Artists breathe life into Beaver Creek

Pete Fowler
Daily file photo/Preston UtleyNine-time Tony award winner Tommy Tune stands behind a painting by artist Peter Glebo during last summer's Beaver Creek Arts Festival.

BEAVER CREEK-The 18th annual Beaver Creek Arts Festival returns to present a dizzying array of quality fine art.Jewelry artist Adam Neely of Manitou Springs is only 21 years old, but he has won five best in show awards in Colorado, including his first at age 15 in Telluride. Neely’s jewelry is not to be thought of as ordinary, he said. “My jewelry is a small piece of fine art that people wear. Many of my forms are organic and sensual to compliment a woman’s body,” Neely said. His creative method involves working around the gemstones to compliment them with metal, often drawing inspiration from natural forms which he abstracts to create an elusive appeal.

Neely got into making jewelry as a young boy during rock and gemstone hunting adventures, and he has honed his skills creating jewelry and working with gems around the globe – most recently in Italy. Marc Duke stands under the spotlight as one of the festival’s premier photographers. His work also gravitates toward natural images, and the main theme in his exhibition will be detailed, carefully composed images of flowers. The prints are enlarged up to three by four feet in size. With a project like this, Duke presents subtleties of images that are often seen, but rarely fully perceived – seeking to stir an emotional response within the viewer. His images urge us to look beyond the surface and share a moment of enjoying and reflecting upon our perceptions with him. Duke has won numerous awards for his work including best in show at the Armory Art Center of Palm Beach: Biennial Photography Exhibition and Competition in 2002, along with at least eight other awards of merit and excellence at other national art festivals. He looks forward to coming to Beaver Creek again after attending the festival last year.”I thought it was fabulous. It’s an extremely beautiful venue – the artwork just seems to resonate there,” he said about his experience last year.

More than one color on the paletteThese intriguing artists represent only a slice of the festival’s culture, which over 150 other participants contribute to. Visitors will find paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry, ceramics, woodworkings and fused glass, among other mediums. The artists will be on hand to present their work and answer questions about concepts, techniques, inspirations and other curiosities. Everything at the exhibition will be for sale.Besides the artwork, there will be live music, cooking demonstrations and food samplimg. Diversions for children are readily available with miniature golf, rock climbing, storytelling and more. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Call 845-9090 or visit for more information.

Pete Fowler is a freelance writer and can be reached at, Colorado

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