ArtoCade Parade and Museum Hit a Dead End in


Ten years ago, artist Rodney Wood, a Colorado native who’d gone to Colorado State University and already done stints in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Santa Fe, revved up ArtoCade, an annual art-car celebration and parade that started rolling through the town of Trinidad in September 2013, displaying wild, weird and wacky vehicles.

The event became so popular that Wood soon opened the Art Cartopia Museum, a volunteer-run garage where ArtoCade’s most legendary art cars were put on display. “The museum is a publicity stunt to get people to Trinidad to see something out of the ordinary,” Wood told us in 2019, the year after he won a Colorado Governor’s Creative Leadership Award. “We’re creating a real roadside attraction. We even have a giant gorilla blowup holding a car.”

click to enlarge art car honoring Albert Einstein

Prisoners helped create “Albert Canstein,” a car honoring Albert Einstein.

Rodney Wood

But then came the pandemic, and Wood’s move to Kansas. While ArtoCade got rolling last year under new leadership, that effort has now stalled. The museum will close on August 1, and there will be no ArtoCade parade in September. Here’s the sad news just posted on the website and Facebook:

It was a wild and wondrous ride but alas we must inform you that ArtoCade and Art Cartopia museum will no longer be part of the art car universe. In what can be best described not as a crossroads but rather as a dead end, the resources to sustain our operation have fallen short. ArtoCade 2023 has been cancelled and as of August 1 2023, Art Cartopia museum will close its doors permanently.

We are deeply grateful for the art cars and art car artists that made ArtoCade and Art Cartopia such memorable successes. We also cannot accurately express our appreciation of all past/present Board members, ArtoCadiens, volunteers, sponsors, businesses, organizations, grantors/donors and the creative mechanics that kept us rocking & rolling. Without the support of the people and community of Trinidad, we simply, would not have all these “cargantuan” memories. Also we bow in the general direction of all the spectators that came from both near and far to see the festivals and visit the museum.

So, with heavy and wackily embellished hearts, we must now drive (or tow) the ArtoCade and Art Cartopia art cars into the sequined sunset.

Big moocho thanks to you all!

For those addicted to car art, it could be time for a road trip to Houston, home of the world’s oldest and largest art car parade. As for stationary exhibits, Douglas, Arizona, boasts Art Car World.

Colorado is also home to many car collections worth a drive, but as of August, ArtoCade will be off that list.

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