Wendy Videlock

Wendy Videlock, the new Western Slope Poet Laureate, plans to bring poetry to the people at public events. She will be honored this weekend with a ceremony in Grand Junction, along with the outgoing laureate, L. Luis Lopez. (Courtesy photo)

Telluride Institute and Grand Valley Creative Alliance have partnered to announce the Western Slope’s newest poet laureate, Wendy Videlock of Palisade, at a special event this weekend that will include performances by both Videlock and the outgoing Western Slope Poet Laureate, L. Luis Lopez, and other artists.

The new laureate celebration will be in conjunction with Grand Valley Creative Alliance’s (GVCA) “Art After Hours – With A Twist” event at the Art Center of Western Colorado, in Grand Junction. The event is happening on Saturday, May 20, from 6 to 8 p.m., and is free.

The position of Western Slope Poet Laureate was chosen this year by the Western Slope Poetry Laureate Advisory Committee, a volunteer committee organized by Art Goodtimes, the Talking Gourds Project director at Telluride Institute.

“We wanted to expand the decision-making process for what has been a call by the Telluride Institute's Talking Gourds Poetry Program for the last few years,” he said. “The committee voted overwhelmingly for Wendy Videlock.”

In addition to readings from Videlock and Lopez, there will be an invocation by Grand Junction poet and associate professor of English at Colorado Mesa University (CMU), Jennifer Hancock; a demonstration of printmaking on a portable printing press by Grand Junction printmaker Sam Spier; music with musician Greg S. Luck and refreshments.

GVCA administrator, adjunct professor of art at CMU, and artist Julia Crocetto said there will be “crazy beverages, all non-alcoholic. We’re working to get the youth Business Arts Management (BAM) organization involved,” she said.

BAM’s mission, according to the group’s Facebook page, is “Empowering teens in underserved areas of western Colorado through art and business mentorship.”

“I’m really happy to be doing this event with the Grand Valley Creative Alliance,” Goodtimes said. “Grand Junction is truly the queen city of the Western Slope and it’s appropriate that we’re doing it there.”

Goodtimes added, “My intent is to make this a collaborative award with more than just Telluride Institute. I want a wider collaboration so we have an opportunity to honor and celebrate the great writers on the Western Slope.”

Past poets laureate include Goodtimes, who is from Norwood, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville, David Rothman of Crested Butte and Aaron Abeyta of Antonito.

“I think of it as honorary,” Goodtimes said, “and not a job.”

Some poets have chosen to launch projects while in the position, which Videlock intends to do with public engagement events during her two-year tenure.

Videlock, a poet, artist and teacher, plans to launch “a program in which poets across the region are called upon to deliver an invocation or poem at the start of such events as art openings, board meetings, city council meetings, radio programs, school board meetings, lectures, festivals, cultural celebrations” and other community gatherings, a news release said about the event.

She has titled the program “Get the Word Out” and she will have more to say about the program at her inauguration on May 20 at the Art Center of Western Colorado. “Integrating the arts into the ordinary workings of the community ought to be common practice,” she said. She encourages anyone interested in taking part in the “Get the Word Out” program to contact her by email at coloradawendy@gmail.com.

Videlock’s own poetry is in several books and publications, including Poetry magazine. Lithic Press of Fruita recently published her latest book, a collection of lyric and critical essays titled, “The Poetic Imaginarium: A Worthy Difficulty.” Selections of Videlock’s poetry are also on her website, wendyvidelock.com.

A biographical statement about Videlock says she is a three-time winner of the Keats Soul Making Prize and a two-time finalist for Colorado State Poet Laureate and “publishes a Trickster Ridge newsletter of poetry events and announcements which supports poets from across the state and beyond.”

All are welcome to attend “Art After Hours” on Saturday. The Art Center of Western Colorado is at 1803 N. 7th Street in Grand Junction.

More information on the Western Slope Poet Laureate program can be found at tellurideinstitute.org. To learn more about GVCA, visit the website at gvcreates.org.