A permanent Artocade museum will be made reality this weekend with the opening of the Art Cartopia Museum this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2702 Freedom Road, near businesses THCU and Big R, in Trinidad from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
“Come see it for the first time, its kind of a sneak peek,” offers Artocade organizer Rodney Wood. “They will get a taste of it. There are at least three cars we’ve just inherited in three weeks and one has never been in the parade.” Wood promises a total of 22 art cars will be on display along with “other cool stuff” in the new museum space that most-recently housed the Trinidad State mining technology program.
The Friday opening marks a major move toward stability for the museum, which was born from the annual Trinidad art car event Artocade. Two previous locations have housed iterations of ‘art car museums,’ but both failed for a variety of reason’s said Wood in a Saturday, November 17 interview.
“We were really getting good at moving cars, but this is the last time, we’re done,” said Wood.
The new location also represents a step forward for Trinidad State, Artocade and the community in their relationships with one another.
“One thing led to another,” explains Wood after detailing how the last two locations for the museum fell through. “I asked Greg Boyce (from Trinidad State) what this building was being used for— and it’s a mining tech building and I’ve heard of all the things they used to do in here. Mining tech was the last one where they were training people on machinery, related to the mining industry…When the mine went away the last time, or two, the program wasn’t viable anymore (and this building) became just storage. It wasn’t being used by the college except to store tractors, so Greg Boyce working with Dr. Simone, asked if this was possible and it turned out to be really possible.”
Wood said his organization wouldn’t be satisfied just being “tenants” of the college. He said as time goes by the museum hopes to interact more with the college and vice-versa, mentioning workshops and other projects that could be done out of the space.
“It’s difficult for the college, any college or institution, to engage with the community and this is one way they can do that. So, it is a win-win for everybody. They gave us a very good rate and (this space) is so much better than we anticipated,” said Wood.
The amount of space available to the museum at 2702 Freedom Road also broadens the scope of what the museum might, one day, be.
Said Wood, “It took us from being a museum, to where there’s all these different opportunities here, the museum, classrooms, gift shop all these things. Talking to one of the art people in town last night he said, ‘Wow, you’re not just going to be an art museum, but an art center.’ That’s a lot. That’s a really great thing… And it will give us some stability, long term. It makes it real. It helps with fundraising; grant writing so we can get a director that’s not 68 years old. Sustainable is a good word. It makes the event ‘sustainable’.”
Wood said education had always been at the heart of the Artocade mission, but would be even more so now, with the college’s involvement. Yet, he promised programs and events for people of all ages.
As for what is planned in the short term? “We are going to be open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then we are going to ease into reality. By mid December, we will be open five days a week. And we plan on being free, at least for this first year,” said Wood.
Yet there are still some expectations to be met, being this is related to Artocade, where ostentation is literally an art form.
“We are going to make a scene,” asserted Wood. “I ordered a 22-foot gorilla to put out front. People will see us… It’s going to take a while to build up, like ArtoCade, but we are going to be on the lips quick.”