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VISUAL ARTS

Galleries

Most local galleries are centralized in three major places, downtown, Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs, but there are plenty of fine businesses elsewhere in town and up in the Tri-Lakes area. We've named some good places to get familiar with, and when you're ready for more, go to csindy.com and search for all other galleries.

Arati Artists Gallery

2425 W. Colorado Ave., 636-1901 | aratiartists.com

"Arati" in Hindi means "to send a little light or beauty into the world," and acts as a fitting namesake for this 19-member gallery in OCC. Now in its 33rd year in the same location — across from Bancroft Park — Arati's regional artists offer a variety of well-priced pieces in painting, woodturning, bronze sculpture and jewelry.

Art Hardware

402 S. Nevada Ave., 635-2348

Art Hardware specializes in large-format printing, but this local business (a downtown entity since 1978) also hosts art shows in a corner of the building. Shows rotate out every couple months.

Boulder Street Gallery

206 N. Tejon St., 636-9358 | boulderstreetgallery.com

While a good independent source for framing, Boulder Street Gallery carries original fine art by Colorado Springs artists ranging from mixed media and painting to jewelry and pottery. It also hosts three to four exhibits per year, including last year's Hollywood icons spread by photographer Gene Trindl.

Commonwheel Artists Co-op

102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1008 | commonwheel.com

Best of 2009

Commonwheel pervades all seasons and creeds as a source for quintessentially Manitou Springs fine arts and crafts. With more than 30 years under its belt, the co-op offers pottery, ceramics, wall art and jewelry crafted by locals. Like the arcade up the street and the stream behind the building, this outlet is a cornerstone of the community.

Dero 72 Studios & Gallery

934 Manitou Ave., #103, Manitou Springs, 685-3376 | jermainerogers.com

The slick home of rock poster artist Jermaine Rogers is decked out with prints in numerous sizes, qualities and editions. Despite Rogers' high-profile work (creating posters for the likes of Weezer, David Bowie, the Deftones and Radiohead), his gallery is refreshingly low-key and affordable.

Duryea Fine Art

1003 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9050 | duryeafineart.com

An inconspicuous establishment across from Soda Springs Park, Duryea is the eponymous gallery for artist Bill, who works both in 2D and 3D with a signature phantasmagoric style of swirling landscapes and skies.

CLOSED: Gallery Two-Ten

210 E. Cimarron St., 632-2132 | gallerytwo-ten.com

Two years into its spacious location downtown, Two-Ten has fared the troubled economy well despite its emphasis on large-scale contemporary and abstract art. Owner Marianne Gunter represents 41 Colorado artists on the floor and boasts 15 studio spaces for rent in the building. Look out for monthly shows and receptions that open at varying times throughout the month.

Green Horse Gallery

729 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-0636 | greenhorsegallery.com

Now in its third year on Manitou Avenue, the former Filthy Wilma's is chock-full of original, handmade items ranging from functional and art pottery to textiles to paintings. It's artist-owned and operated, with 55 local and Colorado artists in its ... stable.

Hayden Hays Gallery at The Broadmoor

1 Lake Circle, 577-5744 | haydenhaysgallery.com

A high-end establishment tucked into The Broadmoor Hotel, Hayden Hays has seen some major changes this year under the new ownership of John Marzolf. While the main gallery will maintain its largely traditional direction of works by Colorado artists, Marzolf's team will look to add some modern works by "big-name" artists. A second nearby gallery, the Western and Wildlife Gallery, should open in April.

Kathleen McFadden's Range Gallery

2428 W. Colorado Ave., 685-1201 | rangegallery.com

McFadden's highly successful photography enterprise is sure to benefit from its spacious new location in OCC. There, admirers will enjoy better access to her large-scale live oak pictures, her innovative Third Dimension images or her warm Americana shots, all of which were taken with film or vintage cameras.

Lasko Fine Art

113 N. Tejon St., 577-4750

Snuggled behind a small storefront downtown, this nine-member gallery started a few years ago by local printmaker Geoff Lasko features prints and paintings by Colorado artists.

The Michael Garman Museum

2418 W. Colorado Ave., 471-9391 | michaelgarman.com

Known for his charmingly haggard cowboys, men of valor and seedy characters, local artist Michael Garman has earned international acclaim for his work. Buildings and whole city blocks, complete with mirrors that flip to reveal secret rooms through windows, provide homes for his sculptures. His building in OCC houses his production warehouse, a gallery and Magic Town, a 3,000-square-foot wing where ticket holders can explore a Garman city ($3-$7, kids 6 and younger are free).

Mountain Living Studio

741 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-0225 | mountainlivingstudio.com

Anchoring a corner on Manitou Avenue, six-year-old Mountain Living Studio holds the works of nearly 150 Colorado artists who work in painting, photos, fabric, furniture, stained glass and pottery. Spread over two floors, the collection has evolved to encompass both contemporary and traditional tastes. Check the gallery in person for monthly showcases and its Facebook page for sales and cool art-in-progress photo albums.

Squash Blossom

2531 W. Colorado Ave., 632-1899 | squashblossom.com

If you think the Squash Blossom only carries Southwestern jewelry, check again. This OCC fixture is a source for fine art and furniture, too, with a "well-rounded mix" of styles that vary from traditional to modern. The Blossom is also the sole local gallery to carry the work of renowned Springs painter Thomas Owen, who won his second American Watercolor Society's Mario Cooper and Dale Meyers Medal this year (described as an Oscar for watercolorists worldwide).


Our mini-districts

Our city has the seeds of some real contemporary arts districts, and although they may be district-lings at this point, these galleries deserve a turf of their own.

