During a typical Fourth of July weekend, artists can be seen dotted across town and the surrounding outdoor areas as they paint scenes of Main Street and the mountains during the annual Telluride Plein Air event hosted by the Sheridan Arts Foundation at the Sheridan Opera House. With public health orders still in place in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation postponed the artistic gathering until the fall, but they are still featuring plein air paintings at the opera house’s SHOW Bar this week, with some restrictions, of course.
Participating plein air artists agreed to send two Telluride paintings that will be displayed at the opera house’s bar, which will be open Thursday through Sunday from 4-10 p.m. One painting is to be sold, with 40 percent of sale proceeds benefiting the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s community programming and 60 percent to be retained by the artists. The second painting will be donated by the artist to the foundation, as all sale proceeds will go toward helping sustain operations given the absence of income from usual programming during the pandemic.
The artists were selected through a juried process, which included submitting images and a biography to be reviewed by a panel of artists, gallery owners and educators, according to a news release. 4
“We are following county guidelines and social distancing, and requiring masks inside while viewing the paintings,” foundation executive director Ronnie Palamar said.
Participating artists, including 11 returning and 13 new participants, are Thomas Adkins, Jill Banks, Kirsten Anderson, Allen Brockbank, Marc Anderson, Krystal Brown, Suzie Baker, David Dallison, Bill Farnsworth, Tammie Lane, Bill Meuser, Carol Tarzier, Catherine Hillis, Christine Lashley, Chrissy Pahucki, Patty Voje, Jody Kauflin, Wayne McKenzie, D.K. Palecek, Tara Will, Mat Barber Kennedy, Barbara Meikle, Robert J. Simone and Chris Willey.
Each year the top-selling artists and Artist Choice winner artist from the previous event are invited back to participate; Lashley won the Artist Choice award in 2019.
The SHOW Bar’s outdoor patio area has been expanded as well, and drink and specials will be available this weekend, Palamar explained.
“We are opening our new patio with drink specials and now serving berry pie from the Dolores Market with a glass of rosé for only $12,” Palamar added. “We are excited to share the patio with specialty cocktails, homemade pie, art and live music. Please come and support your favorite venue.”
The nonprofit’s mission of preserving “the historic Sheridan Opera House as an arts and cultural resource for the Telluride community, bring quality arts and cultural events to Telluride and provide local and national youth with access and exposure to the arts through education” has been tested this year.
The remainder of the opera house’s winter schedule was canceled shortly after the state shutdown all ski areas in mid-March. As the pandemic continues into summer, there still isn’t any live music being played inside the historic venue. This week’s plein air event will be a much-needed shot in the arm.
“The Sheridan Arts Foundation, as a nonprofit concert venue, was the first to close and will be the last to reopen. The pandemic storm has affected our ability to produce any concerts, large community gatherings, weddings and nonprofit rentals. We are currently relying on our board and patron donations for the majority of our operating costs,” said Josh Laydon, the opera house facilities and production manager.
Palamar added that there are plans to host live, acoustic music on the patio throughout the summer
For a complete schedule of events, artist information, painting locations and sponsorship opportunities, visit the Telluride Plein Air or Sheridan Arts Foundation websites at telluridepleinair.com or sheridanoperahouse.com.