Alpine’s Artwalk postponed until spring 2021

A woman takes in an exhibition at a previous year of Artwalk. With COVID-19 cases on the rise now, Artwalk 2020 has been postponed by its board members and will now take place in spring 2021. Photo by Olaf Growald

ALPINE — Another longstanding event in the Big Bend has fallen casualty to coronavirus. The 27th annual Artwalk event in Alpine has been postponed, moving from late November to an undetermined date in spring 2021.

“We are saddened to have to make this decision, however when we decided earlier this year to move forward with Artwalk 2020, we all said that there had to be a date to finalize moving  forward or postponing the event,” said John Davis, president of the Board of Alpine’s Gallery Night, Inc.

Earlier this Fall, the group had planned to go “full steam ahead with a safe, outdoor venue,” Kerri Blackman, the founder and executive director said in September. “With the schools reopening and COVID cases on the decline, we feel that by late November, we will be in a good position for this event,” Blackman said at the time.

But as late November soon approaches, cases in the tri-county, the nearby cities and across Texas are on the rise. This week, Texas hit an all time high for new cases announced in a single day, and with that in mind, Artwalk plans were reconsidered.

Usually, the annual event takes place in downtown Alpine, delighting visitors with exhibitions in the streets of town and in various galleries, shops and restaurants along the way. Venues showcase art from locals and visiting artists alike, and many businesses in the area rely on the event as a strong source of annual revenue.

The board had hoped the event could continue this year with some masks and physical distancing, but when the directors gathered this fall, it was unanimously decided that the event would be postponed, with the directors citing a few reasons for their decision to delay.

The board of directors first reviewed information on the rising cases of COVID-19 that are being reported in metro areas surrounding the Big Bend, pointing to El Paso and Midland/Odessa cases as an influence for holding off on the 2020 event. But another reason the group considered was that the event draws around 9,000 attendees yearly, and the board felt it was “too risky” to bring visitors to Alpine, saying in a press release, “Our main concern is the health of our community.”

While dates have not been nailed down for 2021, in the meantime, Blackman is reaching out to art and food vendors to return their fees at this time.