Nestled in an alley off Bijou Street, you'll find the Modbo (17C E. Bijou St., 633-4240) and Rubbish Gallery (17B E. Bijou St., 355-0280). The galleries started with a bit of animosity when former Rubbish co-owner Brett Andrus and Lauren Ciborowski opened the Modbo last spring, literally right next door to Rubbish. But now the spaces have reached a happy accord, wedded by the standout two-gallery Rodney Wood retrospective earlier this year.

The Modbo is a reliable source for weekend music as well as the occasional painting class. Rubbish, meanwhile, recently celebrated its four-year anniversary and opened a show in partnership with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

Anchoring the Depot Arts District under the Colorado Avenue bridge is the formidable Smokebrush Gallery (smokebrush.org). While cutting costs has meant cutting gallery size, curator Holly Parker has turned out continuously great shows. James Balog, world-renowned photographer and global warming activist, has displayed there, as will "Abraham Obama" artist Ron English, Salida artist Jimmy Descant and Navajo artist Melanie Yazzie later this year. Steps from Smokebrush are the Bridge (thebridgeartgallery.com) and Commons galleries, which put on monthly shows of highly original pieces by locals.

CAN'T MISS EVENTS: VISUAL ARTS

ClayFest

June 19 | Soda Springs Park, 1016 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs | clayfest.com

A day of clay competitions open to any amateurs and professionals who sign up. Contests for fastest throwing, blindfolded throwing, tandem throwing (two people on one wheel) and more. Winners earn ... bragging rights.

Pikes Peak Arts Fest

July 3-5 | America the Beautiful Park, 126 Cimino Drive | pikespeakartsfest.com

A celebration of local artists and craftspeople, PPAF means live entertainment, outdoor arts vendors and family activities, happening annually on the July 4th weekend.

Labor Day Art & Crafts Festival

Sept. 4-6 | Memorial Park, Manitou Avenue and El Paso Boulevard, Manitou Springs | 577-7700, commonwheel.com

An end-of-summer hurrah, Commonwheel Artists Co-op's annual arts and crafts fair features vendors, live music, prizes and a new effort (begun last year) for an entirely green event.

Pots by the Pound

Jan. 7-24, 2011 | Commonwheel Artists Co-op, 102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs | 685-1008, commonwheel.com

In a well-loved annual tradition for the art-thrifty, Commonwheel sells all its seconds (slightly imperfect pottery) by weight, starting the Friday after New Year's.

Museums & high art galleries

These institutions are devoted solely to the art they display or collect, which is usually not for sale. Some are organizations unto themselves, others a part of a university system. All play a key role to the greater community.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

30 W. Dale St., 634-5583 | csfineartscenter.org

Best of 2009

A perennial favorite of locals and tourists alike, the FAC hosts world-class art shows in its galleries, plays at the SaGaJi Theater and cuisine at Café 36 and the Deco Lounge. On the visual arts side, Conflict | Resolution holds down the spring with a group of exhibits related to the theme denoted by the title, including an outdoor installation of ominous "land mines" by local artist Chris Weed. Later in the summer and fall, the FAC will house solo exhibits of works by William Kentridge, Gib Singleton and Earl Biss.

Downtown Studio Gallery at Pikes Peak Community College

100 W. Pikes Peak Ave., 502-4040 | ppcc.edu/departments/art/ppcc-art-gallery

A continuous source for excellent student art, PPCC also hosts great shows by local and international artists, including the recent Tikun Olan featuring sculpture by Italian artist Alex Corno and a one-night installation by Springs-based DeLane Bredvik and Ila Conoley.

Fine Art Gallery at Colorado State University - Pueblo

2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, 719/549-2404 | chass.colostate-pueblo.edu/Art/Galleries/Pages/Galleries.aspx

Judging from this winter's print show, By the People, For the People: New Deal Prints from the 1930s & 1940s, the Fine Art Gallery can play with the big boys. With six to eight shows per year featuring international artists as well as a lively schedule of speakers and presentations in the college proper, CSU-Pueblo could be seeing more traffic from up north.

GOCA 121

121 S. Tejon St., #100

GOCA 1420

Science Building, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 255-3567 | galleryuccs.org

UCCS has been at the head of the wave of recent changes in the arts community. First, it unveiled the experimental and avant-garde program schedule AWOL: Art Without Limits, an entirely off-site endeavor that included poems on buses, interactive performance works in cafés, and rooftop film screenings. Now the college can boast two gallery spaces, one downtown (the former FAC Modern space) and the original college location (reopened after a year of renovations in the greater building). Look for more edgy, interdisciplinary exhibits in both GOCA 1420 and GOCA 121.

I.D.E.A. Space at Colorado College

Cornerstone Arts Center, Main Floor, 14 E. Cache la Poudre St.

Coburn Gallery at Colorado College

Worner Center Main Floor, 902 N. Cascade Ave., 389-6606 | coloradocollege.edu/ideaspace

You don't have to be a CC student or alum to access or enjoy the I.D.E.A. Space and Coburn Gallery, and if you haven't visited at least one show curated by Jessica Hunter Larsen, you're missing out. Seeing Stories, held earlier this year, included the first works by self-taught artist Henry Darger to have traveled to Colorado. In September, the Space will host a retrospective on painter May Stevens, who has been involved in and inspired by social justice movements throughout her life.

Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center

210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, 719/295-7200 | sdc-arts.org

Just off I-25 in downtown Pueblo, the Sangre is the Steel City's main arts institution offering a gamut of local and national art — from the city's 38 Degrees Latitude collective to works from the celebrated Guild Hall Museum in the Hamptons — as well as national performance art acts. Come summer, Sangre hosts community events including outdoor music on Festival Fridays, a weekly farmers market, First Friday receptions and more.


Monthly art walks

If the idea of traipsing through a desolate gallery drenches you in a cold sweat, art openings are the way to go. Unless the weather is seriously nasty, you can count on a good crowd every time the galleries unveil a new show and set out some snacks.

