Sheridan Arts Foundation: 22 Nationally Recognized Artists to Paint in Telluride Region, 6/30 – 7/6!

Sheridan Arts Foundation: 22 Nationally Recognized Artists to Paint in Telluride Region, 6/30 – 7/6!

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation (SAF) hosts 22 nationally recognized American plein air artists from June 28-July 4, 2022. The group gathers in Telluride for the 19th annual Telluride Plein Air. Artists will spend one week painting outside capturing the light, color and unique character of this breathtaking region, including the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village.

For a complete schedule of events, artist information, painting locations and sponsorship opportunities, please visit the Telluride Plein Air website at or visit the Sheridan Arts Foundation website at

For more on the Sheridan Arts Foundation and Opera House, go here.


The Sheridan Arts Foundation (SAF) hosts 22 nationally recognized artists June 30-July 6, 2024. The mark-makers gather in Telluride, Colo. for the 21st annual Telluride Plein Air. Artists will spend a week painting outside capturing the light, color and unique character of the Telluride region’s unforgettable scene and scenery, including the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village.  

A three-day art exhibition and sale is held on Thursday, July 4 through Saturday, July 6, to display completed works of flower-filled meadows, majestic mountains and colorful downtown. Artists typically create 10 to 20 pieces, culminating in over 200 paintings to view and purchase over the course of the sale. Artists are also allowed to display one studio piece of Telluride, painted off-site, marked with a unique price tag.

Telluride Plein Air’s participating artists were selected through a competitive juried process with over 95 applicants in late-2023.

2015 Artist’s Choice Award, Carl Bretzke

Plein Air- What’s it all about?

“Plein air” is a concept first associated with the French Impressionists and, in that context, is shorthand for “very spendy, but would look great in your living room if you could afford one.”

Just kidding…

En plein air is a French expression, which means “in the open air.” The term was and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors, popularized in the 19th century.

Digging into the details of that story, Eugene Boudin was one of the more adventurous 19th-century painters, known primarily for his beach scenes and seascapes of northern France and for his luminous skies. One of Boudin’s students was a young painter named Claude Monet to whom Boudin taught the importance of painting a scene directly from nature in the light, in the air, just as he saw it.

In the stroke of Monet’s brush, painting en plein air was born. Out went the dark palette of Realism and the Barbizon School. In came the sun.

When Monet and his colleagues first came on the scene back in 1874, artists who ultimately became brand names – Monet, Manet, Renoir, Bonnard, and Degas –  were all considered rebels. Defying the traditions of the official Salon de Paris, they moved their studios outdoors into the open air – again, en plein air – to facilitate the direct observation of nature.

The fraternity originally called themselves “Societe Anonyme,” but a critic hatched what he believed to be a derisive handle based on the title of one of Monet’s paintings in a group show, “Impression: Sunrise.”

The Impressionists chose to use landscapes and scenes from everyday life as covers for their true subjects, color and light, defying a trend popular throughout the 19th century (and with the Salon de Paris) of painting historical or literary subjects.


Impressionism is an old idea.

With new blood.

The first important Impressionist work to be shown in America was Manet’s “Execution of the Emperor Maximilian,” banned by Paris censors and politically inflammatory. According to art critic Robert Hughes, in 1879 the image was brought to New York and Boston by an opportunistic singer named Madame Ambre, who put on a show to generate publicity for her recitals.

In 1886, a popular French art dealer mounted the first professional show of Impressionist images at the American Art Association’s galleries. Thus began America’s love affair with fine European works of art.

In a heartbeat, American artists began to adopt plein air techniques.

Much late-19th and early 20th-century painting stems from reactions to Impressionism’s basic tenets.

Today in the U.S. alone, there are 500+ registered Plein Air painters.

Telluride Plein Air 2024 Artists:

Jenny Aitken UK
Kirsten Anderson CA
Marc Anderson WI
Suzie Baker TX
Paul Bergquist WI
Carla Bosch TX
Allen Brockbank UT
Michele Byrne NM
Philip Alexander Carlton CO
David Dallison IL
Bill Enyart CO
Jody Kauflin CO
Christine Lashley VA
Wayne McKenzie CA
Barbara Meikle NM
Boon Heng Pang CA
Antwan Ramar FL
Jeff Stahler CO
Jeff Steiner MN
Patricia Sweet NC
Richie Vios TX
Stewart White MD

Schedule of Events:

June 30 – July 2 (all day)

Plein Air artists at work, various locations in and around Telluride: Visitors and locals alike will have the unique opportunity to observe 22 of the nation’s top plein air artists as they paint on location in Telluride, Colorado. Artists paint on site during the sale as well.

Wednesday, July 3 (5-8:30 p.m.)

Golden Hour Quick Draw Competition/ Artist Choice Preview Cocktail Party & Sale: This event is free and open to the public!
5:00- 6:30 p.m| 90-minute painting competition on Main Street

6:45 p.m.| Quick Draw Awards / Sale Outside the Sheridan Opera House

7:00- 8:30 p.m | Artist Choice Preview & Cocktail Party in the SHOW Bar

7:30 p.m | Artist Choice Presentation – 1st Place $3,000 · 2nd Place $1,500 · 3rd Place $500

Thursday, July 4 – Saturday, July 6 (9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Plein Air Exhibition & Art Sale – Sheridan Opera House Courtyard /Elks Park:

This event is free and open to the public! Plein Air memorabilia (posters, notecards and tote bags) will be available for sale in addition to paintings.

Join the SAF team in the Sheridan Opera House courtyard and Elks Park for a sale of paintings created during the week-long celebration. Please note that artists are limited to hanging eight – ten paintings at one time, so new paintings will continually be displayed as others sell — especially on the second day of the sale! Please note: if there is inclement weather, the sale will be moved inside the Sheridan Opera House theater.


Net proceeds retained by the SAF benefit community programming of the Sheridan Arts Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization operating out of the historic Sheridan Opera House. The SAF’s mission is to preserve 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.


Event Sponsors: Plein Air Magazine, Guerrilla Painters, and the Sheridan Arts Foundation.

Contact Ronnie Palamar at 970.728.6363 ext. 1 or to learn about other sponsorship opportunities.

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