Lyon art festival returns to River Bend after COVID hiatus

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Birds were panting from the heat in the treetops, but the shade below and the backdrop of the North St. Vrain creek created a serene atmosphere on Sunday for the return of the Art at River Bend show to Lyon.

A collaboration between the Boulder County Arts Alliance (BCAA), the Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission and the City of Lyon, the event returned from a two-year COVID hiatus featuring nearly 40 artists from the area, demonstrations of art and several food trucks at the Lyons Farmette and the River Bend space.

Boulder artist Cheryl Walker enjoys her first art exhibition in Lyon on Sunday (Jennifer LeDuc/staff writer)

For some creatives, it was their first return to the post-pandemic art exhibition scene, and for some it was their first exhibition as an artist.

Kathleen LeRoy is a psychotherapist. She started painting about seven years ago and describes her style as otherworldly.

“I just don’t know what’s coming until it comes out,” LeRoy said.

Two weeks before the Marshall fire, in mid-December, LeRoy completed an acrylic-on-canvas painting she titled “The Arrival.” The large room features abstract figures juxtaposed against a horizon painted in touches of red, gold and orange.

“To me, they feel like refugees,” LeRoy said. And through her smile, she cries. “It brings me to tears just to talk about it, to know how people are still moved.”

Although she felt a bit vulnerable bringing the piece to the public for the first time, support from the BCAA and the Arts Commission made her first performance easier.

“I love being here on the river. Lyons is so supportive of the arts,” LeRoy said.

A few meters from the river bank, Mystie Brackett, a former board member of the Lyon Commission for the Arts and Humanities, explored the wearable art of jeweler Leslie Maya-Charles.

“It’s nice to be here today. I just wish I had a few thousand to spend on jewelry,” Brackett said, putting down a silver pendant and a cerulean wedge of two-thousand-year-old sea glass imported from Israel. She said it was important to the community and to the artist that the art exhibit return.

“Lyon is essentially a city of art,” said Brackett, a resident of Lyon. “Whether visual arts or music, art is the fabric of Lyon. And it’s important that we come back and reconnect with the arts.

Boulder artist Cheryl Walker was hoping to attract a buyer for her painting of the Flatirons of Boulder. Hours into the show, she had yet to close a sale and, despite the heat, was happy to be among other performers in the area. Walker moved to Boulder from Los Angeles in 2020.

“Boulder’s art scene is like a small town,” Walker said. “It’s so much easier to bond here, and when you meet again, they remember you.”

Benjamin Zink, from Burgdorf, was delighted to be back at the show, one of the few he and his wife Charlotte have committed to this year.

“It’s so good to be back,” Zink said. “It’s texture. You can feel it. We don’t shake hands or hug, but it’s smiles all around.

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