The first Friday of the month is a popular choice for neighboring galleries to debut new exhibits and to use the power of numbers to draw people in. Starting in April and running through December, there's the ArtWalk in Old Colorado City, featuring about a dozen galleries between 24th and 27th streets on West Colorado Avenue. Look for artist demonstrations, live outdoor music in warmer months, a chance to talk to the artists, and some of that aforementioned food, from 5 to 8 p.m. For information, call Hunter-Wolff Gallery at 520-9494 or visit bestartontheavenue.com.

Downtown Pueblo has its own First Friday parties, too, centering around Union Street and encompassing five galleries, a handful of coffee shops, the Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center and the El Pueblo History Museum. Catch dance performances by the Pueblo Performing Arts Guild at Union Avenue and D Street from May through October. First Fridays there run from 5 to 9 p.m. year-round, with more information at Steel City Art Works (steelcityartworks.com).

Lastly, you can head up to Monument from May through September for its Third Thursday Art Hop (monumentarthop.org). Galleries there are open from 5 to 8.

See? You'll never be the lone wolf in a gallery again.


Tattoo parlors with nonwearable art

Artwork you carry with you even in the shower — that's a tattoo. While you're figuring out what your next ink design will be, you can enjoy the non-living art at a few local parlors.

Downtown, there's Heebee JeebeeS (heebeejeebeestattoo.com), which puts on new art shows every two months and doesn't discriminate among styles and media. (Unless you're talking about dry landscapes.) For graffiti, urban-style works, visit To the Grave Luxury Tattoo (26 N. Tejon St., 632-2424), which opened last August.

You've likely seen the killer mural on the 21st Street side of West Side Tattoo LLC (myspace.com/westsidetattoollc), but don't miss the 5,000-square-foot interior, which features custom paintings and marker drawings. West Side even boasts a tattoo museum in its basement, with tattoo art and photography and Polynesian poking tools (traditional tattoo needles).


Arts centers

Arts centers are hubs for art shows, high-tech equipment (kilns and presses) for public use, studio spaces for rent, classes, community events and festivals.

The Business of Art Center

513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1861 | thebac.org

The BAC houses several galleries, studios and coveted workspaces but also Venue 515, which now boasts a lively schedule of film screenings, regional and national music acts and monthly raw food dinners in the Canvas Café.

Cottonwood Center for the Arts

427 E. Colorado Ave., 520-1899 | cottonwoodcenterforthearts.com

Best of 2009

A who's-who stomping ground for Springs-based artists, Cottonwood is a must-visit for last Friday art openings. At other times, drop in just to see nearly 80 studios and a respectable gallery, all under one roof.

Fremont Center for the Arts

505 Macon Ave., Cañon City, 719/275-2790 | fremontarts.org

Located in Cañon City, Fremont actually has its own permanent collection, but also offers art classes for kids and adults, art shows and its annual Brew-Ha-Ha festival in May.

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts

304 Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, 481-0475 | trilakesarts.org

Palmer Lake's community arts center not only offers classes and art shows, but also hosts numerous lectures on Tri-Lakes history as well as live music by regional and national acts.

Arts activism

The following organizations strengthen the community through public art projects, private classes that build self-esteem or by building support systems for artists and collectives.

Bee Vradenburg Foundation

730 N. Nevada Ave., 477-0185 | beevradenburgfoundation.org

Best of 2009

A sponsor and supporter of the health and vitality of the Pikes Peak Region art community, the foundation seeks to promote local arts organizations, particularly performing arts, and broaden audiences.

The Club of Arts

505 E. Columbia St., #130, 520-9222 | theclubofarts.org

An Indy Give! organization, the Club of Arts offers art, craft and life-skills classes for people with developmental disabilities to help them gain independence and just "have fun being themselves."

Concrete Couch

211 Illinois Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-4422 | concretecouch.org

This Manitou Springs-based nonprofit, now in its sixth year, works to build community through public art projects and programs. It collaborates with kids, schools, community centers (what's left of them), municipal groups ... you name it. Concrete Couch recently installed new outdoor benches at Manitou Springs High School and will work with the school's Peace Jam group and TESSA this year.

COPPeR (Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region)

121 S. Tejon St., #111, 634-2204 | coppercolo.org, | peakradar.com

A central promoter and supporter for all things art and culture in the area, COPPeR helms the online arts listing database peakradar.com and publishes the COPPeR Pages, a printed resource for arts organizations, museums, theaters and film festival groups.

FutureSelf

214 E. Vermijo Ave., 233-4143 | futureself.org

Capitalizing on the restorative, transformational powers of art, FutureSelf helps nearly 250 local youths annually reach their full potential through a support system of workshops and art shows (including a collaboration with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center).

Manitou Springs Arts Council

P.O. Box 61, Manitou Springs, 685-2281 | manitouspringsarts-council.org

A support organization bringing art closer to the Manitou Springs community. Right now the council is working on erecting sculptures in downtown Manitou.

Mountain Arts Council

P.O. Box 4319, Woodland Park, 687-8545 | mtnarts.org

A support and advocacy group serving visual arts, music and theater in Teller County. Members of the MAC include the Mountain Acoustic Music Association, the Ute Pass Symphony Guild and other organizations.

Pikes Peak Arts Council

P.O. Box 1073, 475-2465 | pikespeakartscouncil.org

This longtime organization seeks to sponsor and support local art projects and individual artists (through "microgrants"). Despite the sour economy, 2009 clocked in as one of the best years yet for the PPAC, proving its resilience and that of the scene.

