What Do Venice and Fort Collins Have in Common? Masks!

I was up in Fort Collins, Colorado this past weekend visiting my friends Andy and Veronica Miscio. Despite having lived in Colorado for several years now, this was the first time I made it to this university town (population 150,000) about an hour north of Denver. Andy, a commercial real estate developer, took us on an insider’s tour which included a visit to the Fort Collins Museum of Art.

The current exhibit is Masks, an annual fundraiser for the museum.  200 local artists are each given a white mask from which to create a masterpiece. As I looked at the wide range of designs, I couldn’t help but think that the only other place I have seen so many beautiful masks was in Venice. Visiting the Fort Collins Museum of Art was a really good reminder that while we dream of traveling all over the world to experience art and culture, there is actually so much of it in our own backyards and we need to take advantage of it!

Same thing could be said about cuisine. Andy then took us to Jay’s Bistro for an exquisite dinner of Modern American dishes. Turns out owner Jay Witlen and his wife Jacki are huge Italophiles, spending weeks at a time in Italia. That’s another thing that I have learned. You can go anywhere in the world and Italy, and a shared passion for the place, brings people together and gives them something to discuss!

My weekend in Fort Collins was a lesson that so much of the richness we seek abroad can also be found close to home.