Imagine joining 10,000 of your fellow music and art lovers as you stroll down lovely tree-lined Main Street in charming Grand Junction, Colorado. You sample a local brew at the Beer Garden, dance to the sounds of locally and nationally renowned jazz musicians, browse the shopping specials at downtown merchants and spend a luxurious Mother's Day weekend celebrating art, food, drink and "all that jazz."
If this sounds like your ideal way to spend a weekend, then the annual Art and Jazz Festival in Grand Junction is perfect for you and your family. Known throughout Colorado and the Southwest for its showcase of live jazz acts and its celebration of art and artistic expression, Grand Junction's Art and Jazz Festival is a local and visitor favorite, drawing crowds from all over the nation. Taking place along Main Street from Third to Seventh Streets in downtown Grand Junction (which is closed to vehicle traffic during the festival), there truly is something for everyone — all ages and interests.
Past festivals have featured such jazz artists as the Hazel Miller Band, Quemando, Lynn Skinner, Craig Kingfish Griffin and the Michelle Wilkinson Jazz Quartet. In addition to the big-name acts, festival goers can also experience the professional live jazz presented by Grand Junction's own Mesa State College. The main music stage, located at the corner of Main and Fourth streets, is the perfect setting to send music permeating throughout downtown Grand Junction.
The art at the festival rivals its explosive jazz acts. Close to 100 artists, both local and national exhibitors, display and sell their work, as well as participate in a Demonstration Exhibit, which allows visitors to watch the artists creating their work. Artisans at the festival range from jewelry-makers to weavers, sculptors, potters, woodworkers, painters, glass artists, photographers and a variety of mixed-media creators. Artists are judged prior to entry in the festival on originality, creativity and quality, and are painstakingly selected for inclusion into the Art and Jazz Festival.
In addition, the event requires that the artist must accompany the art and personally attend the booth, making the Art and Jazz Festival a unique and special showcase for only the finest art and artists. Cash awards are also provided for Best of Show and first-place winners. Second and third place receive gift certificates.
In addition to the music and art vendors, Grand Junction's Art and Jazz Festival takes place in conjunction with the unveiling and installation of new sculptures for the city's Art on the Corner project, which provides local and national sculptors the opportunity to display their work to the community for one year. All new sculptures are for sale to the public, and 25 percent of the proceeds of sculpture sales goes back into the Art on the Corner program, allowing it to expand yearly.
Located in the heart of Grand Junction's Downtown Shopping Park, the Art on the Corner outdoor sculptures showcase Grand Junction's commitment to the arts, and the prominent place of culture within the community. The Art on the Corner project now boasts more than 85 permanent structures and approximately 30 pieces in the temporary exhibit. Supported by the Art and Jazz Festival, the Art on the Corner Sculpture Change takes place on the Saturday of the Festival, and festival goers can meet artists and watch the sculpture installations.
Hotels book early for the festival, so be sure to confirm your reservations in advance if you're planning to visit. For more info on the festival, check out the Downtown Partnership's website at www.downtowngj.org or call 970-256-4133.