Woodland Park Arts Alliance

121 W. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 302-2282 | woodlandparkarts.org

Now two years old, the WPAA has grown to encompass art classes for kids, teens and adults (at its school location on 118 W. Midland Ave.), monthly open mic nights for original music and poetry, third Friday art walks year-round (!), and "Hausmusik" classical concerts.

Clubs

For a chance to meet and work with artists similar to yourself, join a club. Most are pretty self-explanatory: Glass Artists of the Pikes Peak Region (gappr.org), Pikes Peak Plein Air Painters (pikespeakpleinairpainters.com), Pikes Peak Watercolor Society (pikespeakwatercolorsociety.org), Pikes Peak Weavers Guild (pikespeakweavers.org), and the Pikes Peak Pastel Society (pikespeakpastel.org). These groups meet monthly or quarterly with workshops, group art shows and presences at craft expos. For a broader focus, check out the Colorado Springs Art Guild (artwebsite.org). For Black Forest residents, there's the Black Forest Arts & Crafts Guild (bfacg.org).

Art classes

One way to take action within the arts scene is to get your hands dirty and start making artwork yourself. Don't know where to begin? Classes and workshops are available for a variety of interests and income brackets around town.

Air Force Academy Arts & Crafts Center

usafaservices.com

USAFA Services holds applied crafts classes for adults on topics such as beginning stained glass, pottery (wheel- and hand-thrown), beginning woodworking and more. Must be an authorized user; call 333-4579 for details.

Bemis School of Art

csfineartscenter.org/education.asp

An extension of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Bemis offers year-round art classes for kids as young as 2 to seniors. Instructors lead courses on topics ranging from painting to drama to art history.

Colorado Springs Senior Center

springsgov.com

For citizens 55 and up, the Senior Center hosts low-cost classes on watercolor, pottery, jewelry making, painting and many other pursuits in both fine arts and crafts. Knitting, beading, whittling and quilting groups meet weekly or monthly.

Fare Bella Watercolor Classes

720/226-4315

Fare Bella gallery owner Patrice Filler instructs ongoing watercolor workshops for painters of all levels in intimate all-day classes. Sessions are capped at eight people, allowing Filler to focus individual attention on her students and to create an environment that's "just pure therapy."

PILLAR Institute for Lifelong Learning

visitpillar.org

A local nonprofit dedicated to continuing education, PILLAR offers workshops in sketching and watercolor painting as well as discussion classes on art theories and principles.

Sheppard Art Institute

282-2706, sheppardart-institute.org

For the past 12 years, the Sheppard Art Institute has offered low-cost art courses for adults and children. Led by volunteer instructors including director/founder Kang Lee Sheppard, the Institute plans to bring renowned pastel artist Doug Dawson in for a course in April.


Writing groups

When they want to get out from behind their desks and get together with other literary types, local writers have choices.

Professional and aspiring authors will want to start with Pikes Peak Writers (pikespeakwriters.com). It's the area's largest writing organization and offers a full schedule of writing events, writing competitions and one of the country's premier writing conferences, featuring big-name authors, agents and editors each April.

For those with a bent for bodice-ripping, the Pikes Peak Romance Writers (pprw.org) put on a number of local events. Their programs are great help in starting, perfecting and selling a work, whether or not you specialize in romance.

When you want to step away from prose, look up Poetry West (poetrywest.org). The group, which has been around since 1982, hosts regular poetry workshops and critique sessions, publishes the literary journal Eleventh Muse, holds a chapbook contest, and co-sponsors poetry-related community events, such as the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate project (pikespeakpoetlaureate.org).

The poet laureate oversees poetry events and publication of Poetry While You Wait, a free compilation of quality local poetry, distributed in waiting rooms and other places where reading poetry beats loitering. Local wordsmith Aaron Anstett — author of Each Place the Body's, No Accident and award-winner Sustenance — is the current laureate. He'll reign until April 24, when the next king or queen of the couplet will be crowned.

Finally, when in search of fraternity, don't forget the bookstores and public libraries. Borders (borders.com) and Barnes & Noble (bn.com) both host numerous weekly writers groups, and the Pikes Peak Library District (ppld.org) and Manitou Springs Public Library (manitousprings.colibraries.org) present an interesting and ever-changing mix of free programs for writers and readers. You can find the latest literary events at csindy.com.


Shopping

Given that you need to assess your mood, your needs, the weather and more to plan a successful excursion, you could say there's a certain art to shopping. We hope the listings to follow serve as a crayon in your box, so to speak, as you get out there and spend.

The goal here is to open your eyes to some places you've never been, and remind you of some stores you haven't visited in a while. This is by no means a listing of every shop in town; we've tried to focus on locally owned businesses, 2009 Best Of winners, and places that have a distinct history in the community, with a few that have been around for more than 75 years. If we've missed a favorite of yours, drop us a note at scene@csindy.com or comment at csindy.com.

Antiques & auction house

American Classics Marketplace

1815 N. Academy Blvd., 596-8585

Best of 2009

American Classics Marketplace is owned by Jake Jabs, the white-haired tiger-tamer behind the massive American Furniture Warehouse juggernaut. So it makes perfect sense that ACM spans 65,000 square feet and features antiques, collectibles and crafts from more than 400 vendors from across the country, and sometimes overseas.

Antique Gallery

117 S. Wahsatch Ave., 633-6070 | carrsantiquegallery.com

The Antique Gallery is great for two reasons. If you know exactly what you're looking for, ask and you often shall receive. (The staff knows its product that well!) If you're not seeking anything specific, wind your way among antique furniture, jewelry, collectibles and art to discover that special something you didn't know you needed.

Ross Auction

109 S. Sierra Madre St., 632-6693 | rossauction.com

In the (discount) market for a stroller? A microwave? A Wurlitzer organ? All three, and a van to put them in? You'll want to walk through the almost 90-year-old Ross Auction. On Fridays, bid on household items, tools and other little things; Saturdays, it's art and collectibles, furniture and appliances and, occasionally, vehicles. Sign in, get your own number, and try not to look too interested as the fast-talking auctioneer makes his way to the apple(s) of your eye.

