Study: Colorado ranks number one in arts engagement

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- When you think of colorful Colorado, you might picture the Rockies and the rivers.

If you do, it should come as no surprise that all that scenery inspires Coloradans to create and view more art than anywhere else in the U.S.

A new study by the National Endowment for the Arts finds that Coloradans watch movies, visit art galleries, see plays, and read books more than most states. And we also rank number one for the percentage of people who perform or create their own artwork.

"It’s the freedom of expression, that there's no one thing, there's no wrong thing in art," said Stacy Cochrane, a local potter.

As the saying goes and as folks over at the Art Center believe—art is subjective—and it could ring even more true in Colorado.

“I like putting my hands in clay and working with the clay and not having to be so focused on the outcome," said Cochrane.

"I think it's pretty exciting, I think it's a good indication of the quality of life here in Colorado, that the arts are so available to so many people," said Terry Shepherd, director of ceramics at the Art Center.

Pottery is a process. Artists first decide what they would like to make that day, they then come to the wedging table, determine the clay they are going to use, cut it, begin wedging it, and then they throw it on the wheel.

"We take people through the basic steps on how to prepare their clay and successfully learn techniques and skill," said Shepherd.

Stacy Cochrane has been doing ceramics for 12 years—she says it's no surprise to her Colorado ranks highest for lovers of art.

"The studios that I came from didn't have nearly the resources we have here,” said Cochrane. “In terms of the glazes we have, the expertise that we have in terry shepherd—he is a world class potter."

All part of a bigger picture.

"One of the things about clay is—it’s community and potters working together," said Cochrane.

Nearly 65% of adults in the state create their own artwork. The study also finds that our growing number of millennials may contribute to our high number of artists.

The Art Center offers beginners classes for anyone looking to get involved in pottery or other types of art.

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