Bolivar Collective Proves A Backyard Art Show Isn't Child's Play

The hot crowd was all smiles at last weekend's Bolivar.
The hot crowd was all smiles at last weekend's Bolivar.
All photos by Alex Scott

Don't have a space for an art gallery? Don't have a venue for bands? The Bolivar Arts & Music Collective proved all you need is a forest of bamboo, your mother's spare bed sheets and beer. Make that lots of beer.

The most recent of the monthly events proves that art and culture start literally from the ground up. Last Saturday more than 70 people crowded the backyard of Tony Letts and Trey Wright, two of the collective's original founders.

Hope Mom didn't want those sheets back.
Hope Mom didn't want those sheets back.


The structure of the collective is simple: $4 gets you admission to the art show and beer all day, artists pay $10 to $15 to show their work and everyone has a great time. The money funds the refill of kegs throughout the night, and some of the costs incurred by the seven or so people that help build the booths and stage. More than 20 artists displayed their work in just about every imaginable medium.

A taste of the works up for sale.
A taste of the works up for sale.


The show brings in artists from Denton, but recently it's starting to gain attention from artists outside of the college town. Constantly adding new talent to each show, the collective has even gained attention from local businesses. Local clothing designer Burger and Friends joined the party and sold Denton-themed shirts and tees with witty pop references.

Bolivar Collective Proves A Backyard Art Show Isn't Child's Play


Six bands and a DJ provided a constant stream of music as guests browsed paintings, photography, and hand-made jewelry. The music reflected the atmosphere, from the western folk sounds of Ratcliff, TX and The Dandy Lions in the afternoon to party-ready rock from the likes of Teasley Ln. and Net Worth at night.

Homegrown gallery
Homegrown gallery

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Four months ago, before the 35 Conferette in Denton, a group of friends made a bamboo fort in a backyard using zip ties, sheets, and bamboo cut from the yards of friends. This seemingly ridiculous way to spend the night drinking sparked their imaginations. Perhaps it was the chandeliers of tea lights hanging from the bamboo rafters or the portrait of NYPD Blue's Andy Sipowicz hanging from a "wall" of sheets that inspired the idea of a homegrown art show.

"The idea is so simple. People could be doing this anywhere at any time, they just don't," said Nic Harper, a musician and member of the collective.

The collective seems to have no limits on its expansion. Next month's show on July 9 is set to be even bigger, with more artists, bands, and a special performance of Jurassic Park: The Musical. Visit the Bolivar Arts & Music Collective Facebook page for more info.

Bolivar Collective Proves A Backyard Art Show Isn't Child's Play

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