Crafts & hobbies

Bargain Comics

19 E. Bijou St., 578-8847 | bargaincomics.com

Bargain Comics owner Doug Scott backs up his belief that graphic novels can be literature by stocking a full range of favorite comic brands along with independent, small-press and collectible offerings. His expansive inventory also contains graphic-novel biography, history, travel and crime, and even a modest section of manga.

Compleat Games & Hobbies

326 N. Tejon St., 473-1116; 7862 N. Academy Blvd., 344-9475 | gamesandhobbies.com

From D&D to The Settlers of Catan, puzzles to model cars, Compleat Games and Hobbies is the "complete" store for gamers and hobbyists. And it's growing, with a north end location just having opened. Visit the shops for gaming products and ongoing events.

Ed's Cards & Comics

5857 Palmer Park Blvd., 596-9128

Buy, sell or trade at this little shop near Palmer Park and Powers boulevards. Ed's carries all the major brands of comics as well as an assortment of collectible comic books, including many Silver and Golden Age finds, plus sports and other collectible trading cards.

Graner Music

4460 Barnes Road, 574-2001; 8674 N. Union Blvd., 579-7665 | graner-music.com

Best of 2009

Walk into Graner Music, and you're likely to see as many kids as adults. The store, packed with instruments ranging from drums to trombones, caters to all musicians but is built on the premise that everyone should have the opportunity to play.

Independent Records & Video

Multiple locations | beindependent.com

Best of 2009

Independent Records and Video has been serving the Springs area since 1978. Buy, sell or trade at any of four local stores, and know that you've selected well; Independent is a 21-time Best Of winner.

Tejon Street Music

330 N. Tejon St., 634-2228 | tejonstreetmusic.com

Guitars, banjos, mandolins and ukuleles: If you're in the market, head to Tejon Street Music. This tiny downtown shop carries some of the coolest new, used and vintage instruments, and has been doing so since 1976.

Meininger Art Supply

201 S. Weber St., 578-8070 | meininger.com

A well-loved local supply outlet for everything a beginning painter to a seasoned professional may require. Meininger's started in Denver in 1881 and has grown into three physical stores (all in Colorado), plus an online store. Don't draw? Hit up Meininger's for framing, cool kids toys and hip gifts.

Mill Outlet Fabric Shop

2906 N. Prospect St., 632-6296 | milloutletfabric.com

For 45 years, locals have found their way to Mill Outlet and its yards and yards of fabric. Hidden in the warehouse district off Fillmore Street, Mill Outlet's frills are to be found inside the building, from basic cottons to bridal silks, upholstery tweed to ticking and tassels. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable and helpful — whether you're working on a quilt, a suit or a burlesque costume.

Simple Pleasures

5525 Library Lane, 528-1338 | simplepleasuresstamps.com

Up north, near the East Library, Simple Pleasures boasts more than 5,700-square feet of scrapbooking, stamping and other paper craft supplies. The shop may be 15 years old, but its staff is constantly updating products and introducing shoppers to new techniques through demos and classes. Print a coupon off its Web site before you go, and plan to spend some time getting lost amid all the potential projects.

Table Rock Llamas Fiber Arts Studio & the DyeWorks

6520 Shoup Road, Black Forest, 495-7747 | tablerockllamas.com

Best of 2009

Tucked in the trees of Black Forest, Table Rock Llamas Fiber Arts is a fiber lover's perfect hideaway. You won't find any llamas near the shop, but we know what you really want is their wool and lots of yarn, yarn and more yarn. Oh, and books, patterns, spinning wheels, looms, dyes, needles and notions. The store's on the front part of the property — out back is a large classroom to help you use all those items you've purchased.

Yarn Outlet

416 S. Eighth St., 227-3665

Best of 2009

If your yarn stash is popping out from under your bed, your closets and from behind window curtains, perhaps you shouldn't visit the Yarn Outlet — at least until you can come up with a really good excuse to start storing yarn in your shoes. Because if you drop by, you'll realize its prices are so low, you won't be able to leave without buying something from the shelves of overstock and last year's remains.

Clothing, jewelry & accessories

Eve's Revolution

1312 W. Colorado Ave., 633-1357 | evesrevolution.com

This west side boutique embodies all that is good in the women's shopping world. The used clothing and accessories are classy, and the new items often procured by owner Eve Carlson herself (from shows in New York and L.A.) won't be found anywhere else around here. Add to the equation reasonable prices, honest opinions on outfits and a laid-back vibe that will stay with you all day.

The Leechpit

708 N. Weber St., 634-3675 | leechpit.com

Best of 2009

Adam Leech — musician, entrepreneur, family man and Indy music columnist — buys all the great vintage clothing, records, jewelry and other trinkets that literally spill out of his shop just north of downtown. While he's proclaimed the Leechpit "cooler than Jesus" and offers the goods to make an argument for it, un-hipsters can feel welcome enough to make it a regular stop.

Lorig's

15 N. Union Blvd., 633-4695 | lorigscolorado.com

Established in downtown Colorado Springs in 1932, Lorig's now resides on Union Boulevard, but is still the place to go for Western wear. Lucchese boots, Stetson hats and Wrangler jeans sit aside bolo ties and Western belt buckles for adults and children.

Luisa Graff Jewelry

4663 Centennial Blvd., 260-0100 | luisagraffjewelers.com

Best of 2009

Luisa Graff boasts a team of jewelers on-site, a relaxing Italian villa motif, fresh-baked cookies and coffee, a big-screen TV and, of course, 4,800 square feet of breathtaking diamonds and gemstones from the world over, including more than 500 engagement rings. Don't hesitate to ask questions; Graff's employees are eager to share their impressive knowledge.

