by Greta Hanson Maurer and Laura Amman
The ‘Beulah Valley Art Exhibit’ made its debut in July 1955, led by artist and Beulah Resident, Bill Sharp. He imagined a gathering that acquainted the public with Southern Colorado Artists, originally with no prize awards. The first gathering brought 29 artists to the valley, where they received a warm welcome from the local businesses, who also featured art and artists. Sharp is quoted in the Pueblo Chieftain on the opening day of the event, “[the] purpose of the exhibition is to stimulate interest in art, and provide a natural site for what might become a popular cultural center.” Certainly, 63 years of a successful, ongoing event qualifies as ‘popular’.
Initially, artwork was hung outside on the fence beneath the towering shade trees in front of the well known Gay Way dance hall, secured by a nail. Grand Avenue was transformed with the wide array of art mediums and styles. Oils, the newly invented acrylic, pastels, pen and ink came together to create a colorful collage, and vibrant representation of a thoughtful and creative community. Eventually the show incorporated a wider variety of artwork and crafts, representing pottery, sculpture, woodwork, stained glass, jewelery, dried flowers, fibert arts, quilting, and so much more.
Event popularity ultimately necessitated the move from the original downtown location. Other venues included the Pueblo Mountain Park, the Catholic Church grounds, and now the Beulah School campus.
This year, Lorrie Scott, president of the Beulah Valley Arts Council and her exceptional team of volunteers, has added the ‘Beulah Cool Mountain Run’, a classic car show. The committee will host over 50 vendors, a beer garden, multiple food trucks, and a full line up of musicians, including a free street dance on Saturday and free concert on Sunday.
Many connected to the area plan family reunions and annual gatherings, specific to the fun-filled two-day event. Now held at the Beulah School Natural Sciences, the show covers a large area including an art show in the school auditorium; artisans,vendors and food trucks lining the roads that lead to the school; and the car show and public parking on the interior of the school’s track.
The reason for the longevity? Dedicated volunteers, creative artisans, talented performers, great food who all come together in the spirit of creating something special, and perpetuating a proud Beulah tradition.
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