Common Community Through Art and Culture

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“In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever noticed how artists flock together and build common community?

People find kinship in their writing, painting, poetry, music, filmmaking, knitting,the performing arts and so forth. You know how it goes. Everyone in the group speaks the same language. 

The Colorado Creative Industries has worked to identify communities where art contributes greatly to the overall culture,  enhancing the lives of local citizens and tourists.  

Telluride has been designated as a one of five prospective Creative Districts in Colorado. Forty-four towns and cities were under consideration. The goal of the Colorado Creative Industries is to bolster the artistic community by providing consulting and technical assistance and an $8,000 grant to help grow the community as an economic driver through art. 

During the winter, outstanding skiing is the impetus behind visiting this “box canyon” with stunning and dramatic scenery, but in summer it is all about art festivals. Each weekend from May to September people flock to the area for two film festivals, music concerts and gatherings of playwrite/screenwriters. There is also a Cajun weekend, chamber music, yoga and bike races,  and more. 

There is even a Compassion Festival held in Telluride, which I was not aware of until I picked up some tourist literature. This event brings in academia from different parts of the country who lecture on the benefits that compassion brings to overall health, well-being and stress reduction. Cultural differences in compassion is also part of the discussion. It is held in collaboration between the Telluride Institute and Stanford University’s Center for Compassion & Altruism Research & Education (CCARE). Interesting! Please visit this link to read more about it.

Congratulations, Telluride! When I was in the area recently I was impressed with your charming Victorian homes, art galleries, retail spaces, historic hotels, the amazing scenery and the emcompassing flavor of the artistic community. It was fun visiting. I’ll be back!

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Truly Committed to the Indies

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“The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go.” ~ Bill Rancic 

Today, I’ll tell you about my ride to Telluride over the weekend. What gorgeous scenery and a charming town, also. 

 Did you know that Telluride is home to the American Academy of Bookbinding? Although the Academy was not one of the primary reasons I visited Telluride, I found out a lot about this village that made me understand why it was recently awarded a grant from the Creative Colorado Industries.

One of the reasons I visited was to take a look at  Between the Covers. It is a quaint, well-stocked bookstore, well arranged from floor to ceiling. As soon as I walked into the space,  I noticed the Indie Best selling books, front and center. Proudly displayed and identified as such. They were not hidden away, as in many bookstores, like the black sheep of the family. Instead of the NY Times list of best sellers that you usually see in bookstores across America, prominently displayed was the Indie List of top independently published, hard covers and paperbacks. IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) Award winning books were displayed with full cover out rather than with spine only. I was so glad to see it. This bookstore takes selling indie books seriously – it was so refreshing! 

I got a head start on my Christmas shopping for my favorite filmmaker in the family. Between the Covers Bookstore has a nice variety of books on cinema and movie production. I didn’t bypass the nice selection of books in the language arts section without noticing it was at the heart of the store, in the middle. 

Just as we were ready to leave the bookstore, I spied a sign that caught my eye. It read “We prefer being a community partner much more than a showroom.” 

“How apropos!” I thought. This bookstore obviously embraces and is proud of being a partner in the community of independent booksellers and publishers.” Take a peak into Between the Cover’s website. Follow this link   

Next week, I plan to return to this fulfilling small town of  Telluride in my blogging writing. I want to tell you more about the grant it received from the Creative Industries of Colorado. Follow this continuing blog series on Telluride, next week!  

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Collaboration Strengthens the Indies

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Individually, we are one drop. Together we are an ocean. ~ Ryunosuke Satoro 

Independent publishers in Steamboat and the surrounding Routt County have good reason to celebrate this month. Our meet-up group, SHe Writes Steamboat has grown to include 29 members. We are fulfilling networking opportunity for independent publishers and fostering independent publishing success. Some members are first time publishers, others have several titles under their belt and many are working on new books. The group has been in existence since June 2011. 

Last weekend we made a collaborative appearance at Holiday in the Rockies. This event was organized by the Steamboat Art Council.   SHe Writes Steamboat is also pleased to announce that our individual member’s publications are being considered by book clubs affiliated with the Bud Werner Library for reading in 2012. 

If you are an independent publisher, male or female, in Routt County or in the surrounding counties looking for a meet-up group of this type, we invite you to join us at our monthly meetings. We meet every third Tuesday of the month from 4pm to 5:30pm. For more information on the group and where we meet, go to the SHe Writes Steamboat Facebook page and send us a message you would like to be included in this group. Here is the link You can also contact me, Sue Leonard of Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC, through

We look forward to learning more about you as an author, independent publisher and as a contributing member of this collaborative group!

