In Avon, an effort to become more arts-centric goes on display |

In Avon, an effort to become more arts-centric goes on display

The Benches Project, a large-scale public art exhibit, goes from June 13 to July 20

By Lauren Glendenning Brought to you by the Town of Avon

The Town of Avon is becoming a hub for arts and culture in the valley thanks to a concerted effort to support special community-focused events.

The Benches of Avon project is the Town’s next large scale public art exhibit following last year’s successful Playhouse Project. Various nonprofit organizations have been creating benches, which will be on display along Avon’s Main Street Mall from June 13 to July 20, that represent what they do for the community.

“Creating and supporting these types of cultural and arts-related initiatives nurtures community vitality and creativity,” said Preston Neill, Avon’s Deputy Town Manager.

Trying to become a Colorado Creative District

Avon Mayor Pro Tem Amy Cramer Phillips said the Town began looking into what it takes to become a Colorado Creative District, a designation by the state for the most art-focused communities, several years ago.

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“Eagle County as a community has a lot of creative, artistic people, but there’s not a central arts hub,” Phillips said. “There’s an artistic community that’s not supported as well as they could be, and there’s an economic benefit to the Town.”

So far, these designated districts include 23 communities, including Carbondale, Salida, Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs and Telluride. The Town of Avon has set its own objective to become one, as well.

“The Town’s cultural enterprise can have an impact on Avon’s business community and help keep our community competitive against other resort communities,” Neill said.

Events like the Benches project are the perfect opportunity for residents and visitors to experience the Town, which has taken great strides over the last decade to create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown.

“Getting people out walking to view all of these benches — we think it’s a great way for people to experience the walkability of Avon,” Phillips said. “That’s been a really big for the Town, to become walkable so people didn’t feel like they had to get into their car and drive from Loaded Joe’s to Bob’s Place.”

New committee focused on arts and events

Avon’s vision is to provide a high quality of life, today and in the future, for a diverse population, and to promote their ability to live, work, visit and recreate in the community. The Town of Avon recently established a Cultural, Arts and Special Events Committee that is tasked with providing guidance and advice on culture, arts and special events programming in Avon. The committee will also provide advice regarding the Town’s Cultural Plan.

“The Cultural Plan will serve as a key step in leading special events, arts and creative growth in Avon,” Neill said. “With the Avon Playhouse Project being so successful last year and with the Benches of Avon Project well on its way to being a hit, the expectation is that Avon will look to host more events like these in the future.”

Avon Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes said the creation of this committee demonstrates the Town’s recognition of the value of arts and culture to the overall community, for both visitors and residents.

“Consideration of the facility needs of performance and visual arts is integral to the planning for Avon’s town-owned properties,” Smith Hymes said.

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