Cars star at Beaux Arts

When 4-year-old Grace Geraghty saw the giant orange art car shaped like a human head, all she could do was run over to it. After inspecting a microscopic paint chip on one of the car's teeth, she scrunched up her nose and said, "Daddy, he needs to brush his teeth."

Grace's father, Mike, agreed.

"He'd need an awfully big toothbrush, don't you think?" he asked.

Grace nodded her head and ran off to the car with a giant metallic butterfly attached to it.

"That other car was silly, but this one I love," she said.

The art cars were one of the main attractions of the third annual Beaux Arts on the Mountain, held Saturday at Torian Plum Plaza. Beaux Arts featured several eclectic cars, hubcap art, Irish music and stories, street painting and lots of bubbles.

Steamboat Springs Arts Council Assistant Director Jen Jones said the arts festival is designed to bring artistic diversity to the community and let people see a different side of what is traditionally considered art.

"It's fine arts but it's more unique than that because we're celebrating the senses with all of the colorful exhibits," Jones said.

The Geraghtys were visiting Steamboat for the weekend and were glad to see the same art car, the official mirrored lizard car that everyone in town has seen, back for a second year.

"We're having a great day here," Mike Gerachty said.

Other events included folk music by Carrie Elkin, Irish music, dancers and stories to entertain children. There were stilts and a giant solar-powered bubble tower set up in the middle of the festival.

New to the arts festival this year was the hubcap art silent auction. Jones said community members ages 6 and older decorated hubcaps and entered them into the auction to benefit the Arts Council.

"Those are really neat, too," Jones said.

Some of the hubcaps featured themes like the hubcap covered in paper mache grapes and wine corks, while other hubcaps featured collages of beads, glitter, marbles and paint. There was even a hubcap dedicated to the Beatles.

Even though the hubcaps were finished works of art, there were several other opportunities for people to express their creative sides.

Elena Press, 7, visiting from Pennsylvania, found her artistic calling at the festival by painting a small canvas with tempera paint.

Her creation will be added to a developing art car.

"I am painting an ocean and a sky and a sun," she said.

Press was able to finish her masterpiece in about five minutes.

The van belongs to Wendi Hollenbeck, owner of Art Factory, an art haven for children in Edwards.

Hollenbeck, a former art teacher, began the business to provide an opportunity for children to do art programs after school and during the summer since so few art programs exist in public schools.

Now, Hollenbeck is collecting all the art her students do and gluing them to her car with the hopes that the white van eventually will be covered with canvases, sculptures and other pieces of work. Right now, Hollenbeck has an impressive collection of work as well as paintbrushes framing the windows and markers decorating the hubcaps.

"It dawned on me that the kids would love this," she said.

Festival-goers also had an opportunity to get in touch with their creative sides by painting the sidewalks for the festival.

Strada D'Arte is a type of Italian street painting that allows artists to use crushed pastels mixed with water to create rich vibrant scenes.

There were seven scenes including a scene of Kyoto, Japan, a Mount Werner scene, and a Van Gogh replica.

Jody Elston of Stagecoach and her children, Rachel, 15, and Zane, 11, worked all day to perfect Jody's "Peace on Earth" sidewalk scene.

Elston designed the drawing herself and it featured a sun with a diverse group of people holding hands around the sun.

Elston balanced herself on a skateboard while she worked and let passersby help if they had the desire.

"I love being a part of this event. I think it's absolutely amazing," she said.

Elston said the sidewalk paintings could last up to two weeks barring rain.

Jones said she was glad there was a steady stream of people coming in and out of the festival all day and that the arts council hopes to improve the event every year, making it bigger and better.

"We've had a blast this year," she said.

--To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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