On Friday night, February 9, the Grand Arts Council presents “A Night with Elizabeth Kurtak” at O a Bistro in the lower level of Grand Lake’s Gateway Inn. The event brings back a traveling artist spotlight event held at various settings throughout Grand County. New Grand Arts Council President, Kathy Knight, wanted to find a way to give back to the community, and with no shortage of talented artists in the region, she wants to coordinate artist events like this regularly and further the celebration and recognition of local artists of all mediums in Grand County.

Knight is no stranger to the arts. A Colorado native, she is a former Grand Lake Art Gallery owner and has volunteered with the Grand Arts Council for the past seven years prior to taking the helm as Board President. When I spoke with her, she was excited to tell me that she also had three more artist exhibits in the planning stages and is looking for a place to host a Cowboy Poem reading, so if you have any ideas, you can reach out to her at the Grands Arts Council.  

The Grand Arts Council hosts the Grand Lake Artists in the Park, featuring music by local artists in the Gazebo in summer; the Grand Lake Art and Architecture Tour; Tombstone Tales, in the cemetery located in Rocky Mountain National Park; and, the Old Fashioned Holiday Craft Bazaar on the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving. On May 30, they are also hosting a Welcome Back Party for Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater at El Pacifico in Grand Lake. Admission to the event is $10, with a portion going back to RMRT.

Now in their 27th year, Grand Arts Council is a volunteer-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is dependent upon funds raised through various fundraising efforts and donations. To volunteer, donate, or find out more about their organization, visit their website: grandartscouncil.com

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Elizabeth this week at her studio in Fraser as she was preparing for the show and tending to her thrift store, the Fraser Mercantile. She’d just come off her second powder day in a row and was happy to talk about the upcoming show with me.

She started off by telling me how excited she is to participate in the event in Grand Lake. Having grown up in Grand County, Elizabeth spent her fourth through tenth years living in Grand Lake, and she is looking forward to sharing her artwork with residents and visitors on Friday evening.

This is Elizabeth’s twentieth year painting in the county and she has witnessed “a few other artists and galleries come and go” during this period. She said that she does what she does because she feels it represents her “best self”. She also told me that her path was not always headed toward art, but that it found her while she was in college.  She took an art course and found the class to be very easy, especially as compared to her other courses as a Biology major. She took more art courses and ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a minor in Biology.   

About a year ago, Elizabeth was able to purchase the giclee printer from the company that she previously ordered her prints. She said it has been a challenge to learn the technical nuances associated with operating this new piece of equipment, but having the ability to reproduce her artwork on-site has created a great opportunity for her to readily share more of her artwork.

Elizabeth stated that her goal for this Friday’s show is to “reach some new people in a new venue and reconnect with her Grand Lake roots”. She will be bringing an assortment of her artwork with her on Friday, including originals, giclees, and prints. The event is scheduled during normal dinner hours on the weekend of Grand Lake’s annual Winter Carnival, so by the end of the evening, a lot more people will be familiar with the artwork of Elizabeth Kurtak.

The event is at O a Bistro, in the lower level of the Gateway Inn in Grand Lake and runs from 5 – 9 pm.