Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted but I’ve been a bit busy trying to get my new life together. If you’ve been following along with my journey, you know that I spent about two months living in Breckenridge, Colorado with some friends and my pets. Those two months were the perfect introduction back into the U.S and I spent my time chasing the cats out from under the bed, drinking craft beer, camping in the Rockies, watching the wildlife, reading every book I could get my hands on and falling in love with author, Richard Brautigan.
While Breckenridge is a tourist town, mainly geared towards winter sports lovers, I did uncover a relatively new concept that the town has delved into in order to diversify the options for tourists and bring in more visitors. That concept is…… BreckCreate. Appealing to those who love to learn, have a creative spirit or an affinity for art and culture, BreckCreate puts a whole new spin on Rocky Mountain tourism.
Not a big fan of snowboarding or skiing myself and essentially jobless for two months, I stumbled upon this arts facility and was immediately intrigued. Contacting the Director of Public Programs, Jenn Cram, I was able to uncover what BreckCreate was all about.
What Exactly is BreckCreate?
Essentially, BreckCreate is a small campus of renovated buildings located right off the main town strip. Each building functions differently to hold classes, workshops, seminars, a theater and special events. There are a few apartments to house visiting artists and a stroll through the campus may yield sights of them working on their crafts.
Otherwise known as Breckenridge Creative Arts, they are leading the economic development of Breckenridge through creative efforts. They collaborate with and support local and visiting artists, local businesses and various organizations to promote creativity, the arts, tourism and community involvement.
Through their various events, installations and educational opportunities, they aim to inspire, teach and change the way Breckenridge is viewed as a tourist destination. Upon her many duties which include curating exhibitions, maintaining the public art collection, commissioning new work and rotating exhibits, Jenn Cram works hard to bring a whole new group of tourists to Breckenridge.
Breck Create was officially established back in 2014 but the development of the campus actually began in 2001. The town started off with buying some property to turn into a theater space and continued purchasing property, old sheds and barns when they figured out how to adapt them into artist studios and creative spaces. In 2003, workshops started being held and in 2004, the arts district master plan was adopted. It wasn’t until 2006 that the first guest artist studio opened and between 2008 and 2012, more buildings were popping up all over the campus.
What do They Offer?
Well…. A LOT. Where to start is the real question. The offerings can be broken up into a few categories that consist of art exhibitions, craft workshops, speakers, community nights, art/dance/and exercise classes and events. To give you a better idea, here is a list of some of the items from their recent calendar:
- Winter Creativity Crawl: A showcase of creative businesses and entertainment in town.
- High County Holidays: Orchestra performance
- Alpine Vibes Winter Showcase: Dance performance
- An Evening With Kevin Smith
- Yesterday, the Beatles tribute
- Adult Coloring Night
- Fine Arts Festival
- Handmade Soy Candle Demo
- Lampworking Demo
Classes And Workshops
- Prenatal Yoga
- Ballet For Beginners
- Writer’s Workshop
- Acro Yoga
- Singing Bowls
- Marbling on Paper
- Songwriters Studio
- Drawing Still Life
- Stained Glass
- Latin Dance
- Make Your Own Earrings
In regards to the classes, Jenn said that the most popular were painting, drawing, jewelry making and ceramics (probably because people like to get their hands dirty.) The options for classes are wide and the staff at BreckCreate hope to expose people to fun, edgy and quirky ideas that they may have never encountered before. When asking what she wants people to take away from the classes, Jenn replied,
“I hope that they will take away that each one of us is creative, and given the space, tools and encouragement, we are capable of doing amazing things.”
The Importance of BreckCreate For Breckenridge
I absolutely love that Breckcreate exists, but mostly for selfish reasons. Aside from offering a non-snow activity for tourists, the concept allows locals to learn new skills all while giving a boost to Breck’s tourism industry. During my interview with Jenn, she said that,
“We hope that people will come to Breck just for the classes.”
She told me that tourists in the town are always looking for more to do and BreckCreate is striving to offer more experiences so that people may choose Breckenridge over other destinations.
I was curious to see if they were able to measure the effects of the facilities on tourism. Jen informed me that,
“It’s challenging to measure that. They are working with the tourism office to keep track as well as take surveys for determining out how people found out about it.”
How You Can Get Involved
There are a couple of different ways to get involved at BreckCreate:
- Take a Class: It’s one of the best ways to see what they are all about. Their website offers a monthly calendar so that you can see what is coming up and maybe even plan your trip around a class that seems interesting to you.
- Attend an Event: Whether it’s an art exhibition, a musical performance or a lecture, you can swing by to learn, meet others or just be entertained.
- Become a Visiting Artist: In an effort to support artists and expose the local community to new works, Breckcreate offers an artist residency program. Based on the excellence of their work, artists are approved to come live in one of the furnished apartments on site for two weeks to one month and continue their work in the studios. In exchange for the space, artists are required to give workshops and demonstrations to members of the community.
- Become a Volunteer: Applying to be a volunteer is a great way to give back to the community and get involved. Some positions on offer include:
–Ticket takers and ushers for shows.
–Street team marketers.
–Education department internships.
–Production and installation assistants.
On various trips to Breckenridge, I was able to spend time exploring the facilities. I’ve visited during rotating art exhibitions and community events which seemed to give the whole town something to look forward to. I also had the opportunity to take a writing course on campus and since the program was just starting up, there weren’t that many students, making the experience quite hands on. Taking advantage of their yoga program, I’ve done a couple of the free acro-yoga classes and absolutely loved them. If I lived in Breckenridge full-time, I can confidently say that I would be spending plenty of it over at BreckCreate.
If you happen to be in the area or are looking for a new winter vacation spot with a bit of an edge, don’t overlook Breckenridge, Colorado.