LuLu

214½ N. Tejon St., 632-5858

The front half of LuLu stocks designer women's clothes. But if you think that's all there is, you're in for a treat. Ogle gorgeous dresses, blouses, jeans and jewelry on your way to the back half of the boutique, and the racks of high-end consignment items. The best of two worlds, all in one shop!

Piramide Boutique

2516 W. Colorado Ave., 475-8121

Piramide Clothing Company

106 Cañon Ave, Manitou Springs, 685-5912 | piramidenf.com

Piramide specializes in eco-conscious clothing, accessories and jewelry, emphasizing natural fibers that are comfortable. It's also one of the best places in town to pick up a hat when the Colorado sun's baking your head.

Repeat Performance

829 N. Union Blvd., 633-1325

Be prepared to hunt and pick ... and discover some unbelievable pieces at Repeat Performance. This shop — half antiques, half vintage clothing and accessories somewhat arranged by era — looks sleepy from the outside but is a labyrinth bursting at the seams on the inside. Oh, and plan ahead; they're only open Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 4.

Rutledge's

102 N. Tejon St., 632-7654

For more than 40 years, Springs men have been visiting Rutledge's for the finest in suits, shirts, ties and accessories.

Swish

1816 W. Colorado Ave., 635-8375

Swish is stuffed from front door to back with vintage and vogue apparel. Owner Shelley Laur describes the shop as "wacky," but there's nothing wacky about her unique secondhand deals and 50-percent-off "Clearance Closet" steals.

Unique food & beverages

Extraordinary Ingredients Gourmet Pantry

612 N. Tejon St., 473-8270 | extraordinaryingredients.com

Looking for that extra-special spice to class up a favorite recipe? Or a bean you've never heard of before? Or maybe some microgreens to top off a dish? Extraordinary Ingredients is a gourmet pantry like no other, offering more than 300 culinary gems from around the world.

Garden of the Gods Gourmet

2528 W. Cucharras St., 471-2799 | godsgourmet.net

One block off the main Old Colorado City drag, Garden of the Gods Gourmet's market is stocked with house-blended seasonings, Colorado-made packaged foods, fresh-baked breads and desserts, and take-and-bake meals.

Outside the Breadbox

2027 W. Colorado Ave., 633-3434 | outsidethebreadbox.com

Outside the Breadbox's products are available at a number of groceries around the state, but the bakery is located here in the Springs. The outfit makes and sells breads, cookies, crackers and pastries that are gluten-, wheat- and nut-free. Of course the bakery's the only place you can get samples.

Patsy's Candies

1540 S. 21st St., 633-7215; 930 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9437 | patsyscandies.com

At Patsy's Candies, you not only can buy almond toffee, popcorn and salt water taffy, but during the summer months at the 21st Street factory, you can take a tour and see how they've been making their treats since 1903.

Vintages Wine & Spirits

9 S. Tejon St., 520-5733 | vintageswines.com

Co-owner Erin Collins has been recommending and selling wine through Vintages Wine and Spirits since 1997. Not only does she know how to help you find the perfect complement to a meal, but she offers a variety of tastings and classes each month.


Oh-my-gosh bargains

Looking for a real deal? There's been serious growth locally in places that specialize in selling salvaged products that wouldn't cut it on a full-priced store's shelves. Dented boxes, torn labels and banged-up cans are de rigeur, along with overstock clothes and personal care items, but if you can get past all that, you can save a pretty penny.

Check out Westside Bargain Mart (3135 W. Colorado Ave., 685-4500), or one of Extreme Bargains' three locations (3190 N. Stone Ave., 471-8506; 2727 Palmer Park Blvd., 448-0757; 3112 E. Platte Ave., 473-6974).

And for what is sometimes referred to as "a tiny bargain-priced Whole Foods," visit Community Foods (56 Park Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1314) in Manitou Springs. Just beware, weekend shoppers: The religious tribe that runs the place keeps Sabbath on Saturday, so the store closes at 3 p.m. Friday and doesn't reopen until Sunday morning.


Gifts

Celebration Conscious Living Store

2209 W. Colorado Ave., 634-1855 | celebrationstore.com

Some folks think of Celebration as a book store, but it's that and so much more for anyone seeking metaphysical assistance. (Think crystals, jewelry, CDs, tarot cards, incense and wands.) This shop is also the go-to place in town for psychic readings, rune divination classes, full moon rituals and the like.

CJ Kard

214 N. Tejon St., 634-3339 | cjkard.com

From birthdays to anniversaries to special holidays, CJ Kard will meet your card needs. The shop's stocked with tons of cute gift items as well, and in the back you'll find their custom invitation shop offering fun designs and Crane paper products.

Christal's

2582 S. Academy Blvd., 393-9903; 3737 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 598-3839 | christals.com

Best of 2009

At Christal's you can find a gift for you, a gift for your partner, or a gift you both can enjoy. Leave the embarrassment at home — Christal's staff is friendly and knowledgable, whether you're seeking massage oils or, ahem, personal massagers.

Current Factory Outlet

1025 E. Woodmen Road, 630-7446 | currentfactoryoutlet.com

Miriam and Orin Loo began Current from their Colorado Springs home in 1950. Today it's one of the country's largest direct-mail marketing companies. It's no longer owned by the Loos, but its main plant is still here, as is its factory outlet. It offers deep discounts on off-season cards, calendars and pretty much any item you'd find in their catalogs.

