The Thunderbird Artists swoop in for the weekend |

The Thunderbird Artists swoop in for the weekend

Cassie Pence
Special to the DailyThis basket made by Rhonda Brewer of Tucson, Ariz., was made out of used rope bought directly from "real cowboys."

AVON – Come summertime, artists are a lot like highly creative gypsies. They travel from town to town with festivals in hopes of swinging their goods.These festivals, which tend to fill up the summer calendar in resort towns, do more than gain national exposure for the artist’s work and sell a few pieces. Exhibiting at art fairs, as opposed to galleries, connects the artist with the collector face to face.”It puts the art on a personal level,” sculptor Craig Bergsgaard said. “It’s a lot more fulfilling to talk to the person who buys your piece.”

Bergsgaard said he likes that automatic relationship with people who are connected to his work. It’s why the Littleton-based sculptor spends his summer hauling Western bronzes across the West and Southwest. He, along with about 124 other artists, will exhibit at the 12th annual Avon Fine Art and Wine Affaire in Nottingham Park Friday through Sunday. “You hope you have a good crowd so you get to talk to people all day long,” Bergsgaard said. “It’s a good mixture of trying to sell, relax and have a good time.”For oil painter Guadalupe Apodaca, an art festival is all those things and it gets him out of the heat. Hailing from Scottsdale, Ariz., no place is much hotter during July and August. He spends his summer months touring mountain towns like Avon, Edwards, Aspen, Breckenridge and Jackson Hole, Wyo.

“You meet all your buyers, which is good. Most galleries don’t give you the names of the buyers, so you don’t know who’s buying your work,” said Apodaca, who paints in vivid colors in impressionistic style. His subject matter ranges from Native Americans to landscapes. “You become closer with your buyers this way, and sometimes they buy a second time.”The Avon Fine Art and Wine Affaire is organized by the town and Thunderbird Artists, a company based in Arizona that produces art festivals. For each show Judi Combs produces, the founder of Thunderbird Artists, she juries new artists, which she said, gives all of her festivals a different look and feel.”I’m looking at this show through the eyes of the patron,” Combs said. “My goal is that every patron who walks away will find something that they like. I offer high quality and a lot of variety.”

These artists are strictly fine-art gypsies. Thunderbird Artist festivals do not feature clothing, hobby or any bazaar type crafts. Combs has chosen oils, watercolors, acrylics and contemporary mixed media paintings. Abstracts, as well as sculptures made of stone, copper, clay and glass will be on display. Live music, wine tasting and festival food will accompany the artists’ booths. Festival attendees can buy an engraved keepsake wine glass and six sample wine tastings for $10. Schlossadler Wines will host the wine tasting portion of this event. Darren Curtis Skanson will be performing his light classical guitar melodies, and Music for Candles will be playing contemporary and traditional instrumental music. Festival hours are from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. daily. Admission and parking are free. For additional information, contact Thunderbird Artists at (480) 837-5637 or visit

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or, Colorado

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