Once a month, Old Colorado City comes alive in an artistic effort to make art feel more accessible.
On Friday, West Colorado Avenue between 23rd Street and 27th Street was home to elephants, tigers, magicians, artists and gawkers, part of ArtWalk, which happens the first Friday of every month from April to December.
"We make it such a big event because it invites people that may not normally think art is for them, fine art especially," said Liese Chavez, co-owner of the Chavez Gallery in Old Colorado City. "Some people may feel uncomfortable coming into galleries. We are trying to bridge that gap."
Chavez owns the gallery with her husband Kris, who was dressed as a tiger. Liese dressed as a magician, and Kateyln Sturt, a former intern at the galler, was an elephant.
The theme was The Curious Carnival, and the evening included games with prizes, a fortune teller and - of course - circus- and carnival-themed art. Liese Chavez said The Curious Carnival is the gallery's biggest show of the year, and gallery owners use it as an opportunity to encourage residents to have an opinion about art.
"It can really inspire people to try their own thing because there's lots of different types of art, and it's fun to see all the different types of art," Sturt said.
Some venues lower prices or have deals to take advantage of the attention the ArtWalk brings.
"It's a chance to experience a lot more than during the day," said Lisa Baker, manager of The Michael Garman Museum and Gallery. "We run specials, and I know that a lot of studios upstairs open up. It's really great to allow so many more people to come through and see what we got."
Manitou Springs resident Julie Wolfe, attending the ArtWalk for the second time, said the event is a respite from daily life.
"It's a way to push away all the trouble of the world and try to appreciate beauty and art and people coming together to enjoy art," Wolfe said.