Stampede draws art cars

Artists will display works at Beaux Arts Festival

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— Call it Tracy's trademark. Every car she has ever owned Tracy DelliQuadri made a piece of art with paint and markers.

Her first car was a Volkswagen Bug she drove in college.

She gave markers to a bunch of kids and let them draw all over it.

"It was an interactive car," DelliQuadri said. "I kept a jar of markers in the car and let people draw on it when we were stopped on the highway for construction.

"That's what got me started."

But over the years, her cars have become less "smorgasbord" and more planned art projects with focused themes, she said.

Longtime residents of Steamboat Springs will remember the "Cloud Truck," a Toyota painted with blue sky, clouds and quotes from anyone who had something to add.

"Cloud Truck" now lives in Boulder. DelliQuadri gave it to her dad in exchange for a gray 1994 Dodge Colt named "Katie."

DelliQuadri painted a sea turtle with the world on its back on the hood of the car. The turtle reminds her of a story told by a tribe from Long Island, New York, about North America.

"They saw North America as a giant sea turtle with the world on its back," she said. "Anyone who lives here, they consider part of the turtle tribe."

DelliQuadri went to college in Flagstaff, Ariz., and spent a lot of time on the nearby Navajo reservation.

Katie's body is being painted to honor the Native American heritage, she said.

On the sides, she painted Kokopelli dancing among petroglyphs she had collected from books and on hiking trips.

"Katie" the art project is almost finished, and she is already for sale.

She will be featured in this year's Beaux Arts Festival Art Car Stampede.

Art cars from around Steamboat and the nation will be on display in downtown today at the corner of Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue and at the base of the ski area tomorrow.

DelliQuadri received an art degree in fine arts and ceramics but spends her days hard at work at the Young Tracks Child Care Center.

"Painting my cars is the one artistic outlet I have time for," she said.

Art Car Stampede organizer Lynne Masters hopes that the display of cars will encourage more creativity in Steamboat, she said.

Masters first learned about art cars while visiting her mother in Houston.

The city was hosting a huge international festival that ended with an art-car parade.

"It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. It's so creative," she said. "I kept thinking that we need this in Steamboat.

"There are a lot of old cars in town that people can't sell, so they might as well paint them. People still drive art cars around, and they just make you smile."

DelliQuadri agreed that people should just use more creativity with their cars.

"Americans take their cars too seriously," she said. "Paint markers are an easy way to start."

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