Artists delight showing creations at annual Golden Fine Arts Festival


Two days, three city blocks and thousands of art pieces to admire and potentially buy: it’s an arts festival so beloved that attendees were streaming in before it’d officially opened.

A hundred artists from across the nation showcased their wares Aug. 20-21 at the 32nd annual Golden Fine Arts Festival along 11th Street downtown. The Golden Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the annual event, reported about half of this year’s artists were Coloradans, and roughly 60% were returning to the festival.

While their media and techniques differ, every artist has something special woven into the fibers of their hearts, sketched in their minds, and shaped in their souls. Each artist has a story only their creations can fully convey:

Booth No. 1

Acrylic painter Jesse Crock started sketching in high school, but it wasn’t until college that he discovered a love of painting.

At one of his first big shows, Crock had a variety of outdoor-themed paintings available, but his mountain landscapes were the best-sellers. So, he decided to pursue that, saying, “I found a niche I love.”

Crock, who lives in Golden, said his favorite subjects to paint are the landscapes around his hometown. He also has a soft spot for Dream Lake and nearby Hallett Peak.

As a local artist, he’s attended the Golden Fine Arts Festival 11 times now, describing how he welcomes the opportunity to connect with people.

“It’s always a blessing for me to come back,” he said of the festival. “ … It’s my home.”

Booth No. 7

Fiber artist Diane Harty, who lives in Frisco, returned for her third outing at the festival this year.

Harty participates in 12-15 shows across the country annually. Thus, she appreciated Golden’s festival because it’s close to home, it’s well-run, and the attendees are enthusiastic about art.

“It’s a sweet little show,” she continued.

Harty has been making hats full-time for 25-plus years. She started by cutting up items from thrift stores and seeing what she could do with them. After she bought an antique sewing machine, her future artistry started taking shape.

As a self-taught artist, Harty described how she usually shapes hats as she builds them. So, each hat is one-of-a-kind.

Overall, she mused on how fiber can be a true art form. She creates each hat to be unique and eye-catching, but also to be comfortable and practical for everyday wear.

Booth No. 113

Fort Collins’ Dominique Montaño participated in her first Golden Fine Arts Festival after hearing about it from fellow artists.

Even in the first few hours of the festival, she felt it was a great location. Plus, she added, free art shows like Golden’s seem to draw larger crowds.

Montaño is a mixed-media artist. She works with watercolors, charcoals, pastels, oils, inks and “anything I can get my hands on,” she described.

Her subjects are primarily animals, as she has two degrees in zoology.

“Everyone likes animals,” she said. “(These mixed media pieces) are adding a different twist on wildlife artwork.”

Montaño said her art career took off while she was in graduate school. She started with inks and charcoals mostly, then expanded to watercolors. She likes experimenting and learning how different media work together to create a striking image.

Booth No. 118-119

After hearing about the show online, Andrew Libecki drove his blown-glass pieces from Chico, California to his first Golden Fine Arts Fest.

Libecki explained how he’s been an artist across various media since he was a child. He practically grew up in his grandpa’s carpentry studio and was introduced to glassblowing through nearby artists.

After years of perfecting his techniques, Libecki said designs come to him “in the witching hour of the night” and in his dreams. He takes his sketchbook with him to bed, to capture any inspiration he receives.

In physically crafting his glassworks, Libecki said he has “one chance in shaping it to get it right.” One piece could take weeks to make, he described, so he’s very cautious and deliberate when shaping each work.

While the creative process involves his mind, arms, pencil and sketchbook, he said: “It starts in my heart.”

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