Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery
From 1971 to 2021
Approaching our 50th year as the Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery in 2021, we never expected we would be closing our doors for good. We started our artist co-op in 1971 on Pearl Street, before the bricks were laid to become a pedestrian mall. At that time we were all local artists who operated and worked in the store. We realized we were stronger in numbers, and shared the collective responsibilities of running a gallery featuring jewelry, pottery, glass, metalwork, woodwork, photography and paintings. We soon became an anchor on the mall. Our big, beautiful brick building attracted locals, as well as travelers from all over the world, and we became a go-to destination on the mall.
Our member numbers fluctuated over the years, but the right people were always there at the right time as we evolved. We added more artists, local and national, to our art collective and over time our collections became more diverse and ever-changing. We became known for our eclectic mix of one-of-a-kind pieces. As a strong and lasting presence in the community for 50 years, we sponsored multiple shows and events that benefitted local and national causes and charities. Two of our most popular benefits were Souper Bowlder and Art and Heart. Some of the many beneficiaries were EFAA, Community Food Share, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, Boulder County AIDS Project, Safehouse, Women’s Bean Project, Family Learning Center, Blue Sky Bridge, Boulder JCC Building Fund.
Heading into our 50th year, we began arranging celebrations at the Dairy Center, planning shows at the Boulder Library highlighting our artists, and then partnering with other local 50 year old businesses to mark our shared accomplishments. We expected 2021 to be a year of celebration. Then COVID hit the world in 2020. We went into lockdown like everyone else and closed our doors for 2 months as mandated starting in March 2020. In June 2020, we rearranged our gallery and opened with limited capacity precautions as recommended by the city. Our foot traffic dropped off dramatically and we watched the once bustling mall become quiet. It was a difficult decision to make, but after the severe loss of revenue over the past year we decided the wisest course of action was to close the store on April 4, 2021.
While we say goodbye to our majestic building at 1421 Pearl Street, our artists are still creating in their studios. Please click “Our Artists” at the top of this page to see where you may find your favorite artists and work. Thank you, Boulder, for your outpouring of love and support over the last 50 years. We will miss the dynamic mall, but we will still be about, just in a different way. Art transforms, and fortunately in a place like Boulder, there is always rebirth and renewal into something fresh. The final 18 members (many of whom have worked together for over 40 years) take away enduring friendships and a continued legacy of caring about each other and the many friends we made along the way.
The artists and staff of the Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery