Granby debuts art festival |

Casey Paugh paints her fish for Art in the Park on Saturday at Polhamus Park in Granby. Paugh won first place out of the ten artists who competed in the town’s first ever arts festival.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

Granby’s first ever Art in the Park brought together musicians and artists of all ages to celebrate the creativity of the community.

Painters spent two days decorating fish cutouts in Polhamus Park, and on Saturday crowds voted for their favorites. The ten competing artists all brought their own interpretations of outdoor scenes to the festival using paints, markers, airbrushing and more.

Casey Paugh took first place in the competition and won a prize of $1,500 for her pointillism piece detailing an outdoor setting full of familiar elements. Trisha Bellefeuille took second place and a $1,000 prize with a fall landscape on her fish and Mikey Cross finished in third for a $750 prize for a bear relaxing in a field of flowers.

Katy L. Wood’s monochromatic landscape had a personal touch in the watercolors, which she made herself using charcoal from the East Troublesome Fire.

“It’s pretty similar to watercolor,” she said of her homemade paint, “but it does have a little bit of a charcoal feel to it and the way you can kind of push the pigment around, so it’s really interesting to paint with.”

Using a burnt log picked up along CO Highway 125, Wood ground up the charcoal as fine as possible before straining it through pantyhose to get it even finer. She then mixed that powder with glycerin, Arabic gum, water and honey from another local source, Tabernash Honey, before mulling the paint.

Katy L. Wood stands in front of her completed watercolor piece on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2021, at Polhamus Park in Granby. Wood’s watercolors are made from the charcoal of the East Troublesome Fire.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

“After last year, living up here, seeing the fire and everything … I really wanted to make another donation,” Wood said. “I decided I wanted to do some art because that’s what I do. I’d been looking into making my own watercolor for a while, but I hadn’t done it yet. I thought it would be cool to use a piece of the fire and use it to make my watercolors.”

Wood has a few watercolor landscapes of Grand County made with the unique paint in the shape of various local animals. Sales of the originals and prints benefit the local fire departments.

Also as part of the activities for Art in the Park, two fish cutouts were provided to the general public to write messages and draw pictures of thanks to local first responders.

Grand County nonprofits offered all sorts of crafts for younger artists to enjoy on Saturday. The Grand County Historical Association provided fabric for small woven rugs, the Grand County Libraries helped kids make rainbow fish with old CDs and much more.

Saturday’s musical lineup also featured the debut for a Kremmling musician. Orion Ilgner is a 15-year-old with a passion for what he calls “jammy rock.”

Inspired by musicians like Phish, Led Zeppelin and the Talking Heads, Orion performed on stage for the first time with covers and a few original songs including the unveiling of his third single, “Woolly Mammoth.”

“I can’t really wrap my mind around it because it’s my first gig ever,” Orion said. “I’m glad I get to finally play up on stage. I’ve been kind of wanting to do music my whole life, so I’m hoping this can be my first step.”

Orion Ilgner performs during Art in the Park in Granby. Orion, 15, is a Kremmling local and played his first ever live gig Saturday.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

Overall, organizers with the Granby Public Art Committee said they were pleased with the turnout for Granby’s first arts festival.

“I think it’s exceeding our expectations,” said Autumn Bishop, chairperson of the PAC. “Being the first year we were kind of managing that, we had no idea what to expect … We’re very, very happy and excited.”

The ten fish murals are going up along Agate Avenue once they get a protective coating. The art will go along Granby’s “long wall” out front of Granby Dental, which has already been painted a base color.

Bishop said there will be a community art day to paint waves for the background before the fish are mounted to the wall. She added that the hope is to get the art up there as soon as possible.

Next year, the fish cutouts will be auctioned off and artists will return to Art in the Park create new murals.

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