Artist Daryl Thetford’s commemorative poster for the 2017 Cherry Creek Arts Festival. The poster, which sells for $30 at the festival, is a composite composition of hundreds of cropped images. (Provided by Daryl Thetford.)
After graduating from college in 2015, Heather Kegel built a three-dimensional printer. She had learned to use the technology as an undergraduate at the University of Denver and knew that having a 3D printer of her own would allow her to create products that others in her field had never considered possible.
Kegel is not an engineer, and she didn’t graduate with a degree in STEM. She’s a ceramics artist with a bachelor of fine arts in studio design. She uses her home 3D printer to create functional porcelain art.
“I was instantly hooked on using the 3D printer for ceramics,” Kegel said. “3D printing is such a new way of making ceramic art — there’s more of a ‘wow’ factor. Most people don’t know it’s something that’s possible.”
Kegel will showcase the fledgling potential of 3D printing at the Cherry Creeks Art Festival, where the 24-year-old has been selected to exhibit her work as one of five featured emerging artists. Cherry Creek lends the emerging artists a helping hand through inexpensive booth space, loans of basic exhibition equipment, a training session on the business side of professional art and a coveted chance to build their reputation — and, hopefully, make money off sales — at the festival.
The 27th annual festival opens on Friday with a private gala for artists and closes three days later, on the evening of July 3. Organizers expect 350,000 people to attend.
The festival will feature 255 international artists selected by a blind jury from more than 2,100 applications. Thirty-one artists hail from Colorado. Exhibitions span 13 different mediums, from painting to photography and metalworks to fabrics. Two-thirds of the artists have exhibited at the festival before.
Heather Kegel works on one of her 3D ceramic porcelain pieces in her studio on June 22, 2017 in Longmont, Colorado. Kegel is a ceramics artist who uses a 3D printer, made by her father, to create new works. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)
Photographer Patrick Andrade, of Denver, is a native Coloradan and one of the five emerging artists. Two decades of freelancing for People Magazine, The New York Times and Colorado newspapers have taken him all over Europe and the Middle East, including more than a dozen visits to Iraq and Afghanistan as a conflict photographer. The former photojournalist recently decided to plunge into art full-time.
For his first creative showcase, Andrade has prepared an exhibit of original ambrotypes on blue glass, an archaic photo technique popular in the mid-19th-century.
“The physical and metaphysical connection to photography is what inspires me,” he said via email. “It’s what happens in the darkroom, that coming to light, an image slowly coming to be, before your eyes. With wet hands dripping in chemistry and darkness tunneling my focus to what’s in front of me, curiously, always spiritually enlightening.”
Andrade, who grew up hiking and hunting with family in Colorado, brings nature into his art, which often depicts foreign fauna, insects and other wildlife native to the state landscape. “In the end,” he wrote, “the magic takes control under darkness, gifting an image to light and into the world for others to see.”
To give back to the local artists, patrons, and institutions that have long supported the festival, CherryArts sponsors a variety of initiatives that enable engagement with art in schools. The Student Art Buyers Program grants $500 apiece to 24 schools in metro Denver to purchase art at the festival for permanent installation at schools.
Colorado photographer Patrick Andrade specialized in antiquated photography techniques like tintype and ambrotype. His works will appear in the Cherry Creek Arts Festival this weekend. (Allison Otto)
A separate program gives $2,000 to three schools to buy art for CherryArts’ two mobile art galleries, which travel to Colorado public schools, libraries and community centers throughout the school year. A showcase of student-purchased art will be open to the public from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday between Second and Third avenues.
Last year, students bought art for the mobile galleries from Daryl Thetford, a digital artist from Chattanooga, Tenn. Thetford developed a rapport with festival organizers, who asked him to design the 2017 festival’s annual commemorative posters. The finished products, “Denver Night Sky” and “Summer in Denver,” incorporate hundreds of cropped images to create a single, multi-layered portrait of the Denver skyline set against the Rocky Mountains. The posters can be purchased at the festival for $30.
Cherry Creek will also host works from seven artists as part of the Five Years Out Arrow Art Challenge, a national competition that asked artists to imagine innovations in the art world half a decade down the road. The seven exhibiting finalists, selected from a pool of 117 applicants, were given $5,000 apiece to create forward-thinking works. The winner, Peter Clouse of Ferndale, Mich., received $10,000 and a jury-exempt invitation to exhibit at the festival in 2018.
A tintype shot printed on aluminum by Patrick Andrade, one of Cherry Creek Arts Festival’s emerging artists. (Provided by Patrick Andrade)
Forecasts for a high turnout have some worried about limited parking in a neighborhood already-strained for spots. CherryArts Executive Director Tara Brickell says she is not worried. In addition to metered street parking, three parking garages in the neighborhood — the Janus Capital Group garage at 151 Detroit St.; the Clayton Lane garage at Second Avenue and Columbine Street; and the Whole Foods parking structure at Second Avenue and University Boulevard — will charge $6 for “festival premier parking.” To anticipate demand, the Cherry Creek Shopping Center will offer free parking all weekend in addition to complimentary valet service for bicycles.
At the concert main stage, on Fillmore between First and Second avenues, a diverse lineup of musicians will play free shows from morning through the late evening. Singer-songwriter Wendy Woo headlines Saturday night with a two-hour set that starts at 8 p.m. The New Orleans-based Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band will play a ticket-only show on Sunday night in benefit of CherryArts art education programs in Denver Public Schools. Tickets start at $12 and can be purchased online.
Unlike the musicians, the exhibited artists hope the festival will give a much-needed lift to their bottom line.
“It would be nice to sell some stuff,” Kegel said, laughing. “I’m not gonna lie.”
Her previous exhibits had mixed success. To ensure she has enough goods to bring to the biggest market of her young career, Kegel has had a busy few weeks in the studio, furiously creating new ceramics for exhibition.
“I don’t quite know yet what I’m walking into,” she said.” I think it’ll be awesome. I’ve only heard good things.”