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The Joe Show brings Pagosa a new creative energy

On Wednesday, April 21, the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium became a creativity laboratory where students from first grade through 12th grade explored ideas of found sound, interdisciplinary art, music, social interaction, roots music, and the human need to tell each unique story.

During the school day, Joe Craven performed and inspired Pagosa elementary school students who then continued their exploration of “found sounds” in their music classes with Lisa Hartley.

The afternoon found Craven playing host to about 200 high school students. He connected with every student in the audience by the end having students play the fiddle and create songs impromptu in addition to his own stellar performance on mandolin, fiddle, angel-food cake pans, and jaw bones.

With Joe’s help, student musicians, painters and dancers planned their contributions to the evening’s “Joe Show.” In all, 10 students collaborated with Joe during the evening concert in addition to a guest appearance by saxophonist Bob Hemenger.

During one of Joe’s Caribbean tunes, three visual art students climbed onto the stage and began to paint. The results were three fantastically expressive paintings. The student musicians then played three songs, giving the audience a preview of the Americana Project, which was started this semester to provide students with the opportunity to explore songwriting and recording. It continues as a full class offering taught by Hemenger next year.

This is only the beginning. Keep your eyes peeled for more Pagosa Art Explosions in the future.

For those interested in purchasing one of the paintings from Wednesday with the proceeds being split between the artist and Pagosa’s Fine Arts Magnet Academy, contact Beka at or call the high school at 264-2231.