(AND OUR SHENANIGANS)
ArtoCade Inc. and Art Cartopia Museum are devoted to sharing the fun spirit and creativity of art cars. We seek to attract visitors to Trinidad and southern Colorado via our annual art car festival and parade happening this year on September 8th and 9th, 2023. Our world class art car museum serves as a year round attraction and destination for visitors, as well as the site for ongoing arts education programs and as an arts venue. Our mission is to be a focus for local community building, collaborative projects and activities. We are devoted to sharing our ardent belief in the value of art, creativity and having fun.
In 2012, the Trinidad Tourism Board consulted artist and event planner Rodney Wood with the goal of creating a “signature event” that would serve to attract visitors. After much thought, the concept of an “art car festival and parade” was formulated and subsequently pitched to the Tourism Board. After the initial "deer in headlights" bafflement and questions, the Board had the courage to commit to their first festival in 2013. They decided to hire Mr. Wood as the event planner, facilitator, and promoter (aka: Director of the Asylum). It is now ArtoCade Inc., a 501c3 organization and harbinger of all-things-zany in Trinidad, CO!
What the heck is an art car?!
“If you can’t drive it, it’s a float; end of rules.”
Anything you can drive *could* qualify as an art car - cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors, golf carts, ATVs and more. Art cars and art car events are not new; parades, festivals, and gatherings have been going on in America for close to 35 years. The majority of the noted events occur in major cities - Houston (30+ yrs), Seattle, San Francisco (both 25+ yrs), Chattanooga, Minneapolis and others. ArtoCade had hoped to have 25 entries for its inaugural event but was thrilled to have 51 artfully kooky conveyances driving down the historic brick streets of Trinidad. The zany parade has grown in quantity and quality every year since. Houston is the king/queen of art car parades and typically has 250-300 parade entries. In what can only be called a very unexpected happenstance, within the first 2-3 years of the parade, Trinidad has had more art car entries than Seattle & San Francisco COMBINED! This quirky little town on the CO-NM border, with its 115+ artful vehicles from 12-18 states, is the second largest art car parade/event in the nation. WOW! That’s astounding and so too is the fact that we have 8,000-10,000 spectators (book your accommodations early; just sayin'...) arriving for the festival, which will take place on September 8th and 9th, 2023.
Okay...then what's Art Cartopia?!
Following the inception and success of ArtoCade, out of left field came another unexpected evolution. In the fall of 2016, we noticed a rather unforeseen reality…We had the keys to around 14 art cars, which were stashed in garages around town, unused, uncelebrated, unsensationalized...*insert cosmic dope slap here* It occurred to us that maybe we should find a way to show these driveable treasures to visitors who come to town throughout the year and not just during the ArtoCade Festival. The idea of an art car museum was born. The “ArtoCadiens” set out to invent a truly uncommon showplace for their astounding collection. After overcoming some challenges and owing to ArtoCade's community partnerships and the dogged devotion of a number of Trinidad's ArtoCadians, the NEO-ROADSIDE ATTRACTION otherwise known as Art Cartopia opened its (garage) doors in December 2018…The rest will become history, of which you may play a part. We hope to welcome you to our wacky world soon!!