Saturday, June 13, 2015

BreckCreate hosts Creativity Crawl, grand opening of Old Masonic Hall

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

Liam Doran / Breckenridge Creative Arts

On Saturday, June 13, from 6 to 9 p.m., Breckenridge Creative Arts will host a Creativity Crawl highlighted by the grand opening of Old Masonic Hall, the newly renovated historic building on the north corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue.
The Breckenridge Arts District studios will be animated, with local and regional artists demonstrating their unique skills and craftsmanship. Annie Kerr, with Wild Balance jewelry, will have a station in Old Masonic Hall, where she will be demonstrating the techniques she uses to create her handcrafted earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
“I use semiprecious stones, antiqued metals, sterling silver and 14-karat gold. They are all hand crafted, and generally, especially with the necklaces, I put a little asymmetrical flair on all of them. All of them are lightweight enough for the active High Country lifestyle.”
Other featured artists include Bernadette Foley with Breckenridge Candle Cabin, Erica Ragusa with Ambika Herbals and Therapy, and West Palm Beach, Florida, ceramic artists Ronald Shaw and Jeni Licata, who are in residence at the Robert Whyte House in the Breckenridge Arts District through Sunday, June 21.
Attendees are encouraged to start their art-hop at Old Masonic Hall, where a downtown map will be available, featuring participating galleries, restaurants and specialty shops. There also will be music provided by DJ Chris Diabolo, craft beverages from the Breckenridge Brewery and a whimsical art installation titled “Transitions” by Colorado artist Jennifer Ghormley.
Most recently known as Abby Hall, Old Masonic Hall was originally owned by Dr. B.A. “Braz” Arbogast and was used as a grocery store and a doctor’s office. A local Masonic Lodge purchased the building in 1905 for $800. A century later, locals John and Wendy Cooney bought it, and it was being used as a church when the town of Breckenridge purchased it in 2013.
Because of its many uses throughout its history, the hall had not retained much of its original historic material on the interior, said Jenn Cram, director of public programs and engagement for Breckenridge Creative Arts.
“The building had really been divided up into different rooms and compartmentalized, so one of the wonderful things about this rehabilitation is that we’ve really opened the floor plan back up and brought back the historic shine to it,” she said. “We reinterpreted the trim details and paneled the doors and brought back all of those period finishes to let the building breathe again.”
The most noticeable change is the storefront on Main Street, Cram said. BreckCreate partnered with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance to restore the front of the building to its original grandeur based on period photos, bringing back a historic piece of Main Street.
“You’ll remember that on the main pedestrian level, there was paneling and funky, non-historic windows,” Cram said. “You couldn’t really see inside the building, and now you can see in.”
Elegant hickory floors greet visitors from the Main Street entrance, which opens into a large exhibition space containing a display that interprets Masonic history and the history of the building. The remainder of the space is populated by pieces from artists working on the Arts District campus to get people excited about the different demonstrations and workshops taking place there.
“Right now, we have an installation from Jennifer Ghormley; she’s a paper artist and printmaker that teaches on campus,” Cram said. “In July, we’ll have a contemporary ceramics installation by Molly M. Then in August, we have an installation by San Francisco artist Julie Hughes, and she will be our guest artist at Robert Whyte. She is doing a cast paper installation.”
A large studio will accommodate more participants for children’s art camps and painting and photography workshops, and BreckCreate administrators will be leaving their horse-stall offices at Fuqua Livery Stable and settling into a new space in Old Masonic Hall in order to be more accessible to the public.
Stairs at the rear of the main-floor exhibit space lead to the upper level, home to a new multipurpose room, outfitted with barres and mirrors designed for dance and yoga.
“If we have a special project, we can use it for other mediums and special events, as well,” Cram said. “We also have a warming kitchen, which will make it really easy for caterers to come in.”
On the backside of the building, a plaza off the warming kitchen was designed and landscaped with blocky boulders and paving materials similar to those used in the Arts District, providing a visual connection between the two and establishing the Old Masonic Hall as part of the Breckenridge arts corridor.
“We think that it’s a wonderful addition to our historic Main Street,” Cram said of the newly refurbished building. “It’s going to be a wonderful addition to the Arts District because it gives us a presence on Main Street where we can greet people and educate them about what’s happening on campus.”
For more information, including a full listing of concerts, performances, festivals, workshops and special events in the Breckenridge Arts District, visit
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.