The ROLL Bike Art Festival is rolling into its 12th year with a celebration of both tradition and change.
More than just an art exhibit, ROLL is a chance for the vibrant and varied bicycling community of Colorado Springs to showcase its talents.
The festival is the brainchild of Amy Seltzer, who also curates the submissions. Years ago, Seltzer attended an event in Chicago that celebrates bike-themed artwork. She had a feeling that Colorado Springs would be the perfect place for a similar cycling festival.
Turns out, she was correct. ROLL has provided networking opportunities that led to the formation of multiple local organizations, such as Kids on Bikes and UpaDowna, and it has helped create a more cohesive biking community.
"Our vision," Seltzer said, "is to provide a place for cyclists of all kinds to be together, to network and to form some kind of unified identity."
ROLL has grown since it began in 2005 — especially after earning the support of the Smokebrush Foundation in 2008 — and now showcases artwork of all kinds, rather than simply paintings. Originality is what makes ROLL's artwork outstanding, Seltzer said, which is why past displays have included sculptures made entirely of bike parts and blades of grass twisted to form tiny bikes.
"These festivals in Chicago and Boulder are great, but you see the same kind of artwork — classic paintings of bikes with a basket of flowers." ROLL endeavors to exhibit a different kind of art, she said.
This year's festival will feature more than just visual art. For the first time, festivities will include live poetry performances from Hear Here, plus workshops and presentations by local bikers, a bike-drawing contest and more. A special 5k run is also in the planning stages.
An opening reception is planned for 5 to 8 p.m. June 10 at the new Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort, 2 El Paso Blvd. If you miss the festival, the exhibit will be on display through Dec. 21.