A holiday season recommendation from the HART

Column by John Akal
Posted 11/17/20

As we can all plainly see, this holiday season is going to be drastically different than anything anyone has ever experienced. As COVID cases spike and drop and spike again, we are living in a liquid …

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A holiday season recommendation from the HART


As we can all plainly see, this holiday season is going to be drastically different than anything anyone has ever experienced. As COVID cases spike and drop and spike again, we are living in a liquid state of existence with restrictions and recommendations constantly changing like the ebb and flow of an ocean tide.

Wow, I just re-read that last sentence. Makes me sound like some kind of accomplished novelist, huh? Well, let me put it in more down-to-earth terms. We’re in the middle of a mass pandemic with mass confusion as to what we can and can’t do from day to day. I know that some people choose to avoid reading or watching the news, but things are changing so often that you really need to check on what’s going on in your area every day. We have a lot of mandated restrictions, but not a lot of inspiring solutions offered from the government officials that you might expect to give us some guidance. The truth is, this is such an unprecedented state of affairs that involves people in so many diversified situations and occupations that it’s been pretty much left up to the public to figure out their own ways of making things work and keeping everyone safe. There’s no cookie cutter solution that’s going to work for all of us, just a general framework that needs to be built on.

With that said, some people are kind of at their wits ends or financially drained to the point that they just can’t get creative and build on that framework. But there are others who have stood back for a moment, looked at the canvas that they have to work with and started painting a different picture with new colors and subject matter. One of the latter organizations is right here in Golden, and is primed to pull one of our local holiday traditions out of the fire and rework it into a new format that’s going to be safe for everyone this year and keep it going strong.

I’m talking about the Foothills Art Center and its annual 46th Annual Holiday Art Market ( or HART for short.) If you have been reading this column for a long time you already know that this is one of my favorite places to go for my holiday shopping and I was really worried that it might not happen this year. But, they have put together something that is really amazing and probably the best thought out and well organized event that I have seen anywhere this year. They put a lot of effort into this.

For those of you who haven’t been to the HART, it features dozens of the top local artists selling everything including handcrafted jewelry, woven textile garments, paintings, sculptures, pottery, holiday ornaments, hand made cards and pretty mush anything artistic that you could imagine. The craftsmanship is top notch and all artists are screened to provide you with the highest quality selection of talent in the area.

But, they are also very consciences about keeping everyone, including their artists, staff and volunteers safe this year and have implemented some excellent ideas and changes to their operation.

First of all, admission is always free, but this year you will need to reserve a ticket in advance with a specific time. They are limiting your visit to one hour, and have a 50 person cap on how many visitors they will allow in at one time. So, they have time slots every half hour with 25 tickets so they can have a bit of overlap to get to the 50 person cap per hour. Thursdays are now Member’s Only days.

They will be requiring masks and social distancing, no exceptions. Plus they will also be providing hand sanitizer up on your arrival and departure. Also, there will be one-way traffic throughout the event to prevent congestion at some of the narrow points of the building and all staff will be given periodic temperature checks. Here’s where they started thinking outside the box a little bit more. They will be offering a shopping experience through Zoom as well as putting together a limited on-line store that will enable you to shop from home and drop by to pick up your purchased items.

The HART will be open daily starting with a Members Preview on Thursday, November 19 and running through December 29th. For more information and to reserve a ticket go to www.foothillsartcenter.org.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at jaimaging@aol.com


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