2019 Central City Plein Air Festival

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Featuring 22 artists painting in Central City Sept 27-29

By Erin Osovets

Central City Opera, in partnership with the Gilpin County Arts Association, announces the second annual Central City Plein Air Festival from September 27 through September 29. Twenty-two handpicked artists from around the country will travel to Central City for three days to paint fall landscapes and the architecture of this historic Colorado mountain town.

Plein Air artists will be painting from sunrise to sunset within a two-mile radius of the Central City Opera House and will be stationed along Main Street, Eureka Street, up at the Central City Reservoir, Central City cemeteries, and the Coeur D’Alene Mine. Visitors are invited to observe the artists, ask questions and experience Central City in autumn from an artist’s perspective.

A variety of free activities for all ages will take place throughout the weekend, including the KidZone Drop In Arts Station between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Penrose House Lawn. Kids and families are welcome to express their creative energies in a fun and safe outdoor setting.

On Saturday, Sept. 28 at 10:00 a.m., visitors on the Central City All-Access Tour will get to go behind the scenes in the Central City Opera House, Teller House, and other historic properties not currently open to the public. At 12:00 p.m., watch artists create paintings in under 90 minutes at the Quick Draw Competition and purchase your favorite at the following Easel Sale. On Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2:00 p.m., the Gilpin Historical Society will lead the Bald Mountain Cemetery Tour, providing history on those who lived and died in Gilpin County long ago.

The Plein Air Festival will culminate in an Exhibition, Sale and Awards Reception on Sunday, September 29 at 5:00 p.m. The artists’ paintings created throughout the weekend will be on display and available for purchase in the Gilpin County Art Association’s Washington Hall Gallery, located at 117 Eureka Street, Central City.

The 2019 Central City Plein Air Festival Schedule of Events and artist biographies can be found at the Visitor Information Desk in the lobby of the Teller House, located at 120 Eureka Street and at

Proceeds from this event support Central City Opera and the Gilpin County Arts Association.

Central City Opera’s relationship with Central City goes back to the 1880s when mining turned the area into the “richest square mile” in America. The Welsh and Cornish miners who lived in the newly established town wanted a place to celebrate their musical roots and so they built the Central City Opera House stone by stone for a grand total of $23,000 in 1883.

Although time has changed the economy of Central City, music and the arts still play a huge role in the identity of the town. Today, Central City Opera produces a renowned summer festival with groundbreaking opera performances in an intimate setting. Central City Opera founded the Plein Air Festival to help return the historic area to a mecca for arts and culture and to encourage visitors and artists to soak in the beauty of Colorado.

Festival Sponsors

Bonfils Stanton

The National Opera America Center

Central City Business Improvement District

City of Central

Central Presents

Barbara Froula

Gilpin County Arts Association

Grand Z Casino Hotel

Gilpin Historical Society

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