Mancos artists and art lovers of all ages gathered on Grand Avenue Saturday night for a celebration of creativity and community.
Once a month, the art galleries on Grand Avenue that make up the Mancos Creative District open for a few hours later in the evening for a Grand Summer Nights event, often with refreshments and music. But the Creative District’s board of directors decided to do something a little bigger for the August Grand Summer Night. With permission from the town council, the district closed about two blocks of Grand Avenue to traffic and brought in food vendors, family activities and a concert.
The festivities started about 5 p.m., the usual closing time for most Mancos galleries. Artists served wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres to visitors who stopped by the Goodnight Trail gallery, Olio, Kilgore American Indian Art, the Artisans of Mancos co-op and other galleries. In the street, the Green Table Cafe food truck served dinner to a crowd of patrons while people of all ages practiced their roping skills and played games of bean bag toss. Members of the Creative District hung a long canvas over a mural on the south side of the street, where children could create their own paintings. As dusk approached, local folk band Carute Roma played music on a temporary stage, while inviting visitors to dance.
Herb Folsom, a member of the board of directors, said he hopes the Creative District can host more summer events like this in the future.
“It’s just a fun evening,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have more of them, but we’ll see.”
For some organizers, the event was about more than having fun. Members of the Mancos United Methodist Church ran a booth selling T-shirts and greeting cards to pay the bills for Rosa Sabido, the Cortez resident who is taking sanctuary at the church to avoid deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Each shirt bore the slogan “Rosa Belongs Here.”
At the Artisans of Mancos gallery on the corner of Grand Avenue and Main Street, some of the co-op’s 18 members held an all-day sale on wool accessories made by local craftswoman Nancy Hains, who is battling cancer. Patty Russell, another member of the Artisans, said all the proceeds from the sale would go to pay for Hains’ medical expenses. She said the co-op had raised about $2,500 by the time the Grand Summer Night event started.
“It was really great that the community came together to support one of our members in need,” Russell said. “We really appreciate it, because all of that will go to help Nancy.”
Rena Wilson, the Creative District’s board president, said she was pleased with the turnout on Saturday.
“We’re trying to make a creative environment for everybody,” she said.
The Creative District is a partnership between more than a dozen local artists, most of whom have galleries on Grand Avenue, and agencies such as the Mancos Valley Arts Council, the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Mancos School District and the town government. It’s one of 18 statewide creative districts certified by the Colorado Creative Industries Council, according to the Council’s website.