32nd annual Breckenridge July Art Festival comes to Main Street Station
If you go
What: Breckenridge July Art Festival, the first Mountain Art Festivals event of the summer
When: Friday, July 3, through Sunday, July 5; festival is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and local gallery Art Walk is 4 to 8 p.m.
Where: Main Street Station, corner of Park Avenue and South Main Street, Breckenridge
Cost: Admission is free; art is available for sale
More information: New this year, Mountain Art Festivals will be working with local galleries Art on a Whim, Arts Alive, Breckenridge Gallery, Blue River Gallery and Gary Soles Photography to promote an Art Walk after the show each day. Visit www.mountainartfestivals.com to learn more.
The 32nd annual Breckenridge July Art Festival returns to town Friday, July 3, through Sunday, July 5, with 100 artists displaying their work in a wide range of mediums in booths around the Main Street Station plaza.
The format of the festival gives both casual and serious collectors the chance to not only take home a piece of original art, but also to hear the individual artists explain their craft. For the artists, it’s an opportunity to educate new audiences about their work and spend a bit of time in the inspirational surroundings of the Rocky Mountains.
“For me, it’s my family vacation,” said Guilloume, a minimalist painter and sculptor from Columbia who has been attending the Breckenridge festival for two decades. “I go with my four children, who are grown now. We rent a house right next to the river — we go rafting, we go hiking — but the main thing is we do is the Fourth of July show.”
Guilloume said the people in Summit County are very down-to-earth, and he loves spending time here, exploring the trails and experiencing a festival dynamic different from the bustle of bigger art shows on the Front Range.
Guilloume will have his oil paintings, bronze sculptures and reliefs on display, as well as his latest book, a 12-inch-by-12-inch, 230-page tome of his recent work. This year marks his 40th anniversary as a professional artist, starting with painting and eventually adding sculpture to his repertoire.
“If you look at my works, you will see one complements the other,” he said of the two mediums. “The main aspect to my work, my favorite thing, is partnership and family. One of the main features in my artwork is I don’t have features in the faces. The reason is because I want to talk about similarities rather than the differences.”
Breckenridge fine art and nature photographer Doug Tomlinson is returning to the festival for his seventh or eighth year. His photos capture “special moments in time,” he said, and he’ll have a variety to browse, from landscapes to wildlife.
“I’ll be showing my snow-covered bison image — that’s become a very popular image for myself,” he said. “I think people gravitate to it because everybody likes the West, symbolized by the bison, an animal surviving in the winter.”
He’ll also be exhibiting some new images of waterfalls and lush vegetation from a recent trip to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, as well as his large collection of scenic photos from Colorado, many of which were taken in the San Juan Mountain region. Tomlinson said he continues to return to the Breckenridge festival because of its range of exhibitors from all over the United States and abroad.
“It’s just a great mix,” he said. “It fits in with Breckenridge really well. People enjoy walking around the festival and looking at the different varieties of work from lots of different mediums and lots of different artists.”
Evolution of art fest
The Breckenridge July Art Festival began in 1983, with about 50 artists displaying their work in the parking lot of what used to be the Bell Tower Shops. It’s now the first in a series of three juried events produced by Mountain Art Festivals, which also hosts the Breckenridge Main Street Art Festival in late July and Gathering at the Great Divide on Labor Day weekend.
The series was founded by Breckenridge transplant Dick Cunningham, who ran the shows for 10 years until 1993, when he passed the torch on to local resident Mark Beling. Beling recently moved from Summit County to Arizona and considered selling the festival series, but instead chose to approach Cunningham and his daughter, Tina, to help direct them.
“My dad is a photographer, and he’s participated as an artist in the shows for the last 10 years or so since we left,” Tina said. “I moved back up here two years ago, and I’ve been helping Mark run day-to-day stuff, getting artists checked in, directing traffic. … I love the shows, and I’ve been around them forever, so we said yes.”
The Breckenridge July Art Festival has grown considerably in the past decade and has been ranked as high as 18th in the country amongst similar art events. Every year, more and more artists apply to participate in the festival, with more than 300 applications submitted for this year’s 100 artist slots.
“It’s a fun family community with a lot of the traveling artists, and they’re very, very high quality,” Tina said.
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