The nine-day Beaux Arts Festival kicks off today, integrating Steamboat's long-standing art programs with newer productions and special events from the Steamboat Arts Council.
The list of events for Steamboat's first weeklong arts festival ranges from Strings in the Mountains performances to the creation of a Community Collage to a sculpting festival at Torian Plaza to Emerald City Opera performances.
Although the festival runs through Aug. 17, its grand finale is Aug. 16 at the base of the ski area. The day includes a display of doghouses as public art, a farmer's market, a fine art and craft exhibit and sale, the Art Car Stampede, street painting and a food and wine pavilion. The day ends with the free Beaux Arts Symphony Grand Finale Concert, accompanied by fireworks.
The annual Steamboat Studios Art and Culture Tour: Historic Twentymile Loop kicks off the festival today as artists in West Routt open their studios to visitors.
Today also features the annual SummerArt exhibit on display at the Depot, the play "Cosi" performed by the Steamboat Community Players and Strings in the Mountains chamber music concert finale "From Russia with Love."
Arts Council Executive Director Nancy Kramer said an arts festival of this magnitude has been in the works for two years.
Kramer said organizers chose this week because it comes at the end of the summer sporting events and helps fill a slump in tourism that typically happens during the month.
The festival is funded through several grants as well as the Chamber Resort Association, the lodging community and business owners.
Kramer hopes the festival quickly will grow to be an expected part of Steamboat's summer programming.
"By year three, we should see a solid foundation to the festival and be able to figure out what is working," she said.
This year, the festival will have art displays featured around town: The Dog House as Public Art, which is a collection of dog houses created by local artists; the Art Car Stampede, in which decorative cars become the art medium; Found Object Sculpture, in which sculptors create pieces using metals provided by festival-goers; and a Community Collage, in which anyone can make his or her mark on a giant canvas erected in Torian Plum Plaza.
"This is not just looking at pictures and listening to music, you are actually engaged in the arts," Kramer said.