By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) — For its eighth year after a pandemic hiatus, the Cheesman Park Art Fest has returned. The event features approximately 140 artists and craftsmen from all across the United States collaborating in-person at the park.

“Lots of people have showed up in Denver for us this weekend, and we’re so excited to see the community back again,” said Liz King, Director of Cheesman Park Art Fest. “We had a lot of virtual shows happen during 2020, which is great, but there’s nothing like experiencing a piece of artwork.”

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King says everything is 100% handmade by artists like Julie Leidel, owner of The Bungalow Craft.

“Being back doing art shows this season has meant the world to me,” Leidel told CBS4’s Mekialaya White. “I think every artist felt the impact.”

She proudly displayed her work on Sunday morning at the festival, which she says helps demonstrate a story of resilience. The local contemporary artist says the past year-plus has been a career-defining chapter in her life.

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“I feel that art has healed my soul. Some of it has been light and happy, and also dark and something I needed to get though. So it’s been a visual journal through this time.”

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As part of her journey, she’s visited and featured various landmarks across Colorado.

“Colorado is magnificent. There is a new vista and landscape every turn, and I realize I’m scratching the surface, and I think the spirit of Coloradans is getting out in nature and exploring your own path,” said Leidel.

In her own path of self-discovery, she’s learned how invaluable having this larger community of artisans is to her.

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“Hopefully now we’re starting to open back up to where we have this opportunity to re-assess and see the gratitude of the simple things we took for granted before.”

Mekialaya White