Friday through July 7, Green Mountain Falls, most events are free, some require pre-registration, go online for full schedule; greenboxarts.org
What began as a way for the New York City-based dance company Keigwin + Company to get away from the big city for part of the summer has turned into a decadelong celebration of the arts.
Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer. It runs Friday through July 7.
The roots of the festival began in 2006, when New York City-based philanthropist Christian Keesee invited the dance company for an artist-in-residency program in the tiny mountain town where he’d spent his summers as a boy. Other activities naturally sprouted up around the dancers and eventually grew into the festival it is today. The event now attracts 750 to 1,000 people and has broadened to include music, the culinary arts and scores of classes and activities, including yoga, stargazing, conversations with artists, wine tastings and bingo.
“It began from a personal place,” said Larry Keigwin, artistic director of Keigwin + Company and co-founder of the festival. “It gives me a warm fuzzy knowing that people appreciate it and how great it is to share art with that community.”
This year the festival will bring back one of its most popular installations — the Musical Swings by Daily tous les jours. The interactive swing set creates music with a single pump of the swinger’s legs. It made its debut in Green Mountain Falls in 2014. The swings are free to visit and ride and will be up through September.
“They were a sensation,” said Keigwin. “In general, there’s a lot more community engagement this summer. We just ran the numbers, and there are 51 events and activities, most of which are free. That’s 225 hours of open activities in nine days. That’s more than 24 hours a day.”
Five events worthy of heading up U.S. 24:
• Gospel Music Workshop of America: The Detroit-based organization promotes traditional and contemporary gospel music. The Colorado Springs chapter will perform from 7-8 p.m. Saturday, Church in the Wildwood, 10585 Ute Pass Ave., free, tickets required, register at greenboxarts.org/get- involved/register under music concerts.
• The Musical Swings: The interactive installation by Daily tous les jours undoubtedly will be the most memorable swing set you’ll ever ride. Each of the 10 swings activates different notes. Multiple riders can create musical pieces. On view through September, Gazebo Lake Park, free.
• Fourth of July with Joe Smith & the Spicy Pickles: The Denver swing band will return to celebrate the holiday with a 6:30 p.m. swing dance lesson and tunes from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Green Box Arts Farm Stand, 6990 Lake St., free.
• ArtDesk Conversations: The free lecture series features experts in art, music, dance and animal well-being, including Daily tous les jours, the creators of the Musical Swings; Larry Keigwin, festival co-founder and founder of the dance company Keigwin + Company; photographers the Hilton Brothers; animal welfare advocate Apryl Steele; Australian flutist Catherine Gregory; and British artist and sculptor Edwina Sandys, the granddaughter of Winston Churchill. Check online for times and locations; greenboxarts.org.
• Keigwin + Company and Ormao Dance Company present “Celebrates Bernstein”: The New York City-based dance company and the Colorado Springs company will perform to the music of composer Leonard Bernstein. Two of the three performances are sold out, but tickets are still available for the 2 p.m. July 7 show, Sallie Bush Community Building, 10795 Ute Pass Ave, free, must register for tickets at greenboxarts.org/register under dance performances.