Eckburg: Local FoCo artists are everywhere, know where to look


Collegian | Bella Eckburg

Bella Eckburg, Opinion Director

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Fort Collins is home to many mom-and-pop shops for you to peruse, especially in Old Town. If your family comes up to visit, Old Town is the first place you want to show off aside from campus. 


The plethora of goodies to be found in these shops comes from all over, but it is so special to find something that speaks to you and then learn that it comes from a local artist or craftsperson.

Horsetooth Stem and Roots is a local houseplant boutique in Old Town, located at 516 S. College Ave. There, among the glorious foliage, you can find locally made ceramics, rugs, art prints and more. 

The boutique partners with many different artists and constantly has a new array of handmade items coming up for sale through these artist partnerships.

Local artists are everywhere; you just need to know where to look. On campus, if you enter one of the multiple galleries and see something you like, odds are you can find that artist on Instagram and get a print. Local artists want to be seen the same way you want to see them.

Sarah Blackwell, a local mixed-media embroidery artist, has had lots of her work featured at Kansas City Kitty, located at 136 N. College Ave.

“The first time I stepped foot in Kansas City Kitty was about a year ago,” Blackwell said. “I’m sure it was a combination of the fantastic music and beautiful golden hour light because I instantly fell in love with the space. … Kansas City Kitty is actually the first physical retail store to sell my artwork. Before them, I was exclusively selling my work through my website. I’m super grateful to have the opportunity to share such a gorgeous space with so many other awesome artists.”

Local Fort Collins art comes in many forms — from leather crafting and glasswork to pottery and illustration

“I would describe my work as a highly unique, handmade craft,” Blackwell said. “I specialize in curating custom decor and functional art for your home and lifestyle by integrating mixed media elements of painting, illustration and fiber art to create eye-catching and conversation-starting displays.”

“There’s something special about shopping locally, and art is a common language. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from — you can connect with creativity and the desire to share something you love with others in the community.”

Instagram is a great space for local artists to showcase their work due to the visual nature of the application, and you can often find their personal shops linked in their profiles. If you like what you see sold in local stores, there is more to see when you connect personally with the artists.


“Kansas City Kitty is amazing because they give me total creative freedom when it comes to choosing which of my products I display there,” Blackwell said. “I really love to cater my work to their specific audience, but I also use the space to display some of my best sellers.”

If you’re wanting something specific, a lot of artists take commissions where you can pay them to create something personal for you in their style. 

“I absolutely love working with people,” Blackwell said. “I started out just taking commissions. It’s now grown into so much more. But my favorite work is commission work. I think it’s so much fun chatting with people who love my work the same way I do, and being able to bring their ideas to life is such an incredible feeling.”

There’s something special about shopping locally, and art is a common language. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from — you can connect with creativity and the desire to share something you love with others in the community. 

If you’re interested in connecting with local artists, searching through the feeds of local stores featuring unique art is a great place to start. Once you’re following along, you’re sure to get many more great recommendations as the artists post and celebrate themselves and the artists around them. 

“It’s so easy to support artists even if you don’t have any money to spend,” Blackwell said. “You will be so deeply appreciated by the artist just by showing up to art shows and events, dropping by their booths at markets or even just simply giving them a follow on Instagram.”

Reach Bella Eckburg at or on Twitter @yaycolor.