– Bob Bahr reporting, Editor PleinAir Today –

Why did Jane Hunt set up a tent along the road and paint the Bolder Boulder 10K race recently?

Lead Image: Jane Hunt painting a 10K race in Boulder, CO

The City of Boulder did pay her $150, but that wasn’t much of an incentive for a day’s work and the necessary preparation, including a banner that read, “Smile, you’re being painted!” Hunt says that she’d been thinking about the advice given to artists to build a reputation in their local communities, then expand it outward, regionally, nationally, and perhaps internationally.

“I did it all a bit backwards, and now I’m finally starting to understand the benefits of a strong local presence,” she says. “I recently started a local mentoring service to complement my online one, so whenever I do an event like this, or am out painting in my community, I meet potential students and collectors. To me this was about developing and nurturing relationships with some of the fantastic people right on my doorstep.”

Her painting of the race in progress
Her painting of the race in progress

The event itself is pretty fantastic. It attracts more than 52,000 runners and an estimated 70,000 spectators. The City of Boulder reaches out to the arts community to enlist performers to entertain the assembled crowds during the Memorial Day-weekend event. “The city was looking for ‘acts,’ and I applied,” says Hunt. “They usually hire musicians and dancers, but I guess they appreciated me thinking outside the box.”

Painting as the runners come toward her
Painting as the runners come toward her

The race puts an emphasis on fun —Hunt has a video on her Facebook page showing competitors dancing to the song “YMCA.” She reports that many runners paused as they came to her painting station. “It was funny how many people stopped to look and ‘pose’ — especially as it was a timed event,” Hunt says. “I believe I diminished the collective race time!”

One thing she didn’t do was get a lot of painting done. “It was chaotic and I was talking non-stop, so I only did one little study,” the artist reports. “I got several offers to buy the painting and I directed them to my local gallery, Mary Williams Fine Arts. I learned a lot, and next year I will make a few changes, including doing more paintings and propping a larger finished version facing the runners so they can easily see it on their way by.”


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