[click play button to hear Art Goodtimes interview]

Art & Rio

I created “Doers” in February 1993, when Tony Daryani and Mike Ritchey asked me to write a weekly column for their newborn Telluride Daily Planet.  

The column continued to appear every Friday during Telluride’s high seasons of winter and summer until August 2008, when my career took a sharp right turn into the blogosphere. By then I had profiled 462 local notables and international celebrities.

(At #500, Will Thompson of the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art , “Telluride Inside… and Out’s” first official sponsor, has threatened to throw a major shindig for any Doer still kicking around town.)

“Doers” now continues in “Telluride Inside…and Out” – TIO for short – a blogazine all about the zazz of the region: what makes Telluride and surrounds such a unique address on the planet.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: without doubt, a key part of what lights up this place we call home, or home away from home, is its people. The list includes artists, politicians, business owners, celebrities, and kids.

In an era when green is the new black and recycling is the name of the game, what goes around also comes around – but differently: Everything old is new again. When Art Goodtimes was Doer #91, he had never held a public office. As Doer #463, he has been elected county commissioner four times, winning a majority or at least a plurality from regional voters since November 1996.

Once Art believed he was called to become a priest. In the end, he chafed under the collar of constraints. Subsequently his life became a series of adventures, spiced with poetry and laced with street politics. Art’s core values stem from a tribal ethic and a love affair with Mother Earth, both of which inform his politics.

“With Obama’s victory, we will soon have an intelligent man in the White House, a person who believes in social justice and can move the nation forward in ecologically and economically sound ways.”

Obama’s platform appears to be in sync with Art’s beliefs, which have not changed much since he first entered public office in 1997: grass roots democracy, social justice, and ecological wisdom.

The good news for Art’s constituency boils down to payback for a job well done: after 12 years, he no longer has to shout to get his voice heard on our behalf on the regional, state, even national levels. The fact he serves on the public lands steering committee of key legislative organizations – 3,000-member National Association of Counties and the 64-county Colorado Counties Inc., – adds access to muscle, as do his personal relationships with the men and women at the top of the food chain.

“I have just been named chair of the Gateway subcommittee of the PLSC. More than another feather in my cap, the way that translates to clout for locals: if I bring an idea to D.C. today, I can get a hearing and lobbying support. I am also on first-name basis with our former senator, now Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and Governor Ritter calls us the “Ponytail Caucus: that’s Wally White of La Plata, Pete McKay of Silverton/San Juan and me.”

Art is a member of the Green Party, but admits to a blue bias.
“Politically speaking, paint me blue-green.”

Art may look like a radical, but the man has won awards for being a bridge-builder and facilitator.
“I believe in the radical middle. I choose to look like a radical simply to open the door to difference. The fact is I don’t have a hard-boiled agenda, but as a cultural creative, I am consciously out to change the world.”

Art describes his approach to governing as the “Art of the Next Step,” an attitude that involves establishing a shared vision in the gray zone between his values and those of his constituency.
“The fact I was able to satisfy proponents of off-highway vehicles with regard to land use is just one of hundreds of examples. Bottom line: I know how to listen.”

Locally, in the New Year, Art plans to support the efforts of Kris Holstrom and The New Community Coalition, plus those of Joan May and R.S.V.P. (May is charged with helping to establish what Telluride will look like in 20 years.)

Also dead center on his radar is a need to establish national energy reserves, a forest health initiative that will also create jobs, and a re-imaging of subsidies, such as for uranium, based on real cost analyses.

Twenty-seven years ago, Art was the executive director of the Arts Council, which gave birth to the Chamber Music and Mushroom Festivals, among others. His goal then as now to is regionalize support for the arts.

Art will be writing about these and related subjects in his new monthly column for TIO.

As a poet, Art travels the state performing original works, and his latest book of poetry, “As if the World Really Matters (La Alameda Press, 2007) got raves in the Denver-based book publication, Bloomsbury Review, and the San Francisco-based Poetry Flash.

DOERS: Art Goodtimes

By Susan Viebrock

Time in Town: 30 years

Age/Place of Birth: 63/ San Francisco mission district

Marital Status: Complicated

Philosophy of Life: “Ultimately the air / Is bare sunlight where must be found / The lyric valuables,” Geo. Oppen

Favorite Books: Dolores LaChapelle’s Sacred Land Sacred Sex Rapture of the Deep (1992), Gary Snder’s Turtle Island (Pulitzer, 1975)

Favorite Movies: Kurosawa’s “Rashoman,” Reggio’s “Koyaanisqatsi”

Favorite Music/Musicians: Jazz, folk, world beat,Richard and Mimi Fariña, Eliza Gilkyson

Favorite Animals: Bear, mountain lion, Wilson’s Snipe

My Last Meal Would Be: Delicious

Tragic Flaw /If I Could Change One Thing About Myself: Late life overweightedness

Favorite Hangout/Retreat: Two Candles in Norwood

A Really Perfect Day: Begins and ends at Orvis

Most Influenced By: Dolores LaChapelle and her” Way of the Mountains”

Favorite Childhood Memory: Riding my bike

Friends in School Thought I Was: Straight and studious

Growing Up I Wanted To Be: A nuclear physicist

If I Could Be Something/Someone Else: I’d be a musician and a botanist

Person I'd Like to Meet the Most: Ishi

Actor Who Would Play Me: Dustin Hoffman

When I Grow Up I Want to Be: Happy, in love and just as I am

I Would Never: Vote Republican

How I Got Here From There: Listen to my podcast

What I Can't Bear to Throw Out: Almost everything

Last Purchase: Pottery from Goedele Vanhille

Greatest Indulgence: Chocolate

Most Prized Possession: Cloud Acre and its water rights

Weirdest Artifact Collected: A big chunk of petrified dinosaur coprolite

Favorite /Least Favorite Word/Phrase: Yes/No or I love you/Knock yourself out

Fitness Routine: Bicycling and shoveling snow

Proudest Accomplishment: Getting rid of building codes in half this county and forming a County Environment Health department

Wildest Dream: Living like Robinson Crusoe on an uninhabited South Pacific island with my honey

Biggest Challenge: Recovering from the fire that burnt the Grace Estep mansion in Placerville

Bottom Line: Iris Willow, Betzi Hitz, Rio Coyotl, Lindamarie Luna, Wylder Ward Wilson, Cora Pugh, Gregorio Rainbow Oshá, Mary Faery, Sara Mae Friedberg & the rest of my family & friends

And you can reach me at: Cloud Acre, 92 Lone Cone Road, Norwood, 81423 or via San Miguel County, 970-728-3844.

Locally his books of poetry can be purchased at Between the Covers.

To hear Art’s life story, how he got here from there, click the play button and listen to his podcast.

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