Vail Daily letter: Red Cliff government bullies artists
Vail, CO, Colorado
For those of you who were so kind as to travel to Red Cliff for our 14th annual Studio Tour, you soon discovered that one studio, showing two artists, was not open. Please accept our apologies for this.
The shutdown came late Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours before our event and after the artists had made minor repairs directed by the town’s building official the day before. All are appalled at this meanspirited and vindictive action. Not only was it vindictive against the property owner, it was also the same against the Red Cliff Studio Tour.
For years the town of Red Cliff government has wanted to take over our successful event, wanting something larger, more of an arts festival. We wish to maintain the intimate, unique experience that a studio tour offers, giving the public an opportunity to interact with the artists. This 11th hour action was an attempt to destroy future Studio Tours.
The Studio Tour is important to the town. Not only does it bring in sales tax, it also promotes the town. We have changed what used to be a negative label of Red Cliff to a positive one, that of an artist’s community, which Realtors now promote.
The closed studio is in the artists’ personal residence, which they have been improving for many years, creating an affordable and energy-efficient home. They have been doing the work under a long-standing building permit on an addition to an earlier residence rebuilt in the 1980s. The work has been ongoing, mostly on weekends, when the couple had time and money. The decadelong home improvement project remained uncontested by the town of Red Cliff until just before this year’s event, incited by an angry neighbor intent on some sort of retribution.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Since 2004 the artists’ private home studio has been opened to the public only for the two days of the studio tour. The owner has held a business license from the town since it began issuing business licenses many years ago. Now the town is threatening to revoke that business license.
The town not only closed the artists’ home to the studio tour, but also evicted them for living in their home. These artists are seniors, like many Red Cliff people.
There are many unsafe and what some consider unsightly buildings in Red Cliff. This is not one of them.
Many others in the community have been doing their home improvement projects in the same way, but the town says nothing.
Property owners in Red Cliff are fed up with the inconsistent treatment by the town. The Town Board should be ashamed for this meanspirited and vindictive act.