McCoy: An affair with art |

McCoy: An affair with art

Hawkquest returns this weekend to provide birds of prey demonstrations at the Alpine Art Affair, this year at Hideaway Park in Winter Park.
Cynthia McCoy / This Side of Berthoud |

43rd Alpine Art Affair

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, July 23

9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, July 24

Hideaway Park, Winter Park

For many locals in Grand County, art is a love affair. They brush against their canvases, develop relationships with their camera(s), and adore their subjects.

They cannot resist the urge to create, and through fairs many share that which impassions them. One of the best times to see several of them is at the annual Alpine Art Affair in Winter Park, which returns for its 43rd year this weekend.

Cathy Rapp and Anne Astrella Buel, new full-time residents, had been coming to the event, up from Larkspur, for years. Photography and mixed media artists respectively, the area’s majestic scenery drew them in, as did the “great possibility” at arts festivals in the area.

This will be the seventh year at the Alpine Art Affair for Rapp, of Red Fleece Studios. Since age eight she “found every excuse I could find to come up” to her maternal grandparent’s 100-year-old cabin in Tabernash. Her first camera was an Instamatic, and in her early years she mowed yards for the money to develop the film.

Then “life happens in between,” she said, and after 15 years in the special education field and 10 as an assistant principal for a middle school, she was able to retire and rejuvenate her photography skills. “School was out, literally,” she said, and not one to stand idle, she “knew I had to do something.” After only 10 days retired, she borrowed the camera she was using to capture Buel’s work until she could buy her own, and started a new career.

The outdoors had always had a special draw for Rapp, and her first image was of “Old Friends” — skis that had collected in her garage. “I don’t think my feet touched the ground,” Rapp said of her first official art show, whose proceeds did, in fact, buy her a camera and lenses.

Buel, who paints, creates collage, and works with textiles and fabrics, has been participating in the Alpine Art Affair off and on since 2003 (this year she’ll be assisting Rapp).

Buel grew up in the San Francisco Bay area with artistic parents (her father is famous watercolorist Hubert Buel) and went on to practice the healing of art through therapeutic recreation and occupational therapy. She’s also had public art installations in Castle Rock, and was the primary fundraiser for the Memories in the Making program. She loves being surrounded by the elements of nature.

Since Rapp’s old family cabin in Tabernash wasn’t winterized, Rapp and Buel had to find more modern accommodations in the Fraser Valley during the art and craft fair season. Buel had always had a dream of buying a condo, and in the meantime she and Rapp continue to restore the cabin, as they have for the last six years. In her “free” time, Buel also helps run Naked Aspen in Fraser, where owner Rob Peeters displays her new venture, Fraser Hat Company.

The two moved to the Fraser Valley permanently in January. “It was pretty spontaneous in a way,” Buel said. “It was kind of one of those ‘meant to be’ things,” Rapp added. They fell in love with the place, and it is easily seen, felt and reflected their works. Each is unique in their endeavors, and together they are award-winning collaborative artists.

This year the Alpine Art Affair is also excited to celebrate a new location. In years past, it had been tucked in the quaint park next to Kings Crossing while the jazz festivals were at Hideaway Park the same weekend. With this year’s jazz festival the weekend before, the Alpine Art Affair board is thrilled to be the main event, at Hideaway Park, which is a lot more open. “We’re very excited about these changes,” said Cheryl Day, board president and event coordinator, “and hope it will be an enjoyable experience for anyone visiting the art affair this year.”

The juried show features more than 70 artists in the fields of fine art, jewelry, photography, metal work, mixed media, pottery, painting, glass, wood, fiber and fine crafts. It draws artists from around the nation; this year some are coming from as far away as California, Florida, Texas, New Jersey and Virginia.

As has been for many years down by Kings Crossing, children’s activities are planned through the Indian Peaks Charter School, the Fraser Valley Lions Club will be flipping flapjacks both mornings (7:30 a.m.), Grand County Advocates and the Grand County Historical Association will be there, and HawkQuest will be doing birds of prey demonstrations.

Other local artists to be at the Alpine Art Affair include Elizabeth Kurtak, Karen Vance, Patty Alander, Ivy Howard, Pat McCaffrey, Gary Piper, Cooper Creek Square jeweler Rachel Rayburn, and Laura Veenstra (who provided this year’s work for the annual commemorative poster). Proceeds from the $20 autographed work, which this year highlights Byers Peak, benefit students / artists from the Grand County school system, as do the booth and application funds.

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