Historic Setting Filled with Jewels

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 “Art is something that has real value. It deepens each person’s respect for life.”         ~Dana Levin 

On the corner of 9th Street andLincoln Avenue, sits an historic building that has always been filled with riches. The building bequeathed to the city of Steamboat Springs,Colorado in 2006, now houses the Steamboat Art Museum. It is a gift from the estate of a long time artist and rancher, Helen Rehder.  The building no longer contains currency of the First National Bank. To fulfill the donor’s request, the building is now filled with wealth of another kind – top quality art exhibits. The community of Steamboat is so very fortunate to have this substantial acquisition. The museum attracts top-notch artists who wish to share their craft with area artists and tourists, alike. As each new exhibit is brought to town, emerging artists can learn from the master’s work through observation, painting workshops and demonstrations. 

On December 2nd, the historic setting of the Steamboat Art Museum will be installed with gemstone paintings of another of the country’s top master painters, Quang Ho. This artist, of Vietnamese heritage, immigrated to the United States in 1975. He became a U.S. Citizen and began wowing this country with his art five years later at the age of 16. Two years later, he earned a National Scholarship award at the Colorado Institute of Art, the same year his mother was tragically killed. He then began the responsibility of rebuilding his life and raising four younger brothers and a sister, too. 

Despite adversity and challenges, Quang Ho has become a well-respected top national artist who is accomplished at figurative painting, landscapes and still life. He has invested his time and energy in learning how to paint in oils and watercolor. He teaches emerging artists at the Denver Students Artist League and also through his publications of art books and DVDs on how to paint. 

Quang Ho’s paintings will be shown for a four month period, beginning December 2. An opening reception for members of the Museum will be held from 4pm to 5 pm. The general public is invited to attend during the Friday Art Walk hours from 5 to 8 pm on December 2nd. Quang Ho will be giving a painting demonstration the following day (December 3rd). Purchase tickets early! The demonstration is guaranteed to sell out. There are also tickets available to have dinner with the artist. For more details, please visit

This exhibit is not to be missed, and it will hang until the closing on April 14th. Both locals and tourists will find a fulfilling range of compositions that this extraordinarily talented artist has allowed the Steamboat Art  Museum to bring to this town.

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Butterflies at Art Award Night in Vermont

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A novel is not, after all, a historical document, but a way to travel through the human heart. ~ Julia AlvarezIn the Time of the Butterflies 

Tonight, November 4th,  the Vermont Arts Council  will have their annual awards honoring three outstanding artists. All three are working in their fields to share their talents through their poetry, books and musical compositions. 

Christian Wolff will be receiving the Walter Cerf Award for Outstanding Achievement in the performing arts.  He has recorded over 20 solo CDs and his book Cues, is a collection of his writings on music. For more information on his musical compositions and his life, please visit

Julia Alvarez is the writer-in-residence at MiddleburyCollege. She has 5 published novels, a book of essays and many books for young readers. Several of her books have been adapted for film and theatre and are available in many languages and in many countries around the world.  An organic farm-literacy arts center in her homeland of the Dominican Republic holds a special place in her heart, and she shares of herself there, too. For more information on this author and her new book which will be available in the spring of 2012, please visit

Sydney Lea is a poet and prose writer often writing on subjects such as ecology and the natural environment. He has two books of essays, a published novel and has just been named Poet Laureate of Vermont. He makes his home in Newbury, Vermont. To read more about this multi-lingual professor of literature, please go to

Every year I look forward in great anticipation to receiving my Vermont Arts Gala invitation, whether I am able to attend or not. It is fulfilling to learn about the artists who are being celebrated for their contributions of inspiring others in the creative state of Vermont.

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Looking Out for Others


In my life, I had two Mothers, Macedonia who gave me birth and America who adopted me.”  ~ Stoyan Christowe 

Have you ever made friends with someone who is a stranger from a strange land, yet they reverse the role and make you, the American, feel more at home? 

Two and a half years ago, I moved from my 35 year Vermont residence to the West. I came to this town, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, site unseen and had no idea what to expect. Within a few months time, I met a woman, about my age from Macedonia. Heretofore I had never known a soul from Macedonia, and was not even sure where the on the map the country lies. 

Two years into our friendship, my friend told me a story of an immigrant orphan from Macedonia, Stoyan Christowe, who arrived in 1897 in my “adopted home” state of Vermont. He started a new life and eventually became a Vermont State Senator, journalist and author. . He lived out the rest of his life in America and during that time, he six published books including “This is My Country.” 

A film is currently being produced about the life of Stoyan Christowe by the Macedonian Arts Council. I look forward to seeing this film and I hope it well captures the feeling that Mr. Christowe expressed about his native land and his adopted country. 

Today, I celebrate my Macedonian friend’s birthday. She made such a positive difference in my life. She helped me to assimilate into a new community nearly effortlessly. I can think of no better way to say Happy Birthday to her than to tell her how deeply grateful I am for her kindness and her help. 

After many years of living in the U.S., she and her family have returned to her Motherland. Although the distance between us is now great, I can not help but feel our two countries of the United States and Macedonia, have grown just a little bit closer by the fulfilling friendship and bond my friend and I have formed. We hope to continue our friendship for many years to come. 

Happy Birthday, Vesna!