Pearl Street Arts Fest turns downtown into a giant art exhibit – Boulder Daily Camera

The Pearl Street Arts Fest – an event showcasing the work of creatives in Boulder and beyond – returns this weekend after a two-year hiatus related to the pandemic.

Attendees at the 2019 Pearl Street Arts Fest admire the work of artist Krysteen Waszak. (Downtown (Boulder Partnership/Courtesy Photo)

“For me, personally, it’s all about artists,” said Anna Salim, vice president of events and memberships for Downtown Boulder Partnership. “This year’s festival will feature a plethora of artists from Colorado, as well as talented performers from 19 other states.”

Children enjoy artistic activities at Pearl Street Arts Fest 2019. (Boulder Downtown Partnership/Courtesy Photo)
Children enjoy artistic activities at Pearl Street Arts Fest 2019. (Boulder Downtown Partnership/Courtesy Photo)

Whether you’re looking for a handmade ring or a new piece of furniture to brighten up a home, the opportunities to experience fine art are sure to exceed expectations.

“The festival has developed a solid reputation in the artistic community, so the incredible talent that applies every year is really fantastic,” said Salim. “There will be a variety of media on display – stalls filled with jewelry, pottery, paintings and more creating this amazing outdoor gallery on the Pearl Street Mall that is simply magical.”

In addition to browsing the work of more than 90 artists, participants will have the chance to see creativity unfold.

“Boulder County Arts Alliance is piloting an artist residency program and kicking things off by offering an artist demonstration with local artist Lio Bumba all day Saturday,” Salim said. “Watching the creation process will also be a fun and engaging activity for those who attend.”

"Helianthus" by Andrew Barker.  (Andrew Barker/courtesy photo)
“Helianthus” by Andrew Barker. (Andrew Barker/courtesy photo)

Children will have the opportunity to create their own work. Salim said that this year the theme will be “Welcome to your happy place” and will feature an art activity about finding your happy place.

Boulder-based artist Andrew Barker, who has performed at arts events on Pearl Street in previous years, will make his Pearl Street Arts Fest debut this weekend.

"Precipice" by Andrew Barker.  (Andrew Barker/courtesy photo)
“Precipice” by Andrew Barker. (Andrew Barker/courtesy photo)

Working primarily in watercolor and combining that medium with ink, gouache and colored pencil on traditional fine art paper or wood, his intriguing depictions of the natural world have an earthy, yet almost graphic, feel. because they are rich in geometric marvels.

From a pair of wise owls to a curvy ram’s skull adorned with flowers, his subject matter is heavily influenced by the creatures of Earth and the cycles of life.

“Every time I do a show, I’m told many times that my work is so different from anything they see at art festivals,” Barker said. “For me, that’s one of the greatest compliments I can receive. My work blends traditional subjects and techniques with a more contemporary aesthetic treatment and modern presentation. The balance I find works very well in the as my pieces fit very well into a variety of decorating schemes.

Barker – who works out of his studio in the NoBo Arts District – was creative growing up and spent two decades in the design industry. Five years ago he realized he wanted to take his artistic career to the next level.

“I had collected a small body of work that was accepted by a gallery,” Barker said. “Of course, it took a while to sell steadily, but that was the first big step for me to realize that being a full-time artist was achievable.”

"Orchard" by Andrew Barker.  (Andrew Barker/courtesy photo)
“Orchard” by Andrew Barker. (Andrew Barker/courtesy photo)

Barker is delighted to exhibit his latest works on his home turf.

“A huge plus for me is that the show is right in my neighborhood, so I can show my work to a lot of people I know who haven’t seen it before or don’t know what I’m doing,” said Barkers. “While Pearl Street is always popular with visitors, it’s really events like this that bring out the locals as well, and it all helps create a very vibrant scene.”

Pearl Street Arts Fest will be open until 7 p.m. Saturday.

“A nice aspect of this show will be that the hours will extend well into the evening,” Barker said. “Not only does it give a wider window for attendees, there is also something very unique and magical about having the street lined with lit stalls in the evening.”

Another first-time artist at Pearl Street Arts Fest is Rick Dallago, whose hyper-realistic oil paintings are Rockwellian.

A detail of
A detail of “Dennis Hopper”, Rick Dallago’s last oil painting. (Rick Dallago/courtesy photo)

“I love any opportunity for my works to be seen, especially on Pearl Street Mall – Boulder’s most popular destination,” Dallago said. “I’m flattered when children bring their families to my tent. We are fortunate to live and/or work in Boulder, a community that is so supportive of the arts and artists.

Satirical, daring and always thought provoking, his work has captured the attention of collectors around the world.

“I’m inspired by what’s happening in the world,” Dallago said. “I like to weave a social commentary with humor into my narrative.”

This year’s Pearl Street Arts Fest judges include artists Adderly Grant-Lord, Joseph Jimenez and Tyrell Osborn.

All winners will receive a handmade prize and Best in Show will receive a cash prize of $250. The winners of Best 2D and Best 3D will each receive a cash prize of $125.

"Golden Colorado," by Rick Dallago, will hang at the Colorado State Capitol next month.  (Rick Dallago/courtesy photo)
“Golden Colorado,” by Rick Dallago, will hang at the Colorado State Capitol next month. (Rick Dallago/courtesy photo)

“I am extremely humbled and proud that Pearl Street Arts Fest has entrusted me with this assignment,” Grant-Lord said. “I will be looking for great technical mastery, originality, style and vision, unique perspective, visual stimulation and (if) the work evokes an emotional response.”

A preview of the 14th Street artist runs Friday from 3-8 p.m. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Christopher S. Washington