Plein Air Art Festival makes Snowmass debut next week |

Plein Air Art Festival makes Snowmass debut next week

Plein Air Art Fest
Screen shot

The Snowmass Arts Advisory Board will present the village’s first Plein Air Art Festival on Aug. 8-14, featuring work from 18 Colorado-based artists.

Plein-air painting requires that the artists remain outside while they are painting, as opposed to taking a photograph and then returning to their studio to paint. Painting outside allows the artist to more accurately capture the way light hits the landscape.

“Plein-air painting is really a product of the beauty of the landscape as defined by the light that is illuminating the colors and the landscape,” advisory board member Diane Oshin said. “That’s what makes plein air so special — that the entire art is created with natural light.”

The artists start their work Aug. 8, and their finished products will be displayed Aug. 13-14.

All of the art on display at the festival will be painted within a 40-mile radius of Snowmass Village in the five days leading up to the festival. The canvases will be stamped by the Snowmass Arts Advisory Board to verify their authenticity. The artwork, with prices beginning at $400, will be available for purchase from the artists at the festival with options for shipping.

Oshin first got the idea for the festival after a serendipitous visit to Telluride during their Plein Air Festival in 2019. Upon joining the advisory board, Oshin inquired about a plein-air festival in the Snowmass area and learned there had been one in Aspen several years ago, but nothing since.

Oshin connected with an artist she had met at the Telluride Plein Air Festival to find out how to begin planning a plein air festival.

“In order to build a plein-air festival, it … matters secondarily what the consumer or the person who goes to the festival wants,” Oshin said. “You really have to talk to the artists. That is your primary audience.”

Although Oshin initially envisioned the festival as an event where any artist could sign up and attend, she learned from talking to several artists that more exclusivity was necessary in order to have a “bonafide, successful” plein-air festival. As a result of her conversations with plein-air artists, Oshin decided to stage the festival as an invitational.

Oshin worked with three Colorado-based artists — Kathleen Lanzoni, Tammy Lane and Peter Campbell — to curate a list of the best plein-air artists in Colorado.

“I think it’s going to be a great event for tourists and people in the community who love art,” Oshin said. “But the real thing is to try to make this successful for the artists. They’re all so excited about coming to Snowmass because it’s just renowned for its beauty. I hope that people will come and buy art so that it’s successful.”

Anna Meyer is an editorial intern at The Aspen Times for part of the summer. She will be a sophomore at Vassar College this fall.