All summer long, Firehouse Art Center has kept the block party vibe flourishing with Summer on the Streets, a series that welcomes musicians, artists and performers to downtown Longmont and provides activities for the whole family.
This weekend, the spirit of these summer parties culminate into one gigantic ArtWalk on Main, an expansive day of art shopping, concerts on five stages and much more. It stretches out over five blocks on Saturday from 4-8 p.m.
“The event is huge,” said Elaine Waterman, Firehouse Art Center’s executive director. “I think we doubled the number of artists that are exhibiting, and I think that is the thing I am looking forward to the most.”
With over 150 vendors and artists selling work and wares and a variety of live entertainment from bands to dancers, ArtWalk on Main is this weekend’s not-to-miss event.
“Out of the 160 booths, I think 70% of them are artists,” Waterman said. “From small items to large, this is a perfect place to shop for the holidays. Or find an artist that you love and get them to make something special just for you.”
Over the past few months, Waterman has worked hard to carve out space for organizations and creators of all kinds — inviting jewelers, nonprofits and face painters to participate in the Saturday event.
“I love seeing the diversity of art created by this community,” Waterman said. “There are so many different mediums represented. As far as artists in action, we have someone throwing ceramics on a wheel and someone demonstrating woodwork on a lathe. From photography to painting, we have many 2D artists creating on the streets as well.”
The fun doesn’t end with a vast display of art offerings. Attendees can try their hand at axe throwing or, if feeling bold, get hair tinsel woven into their manes.
“This is the first time I will be exhibiting at ArtWalk under the Longmont Artists’ Guild’s tent,” said Longmont-based artist Fran Gordon, who will the share the space with Lara Mann and other creatives. “I have recently joined the board of directors of LAG, so it is important to represent and support The Guild.”
Visitors to Gordon’s display can expect to see her mixed-media pieces that are every bit as functional as they are intriguing. Her steampunk-inspired works — with exposed gears, odds and ends, and sometimes rust — are favorites among those looking for something outside of typical department store décor.
“I have been working on making quite a few sheet music-theme clocks,” Gordon said. “One of my new series is a group of clocks made from my own vintage sheet music from 1970-1971. This was the sheet music I used during that time to teach myself to play the guitar.”
Gordon has constructed clocks featuring the sheet music to “When I’m 64” by the Beatles and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Those who want a specific tune’s sheet music incorporated into a design can commission her to do so.
“My music theme clocks can be custom ordered for Christmas, with specific songs,” Gordon said. “Since all my art is made from recycled materials, I can only customize the song, not the specific details.”
While space is limited at the LAG tent, those who wish to see a larger collection of Gordon’s clocks can visit Meco Coffee Collective, at 627 Main St. in Longmont.
“The Longmont creative community is very open and welcoming,” Gordon said. “As a new member of the board of directors at LAG, I hope to spread the word, to let people know who we are and encourage participation.”
While acts such as Rex Peoples and Los Cheesies will be contributing to ArtWalk’s varied soundtrack, a longstanding music organization will also be a part of the mix.
“The Longmont Symphony is excited that our brass quintet will be performing at this Saturday’s ArtWalk,” said Elliot Moore, Longmont Symphony Orchestra’s conductor. “While we traditionally perform in a concert or recital hall setting, the LSO is always looking for different avenues of community engagement.”
While Longmont Symphony Orchestra has kept loyal fans of classical and chamber music coming to shows, members are excited to be able to reach folks who wouldn’t necessarily normally buy a ticket to a full production.
“ArtWalk gives us the opportunity to introduce parts of the orchestra to new audiences outside the concert hall,” Moore said. “These types of performances are generally more casual in nature and allow our musicians to interact more closely with bystanders.”
For over 50 years, Longmont Symphony Orchestra has provided top-tier performances at a variety of unsuspecting venues, including a recent piano concert at PJ’s Wine and Spirits in Longmont.
Saturday’s set will feature horns and trumpets.
“The symphony’s brass quintet is one of our most captivating ensembles,” Moore said. “Whereas an outdoor performance may be more difficult for one of our string or woodwind ensembles, it lends perfectly to the acoustics of a brass quintet.”
Longmont Symphony Orchestra doesn’t shy away from embracing pop music. The group has been known to offer up work by Beethoven and bring just as much passion to modern-day numbers, leaving attendees pleasantly surprised.
“We will offer something to please both our younger and our more mature audiences,” Moore said. “And there are sure to be opportunities to talk with musicians between musical selections.”
When not leading the musicians in song, Moore is looking forward to checking out the various performance and sights ArtWalk offers.
From reveling in the wonder of Nahucalli Mexican Folkloric Dance Troupe and Centennial Ballet to the blazing choreography from fire-dancing group Elemental Enchanters, there will be sights to take in around every corner.
“With live music, activities and handcrafted works from local artists, Longmont’s ArtWalk is the place to be on Saturday,” Moore said.
Those who want the fun to keep going can head to The Times Collaborative at 8 p.m. for the ArtWalk afterparty featuring live jazz by vocalist Karyna Balch and pianist Charles Blenzig. Tickets for the intimate set are $15.
When summer fades, autumn brings more opportunities to engage and gather.
“After ArtWalk, we go directly into preparing for Dia de los Muertos,” Waterman said. “This is one of my favorite events in Longmont, and we really appreciate the partnership we have with the Longmont Museum and the City of Longmont. You can expect the Gigantes to come back for the procession, and we are in the midst of planning for our Catrina Ball. I am really excited about the exhibits we have planned as well.”
For a full list of vendors, artists and performers and the ArtWalk schedule, visit artwalklongmont.org.