Art, outdoors come together in Green Box Arts Festival outside Colorado Springs

Published: June 27, 2016   •   By: Cassie Heeke



1 p.m. Sunday through July 4, full schedule and map available online, Green Mountain Falls, most events free, workshop prices vary, online registration required for many classes and events; 465-3065,

The Green Box Arts Festival boasts a strong foundation in dance. One of its co-founders, choreographer Larry Keigwin, has been dancing professionally in New York City for nearly a quarter century, and this year marks the 10th that he will bring his contemporary dance company to Green Mountain Falls.

It's an ideal place to mix art and the outdoors, he said.

The festival, in its eighth year, begins Sunday and ends with a Fourth of July celebration. And it's more than simply a place to be entertained. The festival offers yoga classes, workshops and, principally, a chance for artists to work.

"Every year it is an artist-in-residency program, a place for artists to come and create works of art in the atmosphere of the beauty of Green Mountain Falls," said Rachel Shortt, a spokesperson for the festival.

Keigwin's group of dancers, Keigwin + Company, first became Green Mountain Falls artists in residence in 2007, when festival co-founder Christian Keesee specifically sponsored a program for them. Two years later, Keesee and Keigwin organized the festival to allow more artists to experience the area and create in an extraordinary space.

Over the course of this year's festival, Keigwin + Company will collaborate with Emmy-nominated composer Adam Crystal to form a dance that will debut July 2. Crystal is most recognized for his work in composing the ballet music for "Flesh and Bone," a Starz miniseries.

While Keigwin has a packed schedule, he said he makes time for the festival because it's something he believes in.

"I also have a home in Green Mountain Falls so it makes it extra special," he said. "I want to invest in the community."

Another dance company, Oklahoma City Ballet, also will create and perform works. The group includes 36 international dancers and is known in this area for collaborating with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic to perform "The Nutcracker."

Outside of dance, this year's installation artist is sculptor Patrick Dougherty, who works with tree saplings to create large-scale works, some of which have been featured in Scotland, Japan and Belgium. The piece he's constructing for Green Box is titled "The Green Footprint," a 12-foot undulating form that Dougherty said will encourage exploration.

"I always look for starting points when planning a work, and in this case I was interested in the petroglyphs of the area and, particularly, renderings of the human form," Dougherty said. "I thought the wild pattern of feet might make an interesting starting point."

A few vocal ensembles will perform at the festival, and workshops will teach skills such as photography and jewelry making.

Keigwin said if anything is different about this year, he hopes for more young people to come out and taste the creative process.

"It's an opportunity for students to immerse themselves," he said.

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