyone recognizes the different music," Kahl said. "I think that's kind of a fun twist."

Working with Todd E. Braley of Infinity Media Productions, special effects will give the stage an ocean look and create the storm that wrecks Prince Eric's ship.

Kahl also worked with a professional costume designer to come up with costumes that give the idea of a mermaid's tail, but still allow for leg movement.

The makeup will be dramatic and "it definitely gives that Cirque du Soleil appeal to it," Kahl said.

Tickets to "The Little Mermaid" cost $25 for adults, $15 for those age 17 and younger, and can be purchased at the Avalon Theatre box office and at ticketmaster.com.

Meet the mermaid: Cassie Johnson is the ballerina who will dance the role of Ariel. Read about her on page 5.


Stop by the two downtown bookstores to meet two Colorado authors during the Downtown Art Festival.

Craig Childs will talk about his latest book, "Virga & Bone: Essays from Dry Places," as well as his recent travels during an event from noon to 2 p.m. Friday at Grand Valley Books, 350 Main St.

Childs also is the author of "Atlas of a Lost World" and "The Secret Knowledge of Water."

Marla Meredith, author of "High Alpine Cuisine," will be featured at 6 p.m. Friday at Out West Books, 533 Main St.

Meredith will discuss the challenges of high altitude cooking, which inspired her to write her cookbook. Meredith is a food and lifestyle writer at marlameridith.com.


The Grand Junction Film Festival will wrap up the Downtown Art Festival with an array of Colorado filmmaking talent at Avalon Theatre on Sunday.

And get this: A ticket only costs $7.99.

There will be 18 films shown, ranging from 2 minutes to 67 minutes in length.

The filmmakers include eight Colorado Mesa University students, 16 Western Slope filmmakers and two from the Front Range, according to Alex Forsett with Rocky Mountain PBS, one of the event's sponsors.

The film festival will be presented in four blocks, beginning with feature films at 1 p.m., so those who attend can easily come and go by block during the afternoon.

Keynote speaker Neil Mandt, film and TV producer and a partner at Mandt Brothers Productions in Los Angeles, can be heard at 3:15 p.m.

An awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. and red carpet at 7 p.m. will close out the event.

For block times and film titles, see page 11.

Tickets can be purchased at the Avalon Theatre box office (no fees!) or ticketmaster.com.

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