Garden of the Gods Trading Post

324 Beckers Lane, Manitou Springs, 685-9045 | co-trading-post.com

One of the region's best-kept secrets: The locally owned post, which opened in the 1920s, stocks the requisite touristy T-shirts, hats and souvenirs, but area residents know to bypass the "I love Colorado" merchandise for the back room full of interesting Southwestern art and jewelry.

Gatherings

7541 N. Academy Blvd., 388-8878 | gatheringscolorado.com

Tucked in a strip mall off Academy Boulevard, Gatherings mixes antiques with country knick-knacks, furniture, art and home décor. Watch its Web site for holiday and seasonal craft, food and décor demos.

The Liberal Store

218 W. Colorado Ave., Depot Arts District, #104, 471-2546 | theliberalstore.com

Not everyone in the Springs is conservative, as the existence of this small store under the Colorado Avenue bridge proves. Here you can find bumper stickers, buttons and refrigerator magnets expressing a range of peace-oriented messages and politically and socially progressive sentiments.

Van Briggle Pottery & Tile

1024 S. Tejon St., 633-7729 | vanbriggle.com

Van Briggle Pottery recently moved from its space on 21st Street to a smaller storefront on Tejon Street, but no matter where it's housed, the Art Nouveau pottery is just as beautiful and just as collectable. Artus Van Briggle opened his studios here in 1899; adding a piece to your art collection is like owning a piece of Colorado Springs history.


Outdoor stores

In 2009, Outside magazine picked Colorado Springs as its No. 1 Best City. Whether you ultramarathon or not, you can look like one of those active-lifestyle types who helped us earn the nod.

Runners have The Colorado Running Company (corunco.com), Runners Roost (runnersroost.com) and Boulder Running Company (brccoloradosprings.com). Roadies and mountain bikers should hit up Criterium (criterium.com) or Bicycle Village (bicyclevillage.com) on the north end of town, or Old Town Bike Shop (oldtownbikeshop.com) and Ted's Bicycles (tedsbicycles.com) in the downtown area.

Skateboarders, snowboarders and skiers should check out Blindside (blindsidecolorado.com) off Highway 24 and The Ski Shop (theskishopinc.com) off Tejon Street. And if you have more than one activity need, we've got an REI (rei.com) on the north end, and downtown local Mountain Chalet (mtnchalet.com), which has been outfitting (and renting to) residents and tourists alike since 1976.

After a day on the slopes or the trails, drop by Manitou Springs' Kinfolks Mountain Shop (kinfolksmanitou.com) — not only is it stocked with outdoor clothing and such, but its bar is lined with microbrews and its stage features a variety of local and touring musicians.


Kids' stuff

American Toy Factory

906 Manitou Ave., #104, Manitou Springs, 434-2133

At Kendall York's new Manitou Springs store, every rubberband gun, robot and play kitchen was made right here in the U.S. of A. And prices start at just a few bucks.

Little Richard's Toy Store

324 N. Tejon St., 578-5848 | poorrichards.biz

Best of 2009

Stuffed animals, puppets, board games, musical toys ... it's hard to see everything in this store in one visit. A must-stop for you and your tot, Little Richard's generally favors toys that don't need batteries and that build creativity.

Mountain Moppets

2532 W. Colorado Ave., 633-3473 | mountainmoppets.com

For more than 20 years, Mountain Moppets has been outfitting Colorado Springs infants and children — and shoppers in the market for a baby shower gift.

Retro Moto Toys

738 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2475 | retromototoys.com

It's the toy store that you'll love to visit as much as your kids. Retro Moto stocks vintage tin cars, wood puzzles, authentic models and Einstein action figures.

Recess

1721 W. Colorado Ave., 635-9725 | recessconsign.com

A children's resale clothing boutique specializing in name-brand items in new or good condition. Recess' garments fit newborns to kids size 10.

Nonprofit resale shops

Arc Thrift Stores

2780 S. Academy Blvd., 391-7717 | 4402 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 522-1203 | 1830 W. Uintah St., 473-0502 | arcthrift.com

Best of 2009

According to thrift-store mavens, Arc stores rate as the best in terms of selection and sale prices. The clothing, especially, tends to be of good quality. Sales support advocacy and services for kids and adults with developmental disabilities.

Bargain Box of the Assistance League of Colorado Springs

211 E. Costilla St., 475-1029 | coloradosprings.assistanceleague.org

This small but well-stocked establishment carries mainly clothing and housewares, with a respectable amount of toys, accessories and magazines. The Bargain Box is run entirely by volunteers, and proceeds benefit Operation School Bell, which last year clothed more than 4,000 local children and teens. The charity enterprise is now in its 40th year, and the thrift store has resided in its current location since 1975.

Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store

2444 E. Platte Ave., 636-2537

Purchases here support a significant, and growing, population in the Colorado Springs community. Conveniently located at Platte Avenue and Boulder Street, the DAV store sells the typical thrift-store stuff: clothing, housewares, furniture, linens and loads more.

Goodwill Industries

Multiple locations | goodwill-colosprings.org

Local variations of this stalwart of the thrift-store scene include the Garage Sale Store on West Cucharras Street, an outlet store on North El Paso Street, and a brand-new location on South Circle Drive.

Habitat forHumanity's ReStore

411 S. Wahsatch Ave., 667-0840 | habitatrestorepp.com

The "discount" building materials here, checked for quality upon intake, are really worth a closer look for those into do-it-yourself home repairs and updates.

Salvation Army Thrift Store

3955 Tutt Blvd., 574-4335 | salvationarmyusa.org

Purchases at the Salvation Army Thrift Store support community adult rehabilitation centers. And if you've got clothes you'd like to donate, bins are dotted throughout town.


Bookstores

Colorado Springsians must read a lot, because we sure have a ton of bookstores. Unfortunately, the locally owned outfits mostly feature used books. Granted, there is Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument (105 Second St., Monument, 481-2665), and other places have a small selection of both new and used, but typically for new books you'll need to head to the big-box chains like Borders (borders.com) and Barnes and Noble (bn.com).

