Paonia, Colorado

September’s Gallery presentation of the High Country News fifty-year retrospective, in partnership with the Autry Museum of the American West, highlights both the triumphs and ongoing challenges that have marked the environmental and social history of our side of the Great Divide. Photo courtesy, Blue Sage.

This traveling exhibition, on view through September 19, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the unique and stalwart Western publication of High Country News. The exhibition, jointly developed by the Autry Museum of the American West, examines the publication as not only an institution, but as a window into the past, present, and future of the west.

[San Juan Silver Stage | September 2020 | Debra Muzikar, Director, Blue Sage Center for the Arts]

September is an exciting month at the Blue Sage, with a fall concert series, literary event, and the outstanding gallery exhibit, High Country News fifty-year retrospective.


The Blue Sage concert series continues with a stellar fall lineup.  All concerts will be held outside where attendees can socially distance.

Saturday, September 5 at 4pm, the Blue Sage hosts “Duos” featuring Dr Emily Ondracek-Peterson, violinist and Anna Arzumanyan, pianist who will perform: Beethoven – Violin Sonata No. 9, “Kreutzer”, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – Sonata for Violin and Piano, and Debussy – Sonata for Violin and Piano.

On Sunday, September 20 we are thrilled to announce a rare local appearance by guitar virtuoso Michael Gulezian, who will host a benefit concert for the Blue Sage and the Paradise Theatre. Of this mesmerizing performer Garrison Keillor once said, “If I could play the guitar the way Michael Gulezian does, I would just sit in front of a mirror and watch myself do it.” A joint fundraiser for the Blue Sage and the Paradise Theatre, the outside Sunday afternoon concert will provide a magical experience, with restricted seating to allow for social distancing. JAZZIZ Magazine called Gulezian “Unbelievable…Incredible…Music from another planet.” The performer has generously volunteered his services to help two local nonprofits continue serving the community during this difficult time, and Elaine & Jim Brett and Carolyn & Ray Taylor have joined the effort as underwriters.

On Saturday, October 10 we wrap up the fall series with the Ivalas Quartet, composed of violinists Reuben Kebede and Anita Dumar, violist Aimée McAnulty, and cellist Pedro Sánchez.  Thank you to our generous underwriters for this concert Ulli Lange and Kyle Hopkins & Mark Walsh.

Due to COVID there are a limited number of tickets for all concerts. To purchase tickets or for more information go to or call 970-527-7243.

Harvest of Voices

Some folks consider “Harvest of Voices” their favorite community event of the year, and pandemic or not the Blue Sage is determined to continue this live literary tradition. Once again local writers—including ever-popular essayist Diane Sylvain—will read their works, this time outdoors on Thursday, September 24. Time and place are still TBD, but reserve your place at this beloved event soon as tickets will be limited.

Paint Paonia
On Friday, September 25th the weekend will continue with the unveiling of Paint Paonia. This year’s Picture Paonia competition offers artists the chance to paint an image illuminating a story or an aspect of current or past history of the North Fork Valley. The painting must address one of the four themes present in the Smithsonian Exhibit that comes to the Blue Sage in January of 2021: Community, Land, Identity, and Persistence.  The entries will be unveiled at a socially distanced reception on September 25th for the enjoyment of the community and continue on display in the Blue Sage Gallery until October 24th. Thanks to the Kampe Foundation, $600 in prize money will be awarded.

Blue Sage Facelift!

The Blue Sage had a facelift! We hope you’ll stroll Paonia’s Grand Avenue and admire the newly-restored façade of the old bank building. Masked too long by crumbling stucco, the original sandstone—quarried locally in 1903—has regained its glory. A grant from the State Historical Fund made this project possible under supervision by Blue Sage Board member Robin Nicholoff. The interior now blends modern gallery lighting and an enticing gift shop with the massive vault and a vintage bank teller’s window newly retrofitted.

For more information about these programs and other upcoming events please check out or call 970.527.7243. Stay healthy!