Every Painting Tells a Story

Paint Paonia – Competition
(Call for Artists)

“The Real West.” Original painting by Cedar Keshat

“Once There Was Water for Peaches.” Original painting by Cedar Keshat.

[Paonia CO | June 2020 | By Laura Lee Yates, Blue Sage Center for the Arts ]

Every painting tells a story: let yours become a part of our historical legacy. This year’s Paint Paonia competition seeks images that illuminate an aspect of our regional history. There’s still a Plein Air division for work produced outdoors September 18-20 (more on that next month) but in 2020 the Blue Sage offers a new option that gives you the whole summer to create your masterpiece. In addition to the gallery show this October submitted pieces will have an opportunity to be juried for inclusion alongside the traveling Smithsonian exhibit “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” that will take over the Blue Sage in January 2021. Some entries may even be chosen to go on to the display in Colorado’s capitol!

Pieces for the Smithsonian must address one of the four themes that will be represented in the “Crossroads” exhibit: Land, Identity, Community or Persistence. Images can capture either our past or present experience—even both—and artists need not be “locals.”

In this unsettled time we’re incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by inspiring landscape, whether it’s public or private, high country or valley floor. Whether we utilize it for recreation, solitude, or earning a living, our Land sustains us.

Who are we? A rancher surveying his herd from atop his horse or 4-wheeler, a farmworker harvesting the first peaches, a miner wiping coal dust from his face after a long shift underground, a doctor treating a patient: each has a specific Identity within the North Fork.

What defines a Community, then or now? In these difficult months it might be as simple as wearing a mask, not so much to protect ourselves but as an act of consideration for those whose health is more fragile. What brings us together? Share your vision of a bountiful potluck, a crowded concert, a moving church service—or a socially-distanced game of crochet.

Once this was the Wild West, but even now it takes Persistence to live in the North Fork Valley, away from big-city services and easy access. For decades the train has transported goods to market; today collaboration like Edesia, cottage industries and farm markets help many to thrive. Always it’s required hard work, grit, and creativity. Consider the old buildings, too, that have stood the test of time—or, like the Blue Sage, have been refurbished to preserve their historic grandeur.

Paint it and make history come alive!

Pieces must be submitted by Saturday 9/19 at noon. Thanks to the Kampe Foundation, $600 in prize money will be awarded. Youth will participate in the Junior Division.


*** Artists, the Blue Sage still needs your support for our 6X6 Show, a fun and important fundraiser. Arrange to pick up your panel today!

*** We’re excited to announce that the Blue Sage has received a grant from the NextFifty Initiative to hold a Speaker Series as part of our emphasis on serving the Valley’s senior community. NextFifty focuses on aging solutions that benefit people age 50 and older.

For information about any of our events please call 970.527.7243 or email director@bluesage.org.