Beet Street cancels this summer’s Fort Collins Streetmosphere

FORT COLLINS — The eight-week “Streetmosphere” event that brought performing arts to downtown Fort Collins for the past four summers will not be held in 2015.

The board of directors of Beet Street decided last week to cease efforts to produce this summer’s season, said board president Bruce Freestone on Thursday. Struggles with both staffing and funding issues after a 2014 reorganization split Beet Street from the Arts Incubator of the Rockies led to the decision, he said.

“We were down to only four board members,” Freestone said. “Despite the efforts of the board and a wonderful intern” from Colorado State University, “we just didn’t have the time to get the funding we needed. We had good ad sales for our guidebook, but we missed our deadline for getting grants. We only raised about a sixth of what we needed.”

Part of that money would have gone to pay the musicians and other performing artists, said Freestone, who also is co-founder and associate producing director of Fort Collins-based OpenStage Theatre. ”It’s all well and good to say artists should just perform for the love of it or to get exposure – but artists don’t need exposure as much as they need to be paid for their talents and their time, and we didn’t have the money to pay them.”

Streetmosphere had commitments from 47 acts encompassing 200 individuals as well as in-kind partnerships and numerous special engagements for this summer’s event, which had been scheduled to run from June 5 to July 26.

“It is with a heavy heart that we recognize the 2015 season will be a summer without the presence of jugglers, magicians, dance troupes, brass quartets, balloon artists, opera singers and painters in downtown Fort Collins,” Beet Street said in a media release. “We look forward to future opportunities with our civic partners and the very talented Northern Colorado community. By suspending Streetmosphere this summer, we are giving ourselves the time needed to put us on a stronger footing in the future.”

What will it take to gain that footing?

“Beet Street still exists, but we’re kind of at a crossroads,” Freestone said. “We need to decide who do we serve and how do we serve them. What does the community need?”

One part of the drive may be getting an issue onto the November ballot to form a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District much like the one in Denver, Freestone said.

“In the meantime,” he added, “I need some new board members.”