Telluride Plein Air Festival
Jill Banks painting en plein air during the Quick Draw

The Sheridan Arts Foundation (SAF) hosted 24 nationally recognized plein air artists June 30–July 6, 2019, in Telluride, Colorado, for the 16th annual Telluride Plein Air. These artists spent a week painting outside, capturing the light, color, and unique character of this breathtaking region, including the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village.

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A three-day art exhibition and sale was held in early July, displaying the completed works of flower-filled meadows, majestic mountains, and colorful downtown scenery. Over $130,000 worth of paintings were sold at the three-day sale.

The Telluride Plein Air’s participating artists were selected through a juried process, in which applicants submitted images and a biography to be reviewed by a panel of artists, gallery owners, and educators.

Telluride Plein Air Festival
2019 Telluride Plein Air Festival Artist Choice Winners

Each year the top-selling artists and our Artist Choice first place winning artist from the previous event are invited back to participate. Alison Leigh Menke won the prestigious Artist Choice in 2018. Top sellers who returned this year were Jill Banks, Suzie Baker, Mat Barber Kennedy, Christine Lashley, and Wayne McKenzie. Ten artists were new to Telluride Plein Air this year, with 14 returning.

The 2019 Artist Choice winner was Christine Lashley of Reston, VA. Runners-up were Mat Barber Kennedy of Chicago, IL, in second place and Suzie Baker of Shenandoah, TX, in third place. Lashley took home a $2,000 first place cash prize as well as a full-page ad valued at $3,995 in PleinAir magazine, a sponsor of the event. Kennedy took home $750 cash, a $300 gift card to Open Box M, and a subscription to PleinAir magazine, and Baker took home $250 cash and a subscription to PleinAir magazine.

Telluride Plein Air Festival
Christine Lashley

Kirsten Anderson of Long Beach, CA, won first place for the Tuesday, July 2, Quick Draw event, taking home $800 cash. Rita Pacheco took second and Alison Menke took third. All three winners took home a bottle of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a sponsor of the event.

Top five sellers from 2019 were (in alphabetical order) Kirsten Anderson, Jill Banks, Mat Barber Kennedy, Christine Lashley, and Wayne McKenzie.

Telluride Plein Air Festival
Jie Wei Zhou’s portrait session during the Telluride Plein Air Festival

Telluride Plein Air Festival Telluride Plein Air Festival

The Sheridan Arts Foundation created the Telluride Plein Air festival 16 years ago to benefit community programming and the continual upkeep and restoration at the historic Sheridan Opera House in Telluride. The Sheridan Opera House has provided quality entertainment to Telluride since 1913. All artwork profits are split, with 40 percent benefiting the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s community programming and 60 percent retained by the artists.


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