The 20th Biennial Celebrates 30 years of ArtWear

Gary and Carol Ann Hixon are undeniably the creative force behind ArtWear Fashion Week, which has evolved into the ArtWear Biennial. The Hixons visit to the San Francisco Design Center in 1985 led to a chance encounter with an artwear show and auction. Soon, the Hixons started to visit other artwear shows across the country. After learning what went into creating a successful event, they decided it would be fun to bring a show to Fort Collins. Teaming up with The Lincoln Center in 1992, ArtWear was born.

Fort Collins artist Bob Coonts has also been involved with ArtWear since its beginning in 1992. Many in the Fort Collins community are familiar with Bob Coonts’ colorful and often whimsical paintings. However, it was in 1994, after 31 years in graphic design and illustration, he launched his fine art career creating paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works. The poster for the first ArtWear event combined artwork of four artists: Bob Coonts, John Gravdahl, Paul Jensen and Melanie Metz. Since then, Bob Coonts has designed every poster for the event. He was joined by fellow designer John Schiller in 1996 and the pair have continued to work together to create the event posters since then.

The ArtWear Biennial returns to The Lincoln Center Friday, October 7, with a fully staged fashion show and continues the following week with a sales gallery featuring all the artists’ work. ArtWear highlights artists who create one-of-a-kind wearable art. The ArtWear event presents innovative work of the highest quality, materials and techniques—that you can add to your wardrobe—and is a fundraiser for The Lincoln Center’s Visual Arts Program. A preview exhibit starts September 17 in The Lincoln Center Art Gallery and features What a Fungi by Kristi Siedow-Thompson, worn by drag queen Yvie Oddly for RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 7.

Tickets to the ArtWear Fashion Show on October 7, including exclusive VIP opportunities for post-show and pre-show shopping, are available at

Gary and Carol Ann Hixon enjoy the 2008 ArtWear Sales Gallery.

A World of New and Unexpected Music

The pounding of drums and the murmur of a cello morphs into an anthem, an invocation, a wild mixture of sounds. Crimson beads and towering black lambs-wool hats serve as a striking backdrop for an unexpected, refreshingly novel vision of Eastern European roots music. This is the sound of the self-proclaimed “ethno-chaos” band DakhaBrakha, a group that feels both intimately tied to their homeland of Ukraine and instantly accessible to audiences worldwide—including those who are lucky enough to see them live in Fort Collins at The Lincoln Center on September 21, 2022.

“We just want people to know our culture exists,” muses Marko Halanevych of DakhaBrakha. “We want people to know as much as possible about our corner of the world.”

The quartet does far more than introduce Ukrainian music or prove it is alive and well. They craft stunning new sonic worlds for traditional songs, reinventing their heritage with a keen ear for contemporary sounds. With one foot in the urban avant-garde theater scene and one foot in the richness of Ukraine’s rural cultural past, DakhaBrakha shows the full fury and sensuality of some of Eastern Europe’s most breathtaking folklore.

Ukrainian music has languished in relative obscurity, though it is diverse and sophisticated involving complex polyphonic singing, instrumental virtuosity, Asian influences and Western harmonies.

DakhaBrakha’s three female vocalists have spent many summers traveling around Ukraine’s villages collecting songs and learning from elder women in remote areas. Like these village tradition-bearers, they have spent years singing together—a fact that resonates in the beautifully close, effortlessly blended sound of their voices. Marko also grew up steeped in village life and draws on his rural upbringing when contributing to the group.

As young musicians and actors, the members of DakhaBrakha were determined to break away from purist recreations and from the stale, sentimental, post-Soviet remnants of an ideology-driven folk aesthetic. Urged on by Vladyslav Troitsky, an adventuresome theater director at the DAKH Center for Contemporary Art, a cornerstone of the Kyiv arts underground, the group resolved to create something radically different. They wanted to experiment, discover and put Ukrainian material in a worldly context, without divorcing it from its profound connection to land and people.

“The beginning was pretty primitive,” recalls Halanevych. “We tried to find rhythms to match the melodies. We tried to shift the emphasis of these songs. We know our own material, our native music well, yet we wanted to get to know other cultures and music well. We started with the Indian tabla, then started to try other percussion instruments. But we didn’t incorporate them directly; we found our own sounds that helped us craft music.”

Through this experimentation and repurposing of instruments from other cultures to serve DakhaBrakha’s own sound, the band was guided by restraint, an elemental approach that owed a debt to the emotionally charged minimalism of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. “At the same time as we explored ethnic music, we got interested in minimalism, though never in a way that was literal or obvious,” Halanevych explains. “The methods of minimalism seemed to us to be very productive in our approach to folk. The atmospheric and dramatic pieces that started our work together were created by following that method.”

This mix of contemporary, cosmopolitan savvy and intimacy with local traditions and meanings cuts to the heart of DakhaBrakha’s bigger mission: To make the world aware of the new country but ancient nation that is Ukraine. “It’s important to show the world Ukraine and to show Ukrainians that we don’t need to have an inferiority complex. That we’re not backward hicks, but progressive artists. There are a lot of wonderful, creative people here, people who are now striving for freedom, for a more civilized way of life, and are ready to stand up for it.”

Experience DakhaBrakha’s unique and culturally impactful sound in a rare Northern Colorado appearance on September 21, 2022, at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center. Seats start at $15 and are available at

UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies becomes northern Colorado’s first Level I Trauma Center

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently designated UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR) as a Level I Trauma Center, making it the first and only hospital in northern Colorado with the highest classification for adult trauma care.

Level I recognizes the hospital can treat severe and complex injuries, giving residents of northern Colorado rapid access to top-level emergency and trauma care without a trip to metro Denver.

“It truly takes a village to care for a patient, especially our most critically injured patients,” said Dr. Warren Dorlac, the hospital’s trauma medical director. “It starts with EMS and law enforcement in the field. Then at the hospital, it’s the nurses, doctors and technicians. It’s also everyone in the laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, the operating room, the intensive care unit, nutrition, environmental services, therapists and everyone in between.”

That “village” also includes the altruistic community members who donate blood at UCHealth Garth Englund Blood Donation Center in Fort Collins and Loveland. The donation center supplies blood products to Medical Center of the Rockies, as well as Poudre Valley Hospital, Greeley Hospital, Longs Peak Hospital and Estes Park Medical Center.

Learn more on how you can donate blood and save lives.