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Young artists program in development

Brianna Kole, founder of Young Bloods Collective, a new program for young artists in Routt County, stands outside the caboose at the Depot Art Center. The caboose will serve as the group's future headquarters following renovation.
Brooke Bumgarner

If You Go...

What: Second Young Bloods Collective meeting

When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13

Where: The Caboose, located outside of the Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

— Whether it is careful strokes of pale blue onto a canvas, tap shoes dancing across the stage or new aromas spilling from the oven, young artisans who live in Routt County will now have somewhere to collaborate and share their passions.

“It can be discouraging to want to get involved but not see your place,” said Brianna Kole, founder of Young Bloods Collective, a program in development for young artists throughout the community. “We are hoping to change the tides here with Young Bloods.”

The group will embrace all forms of artistic expression, ranging from dancing, painting, acting, culinary arts to many other creative outlets. The collective has the potential to be a program under the Steamboat Springs Arts Council umbrella and will be housed in the caboose, located outside of the Depot Art Center. After the historic caboose was donated to the city in 1995, it wasn’t put to much use, however, after Arts Council Executive Director Kim Keith came across it, an idea blossomed.



“The visioning started, and I was like, ‘how do we bring life back to this?’” said Keith.

After having no luck finding the keys, she decided to do what everyone else does and simply climb in through the caboose’s window. When she got inside, it was filthy from years of vandalization but volunteers helped to clean it up to get it ready for renovation this summer.



“This organic conversation has just been developing, and I really want life in it and I want a young leader for it,” said Keith. “I’m giving Brianna guidance and a lot of freedom in it too, and that combination works beautifully. The Arts Council is meant to represent all art forms, and when talking to Brianna, she was saying ‘oh, I want poets in here and dancers and more.’ Her vision and the Arts Council were just so in line.”

“We want to give young artists a place in the world to be heard and seen,” Kole said.

By the end of the summer, Kole hopes to have the caboose renovation completed, The project involves installation of new plumbing and new floors and replacement of windows. The diesel-burning stove that is currently inside must also be removed.

Although the project does have a small budget, Young Bloods is actively looking for volunteers and accepting donations and sponsorships.

The caboose’s front space will act both as a headquarters for Young Bloods and feature a gallery space where artists can showcase their work, which will be changed out monthly. Meanwhile, the back of the caboose will serve as Kole’s studio or an artist residency space in the future.

Membership in Young Bloods will give young artists exposure to events, workshops and exhibits. The group will also host monthly art critiques, which will serve the purpose of helping artists grow and prepare for future artistic endeavors, and create an artist mentorship program.

“There is plethora of amazing artists here,” Kole said. “We really want to integrate with them, not exclude them, but find a way to bridge that gap.”

To be a member of the collective, artists will be required to be artist members at the Arts Council, which costs $50 a year, and actively participate in the Young Bloods’ exhibits and shows.

“I know young artists are here,” Kole explained, “but there hasn’t really been a great meeting point or place where we can find each other, until now.”

The second Young Bloods meeting will held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 at the caboose.

“The bigger broader vision is engaging part of our community, the young artists and their creative endeavors,” Keith said.


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