We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Kimberly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, what matters most to you?
I can only operate authentically. . Authentic to my sense of place, authentic to who I am and authentic to the world that surrounds me. Of course, this is somewhat subjective, but, ultimately I believe I have found the balance in which to be able to succeed without selling out. In my line of work, raising money is key. This kind of work can take you into situations where you may not be able to be your true self. It can require you to take money from people you may not agree with or from places that may be out of line with what you believe. Luckily, I have not had to walk that path. Money has never been my guiding force. Creating a world that makes sense, working with people who have strong ethics as well, finding roads that are inclusive and equitable…these are the forces that have shaped me, and because of this, people have supported what I do. I always say that Carbondale has been my muse. It is a community that supports art and creativity. It is a town where young and old gather together often. We have strong environmental ethics here. We care about each other. This kind of world is harder and harder to find these days so I am forever grateful that I found a place where I could be my true self to succeed.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is creating experiences for people. Those experiences can range from community building to theatrical extravaganzas. I used to say I was not an artist and that I only facilitated creativity but, after 30 years of this I can see the artistry of what I do. It started in Telluride, where I owned a nightclub, along with working for two amazing nonprofits. I received a Telluride Visionary Award for my work with Telluride Arts and the Telluride AIDS Benefit. This led to a project in Swaziland which still exists today. There were also many symbiotic events and experiences that came out of my close proximity to the rich array of music and musicians that passed through my world. All that exposure really bubbled up when I moved to Carbondale in 2001. I created a Sustainable Fashion Show, which is really a multi genre arts extravaganza combining dance, projection mapping, music and design. It has taken a short hiatus due to COVID, but will be back in 2023 for the 12th annual. A favorite event is the Carbondale Mountain Fair. While I did not create it, (its 51 years old), I have been able to enrich it for 18 years. I just co-created an immersive experience last year called the Convergent Circus and am really enjoying the immersive aspect of art. Ultimately it is through these creations that I am able to bring community together in many ways to collaborate, celebrate, further economic development and make a stronger, healthier place. Making any kind of art always has its challenges but, my superpower is staying calm in the face of adversity!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow..that’s a big question for our area. Colorado is an amazing state and I live in the heart of it. We have 4 very distinct seasons which dictate what we might do, but Summer/Fall is my favorite time so we will imagine that. Anytime with me in the summer will include River Time. We have 3 fantastic rivers to play in and they are all pretty user friendly. I am an avid paddleboarder and love to turn folks on to this sport. A “staycation” at Avalanche Ranch down the road is a favorite. They have rustic cabins and hot springs and great high country hiking right out their door. There’s lots of amazing outdoor concerts from Aspen to Glenwood Springs so that is always a possibility. This valley loves to dance. We’d probably cruise around and interact with some art. Carbondale has many great choices from the Powers Art Center to the Carbondale Arts Gallery to the Carbondale Clay Center and then there is lots of robust public art and murals. Eating around here is a treat. Phat Thai and Tiny Pine are my favs, but having a lovely, homemade meal in my yard with friends and family is even more fun. Taking a trip to Marble or Redstone is super fun and now Redstone has the yummiest General Store around. If there was time, we might even slip to the Utah desert for a night or two but its hard to beat the fun at our fingertips in Western Colorado.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My story is filled with incredible people who have helped me along the way but, ultimately it is my family, including my husband, Billy Bob Laemmel, who have allowed me to be the being I am.
Instagram: #amysuekimberly #carbondalearts #carbondalecreativedistrict
Facebook: Amy Kimberly
most photos have name attached to photo. The last photo of me and my husband, Billy Bob is by Mark Burrows.