Steamboat Creates announces new, virtual Creative Mixers |

Steamboat Creates announces new, virtual Creative Mixers

Steamboat Creates started Creative Mixers, hosted via Zoom, to encourage discussion and bring a sense of community and connection while experiencing art.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Creates has announced plans to host four live Zoom discussions covering various topics relevant to the creative arts world. The first, which took place Wednesday, asked the question, “How can Steamboat’s arts and culture society emerge as a leader in our state in adapting programming and events as a result of COVID-19”?

All discussions are open to the public and focus on the question “why create?” Subsequent topics include the responsibility of creatives during times of global disruption; how arts and culture can be used to inspire; and lastly, ways to showcase creativity in a way that makes it feel real to others.

“The weekly Creative Mixers are the place where we can ask, ‘How can Steamboat be a leader for our country in the role arts and culture plays in healing, in laughing, in grieving and in escaping?” Steamboat Creates Development Director Dagny McKinley said.

The idea for the mixers stemmed from a community need to connect.

“After our first virtual First Friday Artwalk, we heard that people were missing the community feel. They wanted to be able to talk to one another, not just be a passive audience for streaming events,” McKinley explained.

Over the past year, Steamboat Creates has held several salons — events hosted by a notable member of the creative community that bring together individuals from different industry sectors and private citizens to discuss arts and culture. The mixers are based on this concept, which also honors Eleanor Bliss, one of the founding members of Steamboat Creates.

“What we know about Eleanor Bliss is that she was passionate and determined to bring arts and culture to Routt County,” McKinley said. “She turned the Depot (Art Center) into a home for creativity. When we had to close the Depot, I asked myself, ‘What would Eleanor Bliss do now?’”

The answer, according to McKinley and the rest of the Steamboat Creates team, was to find a way to keep the conversation about arts and culture going.

Upcoming Creative Mixers

Creative Mixers take place 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through May 20. Visit for information on Zoom meeting logins.

  • May 6: Why create? What is the responsibility of artists and creatives during times of global disruption?
  • May 13: Creating positivity — How we can use arts and culture to inspire, engage and lift people’s spirits
  • May 20: More Than On-line
    What are on-line ways to showcase creativity that make the experience feel real to people?

Steamboat Creates will use Zoom calls and separate people into chat rooms of about 10  to 15 people for the experience, depending on how many people attend. A series of questions and prompts will be used to get the discussion flowing.

The organization has done just that, implementing several new online programs in the past few weeks. Sylvie Piquet, program director of Steamboat Creates, has been sharing art projects for children of all ages and hosting weekly yoga classes. And First Friday Artwalk, which usually involves strolling Lincoln Avenue to visit galleries, went virtual for the first time earlier this month and received over 400 live views, with several hundred more after the fact.

The organization has plans for the next virtual First Friday Artwalk to involve different chat rooms where people can actually speak with artists and museum curators.

“Creative people need a community to share with,” said Barb King, Steamboat Creates’ visual arts coordinator. “Our challenge has been to keep that sense of community without actually being together.”

King will co-host the Zoom discussions with the hope they will serve as a good creative outlet for Steamboat’s community.

“Creatives in our community are struggling financially, emotionally and even creatively,” McKinley said. “We are trying to band together to support them and the nonprofit organizations that are going to suffer horribly this summer due to less tourism, more restrictions on gatherings and additional fallout that we don’t even understand, yet. The way we start is with ideas, and that’s what we hope these Creative Mixers will generate — ideas.”

The mixers are also open to the community as a whole.

“If you work in the coal mines or agriculture or outdoor recreation, or you just love Steamboat, we would love to have you join,” McKinley said. “You may have an idea that could change the way we see the world.”

Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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