Event highlights Lariat Loop’s artistic inspirations

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By Sara Miller

For as long as there have been cars trusty enough to chug up the mountains, artists have ventured around the Lariat Loop hoping to capture that elusive sunset reflecting in Bear Creek or the first aspen turning to gold near Buffalo Bill’s grave.

The Lariat Loop is a 40-mile scenic circle developed in the 1920s to help Coloradans experience the mountains in proximity to Denver. To celebrate the anniversary of the Loop’s designation as a National Scenic Byway, on Oct. 17 the Loop’s Heritage Alliance will host the Lariat Loop Art Bistro.

The Art Bistro is a unique event that will highlight 18 artists who live and work along the Loop’s route in communities such as Golden, Morrison, Lookout Mountain and Evergreen.

“I’ve known about the Lariat Loop for many years, but I didn’t realize how many locations that we visit as artists are parts of that Loop,” says Evergreen artist Chris Orlikowski.

“When I go back through my body of work, I realize that I’ve spent time painting at Lair O’ the Bear and the Humphrey Museum. I painted with the Plein Air Artists Colorado at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. I didn’t even realize that the museum was on the Loop until I was contacted to participate in the Bistro.”

Like Orlikowski, many local residents have heard of the Lariat Loop and its importance to the history of our area, but some may be unaware of the breadth of natural and cultural resources that make up the route. In addition to landmark locations such as Buffalo Bill’s grave and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the Loop incorporates nature centers, a renewable energy lab, an art center, a spiritual shrine, Evergreen Lake, and museums and historical sites exploring everything from dinosaurs to Native Americans.

The Lariat Loop Art Bistro will offer attendees the opportunity to view, celebrate and purchase art inspired by all of these places. The Bistro will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Red Rocks Country Club. Visitors can peruse the work of recognizable Evergreen artists such as Gail Frasier, Melanie Warsinske and Chris Orlikowski and Conifer artists Kaki Baird and BenJamin Stielow, among others.

Peggy Morgan Stenmark, an award-winning watercolor artist from Evergreen, will conduct a plein air painting demonstration, creating a new work from start to finish on site from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I love the foothills surrounding the Lariat Loop,” says Stenmark. “As an artist, there is never a lack for something to paint. Mountains, wildlife, aspen, pine trees, wildflowers, historic buildings … it is all inspiring.”

The Bistro will also have an interactive Kids’ Art Zone from noon to 4 p.m., fine food and wine available for purchase and live music. The event will feature art in a range of media, from photography to oil, watercolor and acrylic painting, to metalwork and handmade jewelry. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/ARTbistro.


Lariat Loop Art Bistro

Presented by the Lariat Loop Heritage Alliance

Sunday, Oct. 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Red Rocks Country Club, 16235 W. Belleview Ave., in Morrison.

Admission is free. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/ARTbistro.