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The arts, unlike many a Salida lawn, flourished in the 86-degree heat that bore down on the weekend’s Salida Arts Festival.

Now in its ninth year, the Salida Arts Festival is a widely-respected gathering of artists held in Riverside Park. It attracts artisans, creators, makers, and painters from all across the United States.

Darien and Daniella Bogart, Las Cruces, NM create fine art acrylic paintings. They were pleased with the crowds on July 15 at the 2023 Salida Arts Festival. Dan Smith photo.

Of this year’s 56 booths, artists traveled to Salida from as far away as Florida, and as closely as just a block away, toting with them a vast array of jewelry, mixed media compositions of the two and three-dimensional varieties, photographs, ceramics and even what appeared to be a roadrunner made of garden shears and rebar.

Though the artists themselves were of disparate origins, there were definite themes on display throughout the show’s booths.

Having attended more than my fair share of undergraduate gallery openings, I can tell you, dear reader, nothing is worse than an incohesive arts show. While each artist stood out in their own right, the festival was cut of a consistent cloth, perfectly suited to a mountain town like Salida.

Cows seemed to be a favorite subject of the painters present at the festival, and a number of the sculptors in attendance worked exclusively in found objects, to delightful effect, of course.

Kimberly Clark’s photography, using old windows as frames. Photo by Michelle Pujol.

Landscapes, too, were ubiquitous, though certainly not homogenous. A number of artists rendered Colorado’s majesty in wonderfully varied and exciting manners, from the extremely vibrant, heavily impastoed aspen trees of Salida-resident Michael Clark to the more muted, though no less captivating mountain scapes by fellow Coloradan Scott Hale.

Salida residents and visitors milled about, combing through exquisitely-made mugs and delicate earrings. The artists too, could be seen popping over a few booths to compare notes on glazing techniques and ideal paint-to-medium ratios.

If this year’s festival is any indication, next year’s 10th Salida Arts Festival will be an event to remember. Whether you were an attendee or one of those unlucky enough to have missed this weekend’s congregation, be on the lookout for 2024’s Salida Arts Festival.