The seasons will soon shift and the start of school refocuses our minds on routines. It’s a special time of year where traditions are important. This year’s annual Evergreen Fine Arts Festival offers the community a blend of the expected and the unexpected, the perfect end-of-summer celebration.
Held at Buchanan Fields on Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27, from 10 am to 5 pm, the 57th Evergreen Fine Arts Festival promises a serene experience of culture in all categories, from art to music to food. “We want this to be a relaxing event. Take your time, walk around. There is so much artwork to experience,” says Julie Sims, local jewelry designer and co-director of the festival.
The board of the Fine Arts Festival cast this vision for the 2023 event, and board member Stephanie Roberts came alongside Sims as co-director to bring it to life. “I have the most incredible board. Without them, this event would not be possible. Their hard work and dedication to the event is admirable,” says Sims, thanking board members Stephanie Roberts, Jan Hammond, Laura Svigel, Suzette Pell, Judi Mitchell and Ashleigh Perri.
Sims adds, “When you leave the festival, we hope you’ll feel inspired by beautiful artwork, talented artists and musicians, and of course the gorgeous backdrop of Bergen Peak.”
The major draw for the Fine Arts Festival has always been an eclectic collection of artists and makers from around the United States, displaying and selling their work for purchase. With the artists onsite in their individual booths, it is a pleasurable and personal way for art lovers, from beginners to aficionados, to enjoy the art, ask questions and fall in love with something they just can’t live without.
“We have even more new artists sharing their artwork this year,” Sims says, “and many of them are Colorado artists. We love that this event is open to artists nationally, and that they enjoy coming back year-after-year.” This year’s event features several Evergreen and mountain-area artists, including watercolors by Julie Leidel, jewelry by Matt and Lauren Tuggle of Tuggle Designs, kaleidoscopes by Henry Bergeson, and glasswork by Patti Gill.
Locally known for his music and for cohosting Open Mic nights, Andy Potter is returning this year as the music coordinator for the festival. “We received so much positive feedback about the music last year that we just had to have Andy back to create the perfect list to add to the liveliness of the festival,” Sims says. In 2022, Sims was responsible for launching this new musical element at the festival. “Andy curated a great line-up last year for both the artists and the festival visitors. It makes for a peaceful, relaxing experience for everyone browsing the art.” Potter has curated musical line-ups for Saturday and Sunday, starting with his own acoustic set, followed by A Dam Duo, Mark Swaim, El Javi, El Cholomon, Foothill Flyers, Concrete Feedback, and Family Recipe, to name a few.
No festival is complete without a food scene, and this year’s food vendors are showing up to delight. There are returning favorites like Rocky Mountain Wraps, Keyes Concessions, Tilford’s Pizza, Slife’s Devil Dogs and Shaved Ice, plus some new participants like Lazo Empanadas and Alchemy A La Mode Ice Cream. Coyote Gold is also back to serve up their delicious margaritas. “We try to partner locally as much as possible to keep a hometown, familiar feeling,” and Sims adds that they want the event to feel supportive and community-oriented.
The host of the festival is the Evergreen Artists Association (EAA). A huge piece of the festival includes honoring organizations and individuals with scholarships, and allowing community organizations to fundraise through donations. For example, if attendees choose to park in the pay parking area, parking fees are earmarked for local nonprofit groups. Saturday’s donations will help out Conifer High School softball with team costs, and Sunday’s will be gifted to Mountain Backpacks to ensure kids in Clear Creek and Jefferson counties have the supplies and food they need for a great school year. Free shuttles will also be running from both Evergreen Middle School and Bergen Meadow Elementary.
Additionally, the Evergreen Artists Association honors local students on their way to artistic careers with a scholarship of $1,750. This year’s scholarship winner is Grace Gill, who recently graduated from Conifer High School and will begin studies in art education at the University of Northern Colorado this fall. The EAA will also give a grant to one mountain area school art department to supplement their budget this fall. Also, mountain area artists can apply for a grant to support their artistic careers.
Like last year, this event is intended to be family friendly and accessible to everyone. There will be a Kid Zone again, with face painting and other special activities, organized by Conifer High School’s National Art Honor Society. Laura Svigel, teacher at Conifer High School, heads the National Art Honor Society at the school. “It’s such a great experience for them—planning, organizing, learning how this sort of event works,” Sims says.
All of the art vendors will receive a complimentary t-shirt designed by Emma Hoelsken, a local high school artist. This year’s design was selected from contest entries, and is printed on the event shirts available for purchase at the festival. “This is a great portfolio piece for those students who aim to further their education in the arts after high school. We try to create as many opportunities as we can for local artists to participate in the festival in some way,” says Sims.
Whatever flavor of culture you’re looking for, there is plenty to be found at the 57th Annual Evergreen Fine Arts Festival. For more information, including parking maps, vendor lists and event schedules, visit evergreenfineartsfestival.com, where you can also learn more about contest and scholarship opportunities, and how you can support a thriving arts community in the mountain area.