ArtWalk is ready for Summer in the Streets this year.
Starting July 3, ArtWalk makes a return to downtown Longmont, taking over the breezeways and alleys, filling them with art and music.
Kicking off the event is the Longmont Symphony Orchestra’s brass quintet, which will bring Up Close and Patriotic to St. Stephen’s plaza from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Organized by the Firehouse Art Center, in collaboration with the Longmont Downtown Development Association, or LDDA, Summer on the Streets will bring art markets, live music, theater performances and interactive art projects every Saturday from July 3 to August 21.
“We were super impressed with the Firehouse and ArtWalk team last year, we thought they did such a great job bringing bits and pieces of ArtWalk to a smaller format,” said LDDA event coordinator Colin Argys. “We heard a lot of feedback that people loved coming downtown on Saturdays and knowing there was something happening that they could participate with their families.”
The excitement will pack the breezeways and alleys at the 300 east, 400 west and 500 east blocks of Main Street. Local musicians will be on hand to serenade the public in two hour sets, giving downtown visitors plenty of variety while they peruse creative wares and take in live art demonstrations.
Firehouse Executive Director Elaine Waterman wanted to make the events friendly and welcoming to families and kids of all ages, which includes inviting young musicians like Lia Ditslear to take the stage. Ditslear, who graduated from Skyline High School this year, played Summer on the Streets last year as well.
“I feel like ArtWalk is a really good opportunity and I feel honored that I get this chance to express myself in public. It’s really great that ArtWalk embraces and nurtures young artists like myself,” Ditslear said.
Setting up near the 400 west block, the Firehouse Art Center will have bags of arts and crafts for the kids. Each Saturday, Longmont artist Samantha Crossland will put on a live art demonstration in support of local nonprofit Parents Step Up.
Other unique events include a performance by Butterfly Effect Theatre of Colorado on July 17 and the return of the Chalkmont chalk drawing festival on August 21.
Waterman felt like they took some lessons from last year’s Summer in the Streets to heart. The COVID pandemic had still been fresh, forcing the organization to pivot into something new on short notice, since large gatherings and block parties were still restricted for public safety.
“Our lesson was to not try and plan a gigantic summer weekend festival in two weeks,” Waterman laughed. “We started booking out artists and musicians a few months ago and filled up pretty quickly.”
Due to funding and support from the LDDA and other sponsors, Summer on the Streets was able to offer artists their booths for free and musicians are getting paid for their sets.
“It’s still a paid gig for musicians,” Waterman said. “We know they are still struggling with gigs getting cancelled because of the pandemic so we know that it helps.”
Maps and a detailed schedule of the events are available online, both on the ArtWalk website and social media. There are still some booths available for artists, depending on the weekend. Interested creatives can register online or reach out to the Firehouse directly.
Summer on the Streets wraps on August 21, but ArtWalk will have a more traditional festival on September 11 in conjunction with Longmont’s 150th Birthday Bash.
“We’re really excited to bring ArtWalk to the new normal, and we’re partnering with the city and LDDA to make it a celebration of Longmont’s history,” Waterman said. “We also want to celebrate Longmont coming together these past couple years to not only survive the pandemic but come back even stronger.”