50 years of Summervail

Joined by other founders of the Summervail Art Workshop, Cotter participated in an intimate panel discussion. This discussion allowed the founders to share their individual and collective stories of the beginning of Summervail, and celebrate its progression through time.

“Summervail 50: Celebrating the Birth of Arts + Culture in the Vail Valley” was presented by the Vail Symposium & Art in Public Places at the Donovan Pavilion.

Photo: Kent A. Tompkins

Randy Milhoan, Jim Cotter, Jane Gregorius, Dan Telleen and Susan Milhoan shared their stories of the beginning of Summervail and how it progressed through time.

Enjoy watching "Summervail panel discussion during the Vail Symposium's 50th-anniversary celebration":

If you missed it, the Summervail Art Workshop celebrated its 50th Anniversary this past July 19th - 30th, 2021.

Throughout the event the Vail Public Library hosted the exhibition of original art, photography, posters and sculptures from the 1971-1984 workshops. Additionally, there was a short film showcase on view produced by Robbie Prechtl & Townsend Bessent, who presented the Summervail Art Workshop through an emotional lense:

The Summervail Art Workshop for Art and Critical Studies ran from 1971-1984 and built the foundation for the thriving arts and culture scene in Vail Valley today. A new legacy project aims to preserve and celebrate this pivotal time in Vail’s history.

A two week-long celebration of 50 years of Summervail gathered some of Summervail’s Founding members in a Livestream interview on Vail Daily Live, that you can watch here:

Summevail hosted over twenty events, in five different locations, throughout Vail Valley. Inviting over 200 people from all over the US.
Workshops explored many creative disciplines such as Photography, Plein Air Painting, Drawing, Clay Printing, and so on.
Guest speakers ranged from the artists, founders of Summervail to Jerry Saltz.

Photo: Holly Cole

Pictured in the image is The Vail Town Council Proclamation that recognizes The Summervail Art Workshop Legacy Project as part of the CHC programming which seeks to recognize the town’s historic involvement along with Randy Milhoan’s efforts in helping to create the art and cultural cornerstones of the Vail community.

Photo: Charles Townsend Bessent

Photo: Kent A. Tompkins

Summervail featured event grew into the most lovely of conversations with world-renowned, Pulitzer-prize winning art critic Jerry Saltz. Thanks to The Vail Symposium, Art in Public Places, The Town of Vail and The Donovan Pavilion for making this evening possible.

Jerry Saltz inspired us with an amazing lecture, telling us to “work, work, work”, the importance of “getting things done” and how we all have something in us that can make us successful! Let us always remember his words of wisdom, when he encouraged us to: “Be brave and accept the fear.”

Enjoy watching "Jerry Saltz at the Vail Symposium":

We would also like to thank Carolyn Paletta for this beautiful article in Vail Daily!

By the words of Carolyn Paeltta:

When the Town of Vail was first incorporated in 1966, it was known almost exclusively as a ski resort, and the summers were generally empty of both visitors and activities. That all changed in 1971, when local artists Randy Milhoan, Jim Cotter and Dan Telleen created the first Summervail Art Workshop. The three men, all of whom are still residents and active artisans in the Vail Valley, were recent college art graduates at the time, and Milhoan came up with the idea to start a summer arts program as a way of attracting artists to the area, as well as boosting the local economy.

So began the Summervail Workshop for Art and Critical Studies, a two-week series of educational workshops that would go on to run for 14 summers, bringing in 9,000 students, 500 visiting artists to teach, and hosting 850 workshops in a broad variety of art forms between 1971 and 1984.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Summervail Workshop. In celebration of the date, the Town of Vail released a proclamation on July 20 that officially designates July 19-25 as “Summervail Art Workshop for Art and Critical Studies Week” in Vail. It also recognizes Randy Milhoan, who served as executive director of the festival for all 14 years, as a founder of the current arts and culture scene in the valley.

“Randy Milhoan and his peers created the inspiration for many generations to come to see, witness, and participate in the broad spectrum of national and international arts and culture in the Vail Valley; the Summervail Art Workshop for Art and Critical Studies programs inspired many of today’s art and cultural non-profit organizations,” the proclamation reads. “The Town of Vail greatly appreciates all of Randy Milhoan’s contributions to this programming and we thank him for his creativity, diligence, and leadership which helped create a legacy of artistic and cultural programs in Vail.”

In 2020, a group of Summervail alumni founded the Summervail Art Workshop Legacy Project (SAWLP), a non-profit organization with the mission to “preserve, document, archive, inspire and demonstrate the impact of the Summervail Art Workshop program”.

Read the full article written by Carolyn Paeltta in Vail Daily!