Wednesday, May 15, 2013

FoCo, NoCo vs. Chy-town, SeWy -- which one is the winner?

Old Town in Fort Collins boasts a new arts space. Here's the lowdown on The Artery from CSU's Rocky Mountain Collegian:
This past Friday the missing piece to the art scene here in NoCo moved into Old Town. A set of 17 art studios that were designed to stimulate the creativity of artists across a wide range will celebrate and showcase art in Fort Collins in a whole new way.

The Artery, which you will find in a historic building on the corner of Linden and College, has been beautifully renovated into a unique art gallery, art studios and events venue. It will rent studios to visual artists and creative businesses, host concerts and gallery walks, teach classes and workshops on all sorts of mediums and much more.

There's an added bonus for this new space.
Fort Collins Brewing Company has also joined the fun by renting a studio for their very own ‘art brewer.’ FCB will be holding a contest that selects two artists of their choosing to share a rented studio at The Artery to create pieces for both themselves and the brewery.
This aging writer is jealous of these young artists populating one of the best downtowns in one of the best communities in the country. I'm a CSU grad so I do bring a bias to the discussion. Fort Collins has been building its creative infrastructure for decades. CSU renovated the old high school (Go FC Lambkins!) into a state-of-the-art arts center. Old Town is thriving with shops and bistros and one of the finest brewpubs in Coopersmiths. The Beet Street arts org has moved in to the old FoCo Carnegie Library and is rehabbing it for its Arts Incubator of the Rockies (AIR). And speaking of craft breweries -- FoCo is the hotspot of Colorado and possibly the nation. I don't quaff the craft brews like I used to, but right now have an Odell 90 Shilling in my hand. I love summer.

As you may recall, I'm a resident of Cheyenne which is 45 short minutes from Fort Collins. We are in different states and different worlds. Our downtown has been struggling for years. We have a fantastic Historic Depot and its plaza that features bands and beer all summer long. We have the Historic Atlas Theatre and Freedom's Edge Brewery and the new Dinneen Building and the Hynds Building Project and the Paramount Cafe and Ruby Juice and several galleries and a great music store in Ernie November. But what I count on two hands, Fort Collins counts on many hands.

It's possible that Cheyenne and Southeast Wyoming just lack interesting acronyms. Cheyenne may be too short of a title for abbreviation. Chey? Cheyne? Do an acrostic with these letters and you get Cheney (God forbid). I have heard people label my place Chy-town, which isn't bad. Our region could easily be SeWy. Chy-town in SeWy! I'll have to test it out on a focus group of hipsters, if I can find any.

Cheyenne has come a long way in the 22 years that my family has called it home. This morning I was talking to Bill Lindstrom, director of Arts Cheyenne, the local arts council. It wasn't too long ago that the capital city had no arts council. That's real progress. And there's more to do all of the time.

Still, we're a long way from establishing a place like The Artery. The grand opening will be on Friday, June 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. I'll be at the Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference in Laramie, but please feel free to tool on down the road to FoCo. The opening will include an exhibition of art along with the artists behind it, food, beer by Fort Collins Brewery and music. It's free!

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