This month (and part of the next) something amazing is happening in your collective backyard.
The Green Box Arts Festival, held June 18 through July 4 in Green Mountain Falls, features world-class dancers, performers, musicians and more—many of which are free.
With celebrations canceled in 2020 and curtailed in 2021 due to the pandemic, the festival returns in full force with some fantastic offerings.
This year, something very special will be unveiled at the annual festival alongside the internationally renowned dance company Ballet Hispanico, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, outdoor sculptures, theatrical performances, cooking classes, artist talks and concerts.
James Turrell’s Green Mountain Falls Skyspace will open to the public at the start of the festival.
The Green Box on their Facebook page: “One of our most ambitious projects to date, we are delighted to welcome James Turrell’s Green Mountain Falls Skyspace to the Green Mountain Falls landscape as part of the new Red Butte Recreation Area. Every unique skyspace in the world is a naked-eye observatory where visitors see a sky through an opening in the ceiling called an oculus.”
The skyspace here is one of only 85 in the world and the only one in Colorado.
“James Turrell is known for cultivating peaceful and powerful environmental artworks that focus on human cognition,” Green Box co-founder Christian Keesee said in a press release.
“His skyspaces can be understood as creative observatories – a combination of architecture, sculpture and atmosphere, perfectly positioned in nature.”
Turrell uses light and space in an observatory-like structure built on Red Butte. Watch a 3-minute video about Skyspace produced by Green Box at greenboxarts.org/skyspace/.
The project, commissioned by the Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation, involved building a trailhead and trail to the site, and incorporated stone from Colorado quarries and beetle-killed pines, as well as steel and concrete to build the Skyspace structure .
That experience “is very difficult to put into words,” Green Box associate director Scott Levy told The Gazette. “I found them very meditative and contemplative and kind of otherworldly,” said Levy, who has visited other Turrell Skyspaces around the world.
Established in 2009, the Green Box Arts Festival was co-founded by Keesee, a New York City-based philanthropist and Chairman of Kirkpatrick Bank and Kirkpatrick Oil & Gas Co., and Larry Keigwin, a New York City-based choreographer and artistic director Keigwin + Co.
The Kirkpatrick family has long been associated with the GMF community, having built a summer cottage in the community in the early 1900’s
“The festival began as an artist-in-residence program with Keigwin’s troupe and has expanded following strong interest from the city and surrounding communities. The event has attracted up to 1,000 people in recent years and has expanded to include music, culinary arts and a host of classes and activities including yoga, stargazing, artist talks, wine tasting and bingo,” wrote The Gazette last year.
There are more than 50 activities at the festival, which also includes children’s play activities, stunt dog shows, stand-up comedy and outdoor film screenings. It’s a phenomenal lineup.
With all that it has to offer, the festival is still a well-kept secret. So pssst. Be quiet, but maybe invite some friends over and head over to greenboxarts.org now (if you haven’t already) to reserve seats at the free events or pay a small fee for some of the others (just $5 for most Skyspaces). shows, $10 for a Ballet Hispanico performance, and $15 for a yoga class!)
Many of the activities are either full, already sold out, or running out of availability, so don’t delay.
Courier Editor Michelle Karas has called the Pikes Peak region home since 2015. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.