Aug 222010
Authors: Ali Sytle

Jim Lynxwiler will have spent more than 250 hours working on a statue of a fat ballerina.

“It’s a long, arduous process,” Lynxwiler said, discussing the 11-part technique involved in creating his bronze artwork, a process that involves ceramic casts, hot wax, and bronze. His projects cost thousands of dollars, and take up a great deal of his time. “It’s a labor of love.”

Lynxwiler is just one of the more than 20 local artisans, musicians, and actors who took part in the Creative Garden, a portion of Bohemian Nights NewWestFest devoted to showcasing the ever-growing artisan community.

“The NewWestFest has never before had a section devoted to local artists, so it’s nice to be here, where people know where to find us,” said Jill Anne, who makes fused glass jewelry and had a booth at Creative Garden.

The event’s debut was organized by Beet Street, a local non-profit devoted to bolstering Fort Collins’ reputation as an artisan community.

Wendy Ishii, an instructor in CSU’s Music, Theater and Dance department, performed a macabre monologue in which she ruminated over the grief that comes with the loss of loved ones.

For Ishii, who founded Bas Bleu Theatre Company in Old Town, the Creative Garden provided a great chance for her to share her love of performing with the community.

“The Creative Garden has a different vibe than the rest of the festival,” said Nick Celani, a graduate of UNC who displayed his pottery at the garden. “Being here is not as much about selling stuff as much as it is about getting your name out to like-minded people.”

Located on Chestnut Street in Old Town, the Creative Garden enabled Fort Collins residents to take a break from the frenzy of the main festival and enjoy an intimate setting to connect with local artists and musicians.

“I had a demonstration booth set up all day, but haven’t gotten much work done because people are constantly stopping ask me what I’m doing, and to talk about my art,” Lynxwiler said. “It’s awesome!”

Lynxwiler was a 1990 graduate of the CSU Fine Arts department, who splits his time between practicing art and working as a firefighter for the Poudre Fire Authority.

The secluded area featured a performing arts stage, a scenic European garden and an acoustic stage complimented with gourmet foods and wines. Creative Garden was an idea cultivated in part by the Bohemian Foundation, which controls the Bohemian Nights program.

“The acoustic stage is cool because it gets to the down and dirty, raw side of music,” said Celani. “It’s crazy because 50 feet away you have these middle-aged hacks trying to do Neil Young covers on the main stages, but here, you just get the good stuff.”

For Danielle Anderson, a CSU alumna, the Creative Garden was a great way for her to expand her audience.

Anderson, known by her fans as Danielle Ate the Sandwich, has found a great deal of success by posting her original, ukulele accompanied songs on YouTube. She had a gig at the 2010 Mile High Music Festival in Denver and plays shows all over the Northwest and in New York City.

“I wish that I could have gotten a fan-base through the normal route, by playing small venues and working my way up, but I’m thankful for YouTube as well –– because I know that this is our generation’s thing,” Anderson said.

Some of Anderson’s songs are inspired by the English classes she took at CSU and she first performed at an open mike night at Avogadro’s Number, a local music venue.

“If students want to find success in music, you’ve just got to work hard, do it your own way, and really put yourself out there,” she said.

_Staff Writer Ali Sylte can be reached at _

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