Evidence continues to mount that Mancos indeed is on the move.The town that is no longer of the sleepy Western variety will host its fifth annual Mancos Valley Mesa Verde Country Balloon Festival this weekend, and the forces behind Mancos' cultural revolution have turned the event into a three-day party promising a lot more than hot air.
To be sure, the skies will be filled with the brightly colored orbs (weather permitting), and patrons can take in the changing leaves from high above the valley all weekend. But the downtown renaissance will be equally visible, with Veryl Goodnight's namesake gallery again assuming a cornerstone role.
Goodnight and fellow sculptor Patsy Davis are two of the most venerable artists in the West when it comes to bronze sculpture. On Saturday, the duo will explain what it takes to achieve such status in their "Before Bronze" demonstration at the Goodnight Trail Gallery. It's a show-and-tell about the bronze casting process from start to finish, and the original clay representations of Davis and Goodnight's past, current and future sculptures will be on display.
"The point of the show isn't to have an art sale; it's to show and educate people about the process," Davis said.
"We have the clay work and the bronze casting of the clay work so we can show what it looks like when you make it and when it's been cast. The process is archaic and really hasn't changed since the Romans did it," she said.
Both artists are known for their attention to detail and realism, but the clay models, notably Goodnight's "A New Beginning" and Davis' "Stock" series of bovines, reveal even more intricacies than the finished bronzes.
Goodnight's is only one of several galleries and other businesses that will keep odd hours this weekend, including neighboring Arborena.
The café and gallery, which not surprisingly features artists with an appreciation for trees and the great outdoors, has a new reason to celebrate. Earlier this month, Arborena artist-owner Rena Wilson finally overcame a red-tape battle to establish Mancos' first bona-fide fine wine bar.
The town's two primary thoroughfares, Main Street and Grand Avenue, will be closed to cars for most of the weekend to make way for a street carnivalesque atmosphere including an antique car show, food and music, highlighted by Juni Fisher's concert tonight in the renovated historic Mancos Opera House.