Mountain splendor: Longtime Telluride resident Leslie Ross Crane exhibits new works at Baked In Telluride from 5-8 p.m. Thursday during Telluride ArtWalk. (Courtesy photo) 

Music festivals may have gone disappeared this summer, but when it comes to creative expression, the vibe in the box canyon is as big and bold as ever.

This week, no fewer than four separate artistic events not merely ‘kick off,’ they are returning for the summer season. 

The get-togethers may look a little different this year, in order to comply with local and state health guidelines. (Main Street is reliably relaxed, gorgeous and sunny this time of year, but we are in a pandemic, and the first priority is to ensure the safety of residents, visitors and the artists themselves). 

The poster for the Ah Haa School’s annual auction pretty much sums up the changes: the auction is online this year. But the good news is that is not only still taking place, but for a longer time than usual: the sale launches with an online artwork and silent auction Friday, July 3, and culminates two weeks later, on July 17, in a live auction at 7:30 p.m. (visit to learn more).

The week before the July 4 is typically when the Telluride Plein Air festival is held. In lieu of a crowded fest, the SHOW Bar at the Sheridan Opera House will host an exhibit of works by plein air artists later this week. And the Telluride Summer Arts Bazaar is still going on, in the open-air Transfer Warehouse. Do you doubt this is the ideal setting for this sale? The bazaar was held in the exact same place last year, pre-Covid 19 (take that,novel coronavirus). 

A variety of “fine art, crafts, body products and more, all made by hand by local vendors,” will be for sale in the roofless warehouse next Saturday and Sunday, July 4-5, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

But before any of this happens, it’s time for First Thursday ArtWalk: participating venues will introduce new artists and exhibits this Thursday from 5-8 p.m. (visit to see a complete lineup). Complimentary gallery guides will be available around town, so you can do your own tour at your leisure; the works stay up past Thursday night after all, typically through the next month. 

Among the highlights at this particular ArtWalk will be an exhibit of smaller, much more affordable works by the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art’s artists. Painter James Hayward, for example, whose works hang all over the U.S. (and whose pieces typically go for tens of thousands of dollars, when they are available for sale at all) agreed to produce several pieces for the Gallery for as little as $5,000 (one work costs just $1,500). 

Hayward is a friend of the owners of the Gallery of Fine Art. Other works on exhibit at ArtWalk this week are by Telluride’s friends (and even residents) as well. 

Long-time resident “and late-blooming artist” Leslie Ross Crane, for example, exhibits a few new and recent oil paintings at Baked In Telluride, for example. 

Kamruz Gallery features photography by Mary Kenez — also a Telluride resident — and local painters that “capture the spirit of Telluride and the Southwest.”

And Gallery 81435 presents works by Shinji Turner-Yamamoto (who was born in Japan) and Eric Bourret (who lives and works in the South of France and the Himalayas). 

Given the number of explorers, guides and mountain-lovers who reside in and visit this region, it seems likely the work of both artists will catch not only the spirit of Telluride —but the interest of those who will see get to see their works Thursday, in an exhibit that has been brought to the box canyon by Sapar Contemporary.