Gathering of the Great Divide Art Festival in Breckenridge this weekend |

Gathering of the Great Divide Art Festival in Breckenridge this weekend

Florida oil painter Jan Whitney, who summers at Copper Mountain Resort, is among the 100-plus artists showing their works at the 40th annual Gathering at the Great Divide Art Festival in Breckenridge this Labor Day Weekend. Admission and parking are free.
Miles F. Porter IV /Special to the Weekdender |

It was 40 years ago today that photographer Dick Cunningham staged his initial Labor Day Gathering at the Great Divide Art Festival in Breckenridge.

Now he’s doing it again along with daughter Tina, now a full-time resident again, as the co-director.

The art festival opens Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and runs to 6 p.m., with two more days, Sunday and Monday, located in the North Main Street at Wellington parking lot. There’s free admission and free parking, where more than 100 artisans — some local and others from across the country — set up their white tent booths.

Cunningham started the Breckenridge show tradition. This summer, he resumed the directorship for this weekend’s gathering, the 32nd July Art Festival at the Village Main Street Station over the Fourth of July and the 14th Main Street Art Festival in late July.

“We are very pleased with our ability to continue attracting quality artists and crowds of buyers to our shows,” Cunningham said, who’s also assisted by wife Mary. “Artists love coming to Breckenridge.

“This summer we’ve added many new artists to our shows, offering a fresh perspective.”

The 40th annual Gathering at the Great Divide Art Festival is nationally ranked in the top 200 of fine-art shows in the U.S. and continues this weekend, featuring a wide range of mediums, including photography, painting, fiber, wood, glass, jewelry, pottery and more.

“We are very excited with this lineup of vibrant artists — every one of them are professionals,” said Tina Cunningham.

Not only is Dick Cunningham a show director, he’s a touring artist, which helps keep his awareness of the market and the selling artists’ needs.

“I did my first art show in 1971, and, for the last five years, I do about 35 shows a year all over the country,” said Cunningham, who also has a gallery in Bonita Springs, Florida.

He produced all the shows in Breckenridge for 15 years then turned them over to Mark Belling, who ran them for the last 20 years.

Cunningham left the kingdom of Breckenridge in 1993 and then came back for the 25th anniversary July 4th show he had started and has done two shows a year here for five years.

The artists on display include fiber artist Barbara Holloway of New Mexico, oil painter Ganna Halvorsen of Los Angeles, Breckenridge photographer Doug Tomlinson, Colorado jeweler Betsy Bracken, Florida painter Jan Whitney, who summers at Copper Mountain; Summit High School graduate and metal artist Ben Stielow, Colorado Springs ceramicist Casey Hankin, sculptor and painter Guilloume from New Mexico, multi-talented Daniel and Barbara Marcus-McKenna of Lyons, mixed-media artists Brian Billow and Michele Scrivner of Denver and painter Blair Hamill.

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