Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez, left, Community Foundation of Northern Colorado member Phil Farley, center, Lyz Crane of ArtPlace America, center right, and Megan Tracy, artistic director of the In the Meantime gallery at the Feed and Grain building, react to the inclusion of Loveland's “Arts @ the Feed and Grain” in the latest round of ArtPlace grants at the City and County Building in downtown Denver on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (Lilia Munoz, Loveland Reporter-Herald )

Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez, left, Community Foundation of Northern Colorado member Phil Farley, center, Lyz Crane of ArtPlace America, center right, and Megan Tracy, artistic director of the In the Meantime gallery at the Feed and Grain building, react to the inclusion of Loveland's “Arts @ the Feed and Grain” in the latest round of ArtPlace grants at the City and County Building in downtown Denver on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (Lilia Munoz, Loveland Reporter-Herald )

We didn’t realize how excited our entire community would be by the award from ArtPlace America to “Arts @ the Feed & Grain” (A@FG). The partners in the project, the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, Studio Blue Bird and the artists who have coalesced around Megan Tracy, the City of Loveland, and the supporters of the Feed & Grain were all thrilled by the award. Our local newspaper, the Loveland Reporter-Herald, covered the story with enthusiasm as did the Denver Post, The Coloradoan and our our NPR stations, KUNC and KUVO. But, when we literally started overhearing total strangers in coffee shops talking about the grant and how important it was to save the Feed & Grain, we knew creative placemaking was on its way to becoming a reality in Downtown Loveland before we even programmed our first events!

Equally exciting was the instant rapport established among all three Colorado ArtPlace recipients who immediately started brainstorming for ways we can all collaborate with one another in the coming year. Our team in Loveland is heading to Denver to check out “Oh Heck Yeah” and “Junction Box.” They are excited about coming to Loveland to check out the “Sculpture Games” (www.thesculpturegames.com) in July. As Sam told Louis in Casablanca,“this (is) the start of a beautiful friendship…”

Megan Tracy, artistic director for Arts @ the Feed & Grain, hit the ground running and programmed Second Friday @ the Feed & Grain on June 14. The In the Meantime Gallery featured works by three local visual artists; outside in the parking lot, craftspeople set up their tents, a gourmet food cart offered tantalizing morsels – all of these activities generating pedestrian activity and economic benefit for the artists involved.

Expanding the age diversity at the Feed & Grain, Anna Maddox, of Anna’s Art Explorers, hosted an interactive kids’ art table to give kids of all ages a chance to try their hand at making art. Thanks to the support from the ArtPlace America grant and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, Anna’s Art Explorers will be featured participants at many of our future community events

Volunteers from Novo Restoration, the grass roots group originally formed to save the Feed & Grain from demolition, offered tours of the historic building and multi-instrumental artist Richard Geppinger and cellist Allison Sheldon, who had not met before, jammed on the porch for a rapt audience.

Community Foundation of Northern Colorado representative Phil Farley, A@FG  artistic director Megan Tracy and friends thank ArtPlace America!  Photo by Alanna Brake, Lucky Brake, Ltd.

Community Foundation of Northern Colorado representative Phil Farley, A@FG
artistic director Megan Tracy and friends thank ArtPlace America!
Photo by Alanna Brake, Lucky Brake, Ltd.

And we’ve only just begun to program arts events and create new reasons for our community to gather and celebrate…

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On July 12, 2013 from 1-9pm and July 13, 2013 from 11-7pm, “Arts @ the Feed & Grain” will host the ultimate sculpture challenge: “The Sculpture Games.” Celebrating the second year of an unlikely and highly productive partnership, Uncle Benny’s, a local building supply store and salvage yard, will outfit the outdoor space at the Feed & Grain with scrap metal, wood, junk, and other randomly selected objects. Ten Artists teams will weld, wire, glue, sew and otherwise assemble these items into fine art sculptures during the interactive and timed competition. The public is invited to come watch the artists work, enjoy fine art at In The Meantime Gallery, and shop at the artist marketplace that will pop up in the new parking lot just north of the Feed & Grain.

Local knitters will be yarn-bombing the iconic 1940’s green truck outside the Feed & Grain. Local artist, Sheron Rowland, will organize a group of knitters to “cover whatever is broken on the truck with lovely yarn.”

In the spirit of partnership and leveraging resources, the Sculpture Games will be held on the same weekend as “Loveland Loves BBQ and Blues,” a festival which draws crowds annually from all over Northern Colorado. Organizers of both events are cross-promoting their celebrations so more of Loveland’s creative sector can be shared.

The Feed & Grain’s signature mascot truck will be yarn-bombed in July during The Sculpture Games.

The Feed & Grain’s signature mascot truck will be yarn-bombed in July during The Sculpture Games.

We don’t know exactly where this journey of discovery and creative placekmaking will lead, but we are looking forward to listening to our artists and our community so that Arts @ the Feed & Grain can amplify the creative potential of Loveland’s iconic Feed & Grain and make the West Loveland (WeLov) arts district a place in which people want to visit, live, work — and linger.