For the first time an entire American town will be captured on canvas. 

HBMG Foundation has invited Portland Portrait Artist Katrina Zarate to capture a small town in oils, acrylic, and copic color. The miners town of fewer than 500 people at 9000 feet in the San Juan Mountains spends its year creating a culture for artists. Even in the dead of winter, residents welcome HBMG Foundation’s own National Winter Playwrights Retreat (NWPR). But this tiny town will no longer view art, see art, or support art; residents of Creede, Colorado will BE THE ART.

Last February, bartenders, teachers, Trump supporters, and retired miners were invited to submit a photo of themselves and their family to be painted. 241 daughters, brothers, grandparents, lovers and even 5 dogs were photographed and sent to Portland. Armed with an iPhone photo, a 16” by 20” canvas, and a paintbrush, a portrait artist used oil, acrylics and copic to create mini masterpieces of this mighty mountain town.

"We associate art with large cosmopolitan cities, but that is misguided. The soul of America resides in small towns. The people of Creede and towns like it, are the true art of the American landscape.” Manuel Zarate, HBMG Foundation Executive Director.

"When Creede folks inquired as to how they could support NWPR, we lamented that non-profits always ask for something and usually from people who have already given so much. What if we changed that model and changed our culture in the process?’” Ann Catherine Zarate, NWPR Artistic Director.

The model: NWPR brings artists to Creede in the bitter winter months which grows the limited economy. The Portrait Artist paints Creede residents and returns the paintings one year later. The residents may buy their paintings for pay-what-you-can. 100% of the profits are funneled into NWPR to bring more people to Creede. It’s a cycle where everyone wins; but more importantly, where everyone is valued and worthy of art. 

"To paint a portrait of someone is not just to simulate their likeness, it is a proclamation of their worth. This project uses art to stimulate a community’s economy and showcase its residents. It affirms that every house deserves not just to own art but to be art, it reimagines how art can interact in our communities to support them.” Katrina Zarate, Portrait Artist. 

Katrina and paintings will travel to Creede for the Be The Art Portrait Exhibit on February 16, 2018, the last night of NWPR 2018. Residents will have the opportunity to purchase their portraits for whatever they can afford. All proceeds will benefit the National Winter Playwrights Retreat. This philanthropic project will help HBMG Foundation who in turn helps playwrights who in turn help a town - all of this inspiring a portrait artist trying to help change the way we view art and the way we view ourselves.