When it comes to used books, the world is yours! Poor Richard's Bookstore (poorrichards.biz) offers a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction (and gifts) downtown. Books for You (abebooks.com/home/gretchengsbooks), in Skyway, has more than 50,000 books in stock, ranging from mass-market paperbacks to hardcover fiction and nonfiction as well as some rare and out-of-print titles. And Hooked on Books (hookedonbooksonline.com), off North Academy Boulevard, boasts 250,000-plus titles stacked into the shop's unassuming but roomy strip-mall location.

Genre-specific stores also await your visit. Along North Circle Drive Beth Anne's Book Corner (bethannesbookcorner.com) is a dreamland for those who love to read about love. Book Sleuth (booksleuthmysteries.com) is a 25-plus year-old OCC store with stacks and stacks of mysteries. Heroes & Dragons (5751 N. Academy Blvd., 388-9524) has a super selection of manga, comic books and fantasy, mystery and sci-fi novels.


Pets

Circle F Ranch Supply

115 E. Garden of the Gods Road, 599-5100; 711 N. Union Blvd., 578-0666 | circle-f.com

Circle F's tagline is "We feed 'em all!" and, boy, does it. Pick up food here for birds, dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs, ferrets, rabbits and horses — as well as all the "accoutrements" you may need to keep the furries (and featheries) in your family happy and healthy.

Neptune's Realm

2640 W. Colorado Ave., 471-9154 | neptunesrealm.com

Got an aquarium? (Or bowl?) Neptune's Realm has been in the fish business since 1976, stocking locals with marine fish, tropical fish, plants and coral, and all the equipment to keep those fins flapping.

Wag N' Wash

1625 W. Uintah St., 457-9274; 1234 E. Woodmen Road, 228-9274 | wagnwash.com

Wash tubs? Check. Kibble? Check. Toys? Check. Two resident cats to keep an eye on the place and make sure you pick up cat food, too? Double check. Visit Wag N' Wash when your dog's dirty, hungry or antsy. Just keep in mind that he'll love you forever if you forego the wash and just lead him over to the in-house bakery for samples.


Window shopping

If the sun's shining and you've got some time on your hands, make your choice among three main outdoor shopping districts. In Downtown Colorado Springs (downtown80903.com), bordered by Cascade Avenue and Boulder, Weber and Costilla streets, you'll find stores like Terra Verde (terraverdestyle.com) for women's clothing, jewelry, accessories and the best wrapped-on-the-house gifts; Sparrow Hawk Gourmet Cookware (sparrowhawkcookware.com) for all your kitchen needs or desires; magic tricks and treats for all ages at Zeezo's (zeezos.com); and a slew of upscale women's clothing shops such as Drama (drama-boutique.com), idorü (idoruclothing.com) and Colorado Co-op (coloradoco-oponline.com).

Drive a little further west to historic Old Colorado City (shopoldcoloradocity.com) for a mix of arts, fashion and tourist trinkets. Stop by Nice 'N Naughty (633-7277) for some sweet and sexy lingerie, Crafty Cow Leatherworks (craftycowleatherworks.com) for a handcrafted belt or wallet, or Agia Sophia (agiasophiacoffeeshop.com) bookstore and coffee shop for a tome of ancient wisdom (and a mighty fine mocha latté). At the far west end of OCC, don't miss the trio of Envi (envi.biz), Elly Blue (ellyblue.com) and Barracuda Bazaar (barracudabazaar.com), offering up a block of new and recycled art, clothing and won't-find-them-elsewhere gifts.

Your outdoor escapades will wrap up in Manitou Springs (manitousprings.org), home to an unusual array of shopping delights such as D'Vine Wine (winerymsprings.com), Black Cat Books (manitoubooks.com) and the Dulcimer Shop (dulcimer.net). If you want one of Colorado's iconic chainsaw-carved bears, make sure Nature of Things (natureofthingschainsawart.com) is one of your stops.


Indoor shopping spots

We understand that on a rainy day — and there are a few, even in the land of 245-day sun — you may want to head inside or someplace where the stores come in quick succession. Colorado Springs has two indoor malls: The Citadel (shopthecitadel.com) in the central part of the city, and Chapel Hills Mall (chapelhillsmall.com) up north. Both feature Dillard's (dillards.com) as one of their anchors, though they're plenty different inside.

At the northernmost part of town, the Promenade Shops at Briargate (thepromenadeshopsatbriargate.com) is an open-style complex with soothing piped-in music, a stupendous view of Pikes Peak, lots of upscale chain stores (think the Apple Store and Banana Republic) and a handful of independently owned places, such as Kirk and Hill (264-0275), a women's fashion boutique that also has a location downtown (635-7038).

Colorado Springs' newest shopping area is University Village Colorado, just west of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. There's no Target there (head across town to Powers Boulevard for the massive superstore), but amid a number of still-to-be-filled spaces, you'll find Lowe's, Costco and Kohl's, and the hopefully-to-be-joined-by-other-locally-owned-stores XS Threadz (xsthreadz.com), a great place for guys and girls to shop for recycled clothing.

CAN'T MISS EVENTS: SHOPPING

Celebration Metaphysical Fair

April 16-18 and Oct. 8-10 | City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa St. | celebrationfair.com

The Celebration Metaphysical Fair at the City Auditorium is a 30-year-old juried fest of professional readers, healers and vendors who support conscious living.

Repeat Boutique

May 1, 6-9 p.m. and May 2, 1-4 p.m. | The Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, 315 E. Costilla St. | 632-6189, ppjpc.org

A community-wide clothes and accessories swap for women, which raises funds for the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission.

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