When she became the newest curator at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in January 2020, Pamela Meadows vowed to take risks and be daring. Over the last two years, Meadows has done exactly that while at the same time overcoming hurdles created by the coronavirus pandemic with grace and ease.
Meadows, who was hired after a nationwide search to fill the curator position, served most recently as the director and curator of the University of Northern Colorado Galleries in Greeley. Before that, she helped envision exhibitions at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the Find & Form Space in Boston; The Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania; the Diego Rivera Gallery and the Receiver Gallery in San Francisco; and The New Art Center and Montserrat Galleries in Massachusetts.
We wanted to get to know Meadows a little better, so we asked her to share her dream day in Boulder County, from sun-up to sundown. Here’s how she’d spend her time.
First stop: Laughing Goat Coffee (1709 Pearl St.). The downtown coffee shop has a warm atmosphere that Meadows loves. “ I like to stop in for a morning coffee, but this location offers live music later in the day for a more relaxed nightlife vibe,” she says.
Next, she’d visit with artist Liz Quan in her North Boulder studio (4593 Broadway Unit C120). “Doing studio visits with artists in and around Boulder is one of my favorite parts of being a curator,” she says. “Meeting artists where they work and develop their practices is a great adventure that often leads to trying new coffee shops, bakeries or galleries in the area.”
She’d wander into Moxie Bread Co. (4593 Broadway), then scope out North Boulder arts venues like The Gallery at the Bus Stop Apartments (4895 Broadway) and East Window (4949 Broadway Unit 102B), a micro-gallery that offers screenings, exhibits and installations. “I enjoy seeing what other local arts organizations are doing and how they are supporting artists. It better informs my work and often sparks inspiration or ideas for cross-community partnerships,” she says.
To load up on snacks before a hike, Meadows heads to Cured (1825 B Pearl St.). “If I’m headed out on a hike, I’m already thinking about what I’m going to eat when I’m finished,” she says. “While Cured is known for its hand-picked selection of cheeses, charcuterie, wines and spirits, their grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and charcuterie plates make for a nice impromptu picnic.”
Meadows is a big fan of the hiking trails at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (1850 Table Mesa Drive), so during her dream day, that’s her next stop. “When I first moved to Colorado six years ago, one of the first weekend hikes I tagged along on was at NCAR,” she says. “Over the years, I’ve frequented their many hiking trails with new friends, old friends visiting from back east, and many four-legged friends. It’s become a go-to of mine for a satisfying, easy to moderate hiking spot with stunning views that never disappoint and several trail options.”
If she didn’t pack a picnic (or she’s still hungry afterward), Meadows would head to Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery (1535 Pearl St.). “Nothing tastes better after a hike than a juicy burger and beer and Mountain Sun has that and more,” she says. “There’s something for every beer-drinker here, including Belgian-style tripel — my favorite!”
Of course, her perfect day wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (1750 13th St.). On any given day at this downtown museum, guests can see innovative, compelling and engaging contemporary art exhibitions and public programs that activate the artworks on view. The museum also extends beyond the walls of its historic, 1906 building offering satellite exhibitions and public art projects at locations around the community such as One Boulder Plaza, Frasier Retirement Community and BMoCA at Macky Auditorium.
“I welcome and encourage guests to stop by the museum to check out our latest exhibitions,” she says. “We offer family education materials and activities for younger audiences and our visitor services staff are on-site to assist with interpretation questions and more information about upcoming shows and programs.”
Meadows likes to venture to Jones + CO (1949 Pearl St.), a modern mercantile with a contemporary vibe that’s a short walk from BMoCA, to clear her head and stretch her legs during her lunch break from work. “Jones + CO collaborates with artisans of all kinds, connecting artists and customers to quality materials with high craftsmanship. As a curator whose life passion is working with artists, it’s a place where I feel like the products that are carried are loved and thoughtfully selected.”
On Wednesdays after work (and some Saturday mornings), you can find Meadows at the Boulder County Famers Market (13th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe), which is one of the many things she looks forward to every spring and summer. “Leaving the museum, I’m greeted with a vibrant array of local vendors sharing the impact and importance of eating locally. I like to delay my commute home and walk the market choosing a few items to take back with meal planning the following week,” she says.
At the end of her ideal day in Boulder County, Meadows is all about experiencing the local food and drink scene. First, she’d grab a beer at Bohemian Biergarten (2017 13th St.). “What I love about this spot is that it’s not your ordinary Boulder bar — its vibe is Central European,” she says. “With a cozy street-side patio area for outdoor drinking and people watching, this spot has become a favorite of mine for meeting friends after work for a beer within walking distance.”
If family or friends are in town (or if she’s just missing Sunday dinners with her Italian family back home in New Jersey), Meadows loves to dine at Frasca (1738 Pearl St.). “In search of some delicious Italian, I first tried Frasca when my brother came to visit me in Colorado. He was gearing up for a trip to Italy for his 40th birthday we wanted to celebrate. The food is truly memorable and every course was exceptional.”
And, finally, for dessert as the sun sets on another dreamy day in Boulder: Shamane’s Bakery & Cafe (2825 Wilderness Pl. #800). “I first fell in love with Shamane’s sweet treats after tasting the lemon meringue pie. An all-time favorite dessert of mine, theirs was next-level good. Next on my list to try is their key lime.”