Arts center opens in Edwards |

Arts center opens in Edwards

HL Alpine Arts 1 DT 3-7-10

EDWARDS, Colorado – Ever since she was in high school, Lauren Merrill has dreamed of opening an arts center.

As a seven-year resident of the val-ley, she has seen arts centers come and go but none really established itself as a place for artists to work, learn and collaborate.

She hopes her new Edwards facility, the Alpine Arts Center, will be such a place.

“I think that every community should have a place where people can come and explore art and take classes and just meet other artists – some kind of gathering place for that,” Mer-rill said.

The Alpine Arts Center opens Tues-day and will offer classes in painting, ceramics, drawing, sculpture, photog-raphy, crafts and digital arts. There are classes for kids of all ages and classes for adults, as well as ” Mommy and me” classes.

Initial offerings among adult classes include, for instance, Urban Contem-porary Painting, which meets on Wednesday mornings; Digital Photog-raphy From the Ground Up, which meets on Thursday evenings; and Creating Cartoons, Characters and Creatures, which meets on Sunday mornings.

Classes will be free for this week only.

The center is open Tuesday through Sunday each week. Adult classes run for four weeks, and kids’ classes will run through the end of the school year. Teachers at the center come from local schools or are professional local artists.

The center will also offer special one-and two-day classes on various topics.

“That’s a chance to try out a differ-ent area than you’re used to or see if you like something or just work with a particular artist who’s here doing a special workshop,” Merrill said. ” People coming from Denver or national artists would come in and do a weekend workshop on ceramics or painting.”

The newly renovated space in Edwards features a large main room for classes and also includes a small arts-supply store and a gallery. The first show at the gallery will feature local teachers, and the featured artists will change from month to month.

A second, smaller downstairs room features a kiln and potting wheels. Upstairs is a room for small children’s classes and Mommy and Me classes.

Merrill hopes to cater to locals, tourists, local nonprofits and even businesses that want to do team-building with their employees.

A former art teacher at Vail Moun-tain School, Merrill said she hopes to strengthen the arts culture in the valley. “It’s important for people to be able to bounce ideas off each other, and in order to be creative, it’s really impor-tant for you to be inspired by other people and artwork around you and seeing different technique is that you don’t know about,” she said. “Whether you’re an artist who has been doing it for 30 years and is very experienced and has a lot you can share or just get-ting started in something, I think it really helps to have inspiration and learn new things you can apply to your own artwork.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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