CREEDE—The weekend kicked off Friday, Feb. 17 in Creede with the “Be the Art” show where hundreds of portraits lined the walls of the Underground Community Center.
The program began last year, when local artist Katrina Zarate started collecting pictures from local residents in order to create a one-of-a-kind portrait of each. Katrina took a little over a year to complete hundreds of portraits of local residents and placed them on display for all to see on Friday.
She is the daughter of Manuel Zarate, HBMG Foundation executive director and sponsor of the National Winter Playwrights Retreat that benefits from the art show.
Ann Zarate, HBMG Foundation creativity specialist, said the process which they came up with the show was something special. “Katrina called us one day and said that she was tired of painting people up in Portland where she lives and wanted us to send her pictures of people in Colorado. Between two conversations with her we started the project and it turned out so wonderful.”
There were 172 portraits created off of iPhone pictures of people from the Creede area which captured the characteristics of the residents and the town.
“Of the 172 portraits we created, we sold nearly everyone. People paid what they could; $20 for one and up to $500 for others. It was such a wonderful experience that helped a program that was created to boost the economy in Creede during the winter months. We kept having people ask how they could give back and this was a way for them to do that,” said Ann.
The show was a huge success and people that had a portrait displayed came for a night of fun and celebration. “Almost all of the portraits were purchased by residents and other attendees. We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” said Ann. Not only did the show bring local residents in to see their faces in portrait form, it brought state-wide attention from 9News and the Denver NBC affiliate, who shared the story with other stations in hopes that they would pick it up as well. According to Zarate the two news stations showed up on Thursday to do a story about the show and to interview the HMBG founders as well as Katrina herself.
Between the show and HMBG’s winter writers retreat, the winter months that used to be void of activity are now bustling with all types of people coming to town. Ann was quoted stated, “It’s beginning to change the winter commerce and make a difference in the lives of people who really struggle in the wintertime, when there is no tourism and there aren’t a lot of jobs.”
The rest of the weekend played out just as anyone could have hoped. Though some of the more popular events during Cabin Fever Daze were canceled due to mild winter weather, the town was hopping with guests who ventured out to enjoy some wintertime art shows and presentation by the Creede Repertory Theatre as well as the ever-popular Boomtown productions held Friday and Saturday nights.
Just as the weekend came to a close, a snowstorm traveling east along the San Juan Mountains dropped nearly a foot of much needed moisture and ended the weekend on the happiest note of all.