Lorenzo Chavez paints the view from the ruins of ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park.

Last month 23 artists had a singular painting experience: They painted in and around ancient cliff dwellings in Southwestern Colorado. Surrounded by art made by Pueblo inhabitants nearly 1,400 years ago, the contemporary painters created works that will be on sale in October, with proceeds going to the preservation of Mesa Verde National Park.

Jo Anna Arnett found some shade from which to paint the historic cliff dwellings.

The artists invited by the Mesa Verde Foundation to participate in the event, dubbed “Rims to Ruins,” included Veryl Goodnight, Jim Wilcox, Curt Walters, Lorenzo Chavez, Ralph Oberg, Doug Dawson, Jo Anna Arnett, Mian Situ, David Drummond, James Asher, and Joe Bohler.

“The inaugural ‘Rims to Ruins’ paint out was an unqualified success,” says Marilyn Alkire, the Mesa Verde Foundation board member who chaired the event. “All were touched by the wonder and spirit of the park. It is truly an honor for us to have hosted such a prestigious group of artists, each of whom created beautiful and powerful works of art, much to the delight of all present. With proceeds benefiting Mesa Verde Foundation, we are able to increase our support of this magnificent park.”

Ralph Oberg took to the high ground to capture a vista.

The artists were allowed to paint in the park on May 20 and 21, and on May 22 a quick draw event was held, with the paintings put up for auction that afternoon. The participants were invited to paint studio pieces based on their experiences at Mesa Verde for an exhibition scheduled for October 22 at the Denver Public Library’s Vida Ellison Gallery.


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