Colorado Arts

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Fort Collins artist Haley Hasler didn’t set out to focus on self-portraits.

“It really started as a practical decision, where I needed a model, and as a young art student I had an available body in myself and the mirror,” said Hasler while walking around her latest exhibit, “Haley Hasler,” at the Museum of Art Fort Collins. “My work might start with just a little idea, like I’m going to have the female character. I don’t think of it as me. I do think of it as just a female character.”

Courtesy of Amanda Huner

Choir students at Rocky Mountain High School knew, when you were in Barbara Lueck’s class, you were with family.

“We called her ‘Mama Lu’ for a reason,” said Doug Usher, a 2000 Rocky graduate. “She was there for you inside and outside the classroom and you could go to her anytime with anything and she would be there, she would listen. She embodies that spirit of what we all want teachers to be.”

So when her former students found out the beloved choir director had cancer, they knew there was only one thing to do.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

For Meow Wolf CEO Vince Kadlubek, being a responsible addition to Denver and its arts community was important from the beginning. It was the reason Meow Wolf chose the location that they did, one that was surrounded by Interstate 25, Elitch Gardens, Pepsi Center, Broncos Stadium at Mile High and not much else.

“You can stand at our site and look around and you don’t see any houses (…) and so that felt better to us,” Kadlubek said during the unveiling of the Santa Fe-based arts collaborative’s corporate social responsibility plan for its new Denver venue.

Courtesy of Colorado Shoe School

Dan Huling and Annabel Reader aren’t your typical couple. For almost two decades Huling has been juggling chainsaws as part of the vaudeville troupe the Handsome Little Devils. Reader is a costume designer and part-time stilt walker.

They were looking for a way to slow down and stay closer to their Bellvue home. But Reader said they didn’t want to lose their artistic edge.

“We’re both creatives," she said. "We both need to make to feel sane.”

Then, on a trip back to her hometown in New Zealand, Reader learned about a shoe-making school. It seemed like a perfect fit.

Courtesy of Bas Bleu Theatre

The song “Somewhere That’s Green” from the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” is one of Fort Collins actor Jonathan Farwell’s favorites. It was a standard part of his wife, Deb Note-Farwell's, repertoire whenever she was invited to sing.

“And every time I heard it, I cried,” Jonathan said. “So that’s really what happens to me now. I don’t know if worse is the word or maybe better -- to feel what it feels like to miss her that much.”

Ashley Jefcoat / KUNC

This summer, real estate agents James Carlson and Erin Spradlin have been taking tourists around the streets of Denver. But it’s not hot properties they’re taking them to see.

The husband-and-wife team recently started the Denver Graffiti Tour, showcasing some of the biggest murals and best street artists in the city, after taking a similar tour in Bogota, Columbia.

“We got to meet locals in a way that we wouldn’t normally have,” Spradlin said. “We got to see a neighborhood we otherwise wouldn’t have. And we got to hear about the history and the politics of that neighborhood through some amazing art.”

Photo by Patrick Houdek

For more than a decade, a typical “work day” for Anthony Kovacs meant spending time on stage with loud guitars and drums, singing into a microphone as the lead vocalist for the Chicago punk band Shot Baker.

Even when he wasn’t on stage, Kovacs said his daily life was pretty noisy.

“When I wasn’t on tour I was working in music venues as a door guy or whatever I was doing, so I was exposed to loud quite a bit,” he said. “And at some point, I noticed that my hearing wasn’t as sharp as it once was, and it actually started scaring me into wearing hearing protection.”

Stacy Nick / KUNC

For 30 years, Annie Hamilton has handled casting for many of the television and film projects made in Colorado -- including, most recently, the Jane Fonda/Robert Redford Netflix film, “Our Souls at Night.”

Recently, Hamilton helped conduct an open-casting call for a brand of actor that is becoming more and more sought after in Colorado: “real people.”

“We’re steering away from the beauty and skinny,” she said. “They want real because that’s who the consumers are. That’s who their audience is.”

Courtesy of Denver Fire Department

For the second time in a week, parts of Denver’s Civic Center Park have been damaged.

Over the weekend, a hit-and-run driver took out part of the park’s more than 100-year-old marble balustrade. Wednesday, the interactive installation “Tree of Transformation” was set on fire. The sculpture, which features an antique piano with a steel tree growing out of it, was a total loss.

“The edge of the park in particular has taken a bit of a beating lately,” said Scott Robson, executive director of the Civic Center Conservancy. Especially the part of the park along Colfax Avenue, which Robson described as a bit of a “war zone.”

Stacy Nick / KUNC

When Art Comes to Town: This story is the second in a series as KUNC arts and culture reporter Stacy Nick explores the impact art has on Colorado communities — and the impact those communities have on the art that comes out of them.

Sun Valley is one of Denver’s poorest neighborhoods. More than 80 percent of households live below the poverty line and 70 percent of residents are unemployed. It also has the highest violent-crime rate, more than five times the citywide average.

But between a public-housing initiative, a proposed mixed‐use neighborhood near the home of the Denver Broncos and several arts destinations moving into the area, Sun Valley is set to see more than a billion dollars in investments in the next five years.

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