Second of three nationally recognized Breckenridge Art Festivals begins Friday | SummitDaily.com

Second of three nationally recognized Breckenridge Art Festivals begins Friday

For the last 15 years, the Breckenridge Main Street Art Festival has been held the last weekend of July at the Wellington and East Sawmill parking lots downtown.

That all changes today, however, as the 16th rendition of the juried art festival that has earned a national ranking kicks off the weekend at its new home, Main Street Station, also in downtown Breckenridge. The free three-day festival runs through Sunday.

Altogether, it will feature 80 artists whose work falls into 13 different categories, including ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, digital, drawing and print making, painting, sculpture, photography and woodwork.

If that's not enough, the show also has one catchall category described simply as "other."

The artists are a mix of festival veterans — like local photographer Doug Tomlinson — and a number of newbies who will be displaying their work in Breckenridge for the first time.

About a third of the artists hail from Colorado, said event organizer Tina Cunningham, and two of them — fused-glass artist Diana Zombola and ceramist Chris Efstratis — are featured on page A17 in today's edition of the Summit Daily in a piece written by social columnist Hey Spike!

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All of the work at the festival will be handmade by the artists, and all of the artists are being required to hang out their booths for the entirety of the show. This guarantees they will be available to talk about their work with anyone who might have a question.

The event sponsor, Mountain Art Festivals, actually puts on three different juried art shows throughout the year in Breckenridge, and this weekend's will be the second this year with the final show coming the Labor Day weekend.

As of 2016, each of the three shows has been ranked in Sunshine Artist Magazine's Top 200 list based on the quality of artists, location, attendance, sales, promotion, and artist amenities, with the Breckenridge trio all landing spots in the top 100. This weekend's show was No. 65.

Additionally, event organizers have learned that the 42nd Gather at the Great Divide will be in the top 20 for 2017. They said they won't know exactly what spot it garnered until the September issue of the magazine is released, but they've been notified it will be somewhere in the top 20.

According to event promoter Tina Cunningham, that makes Breckenridge the only town in the country that has three nationally ranked shows, "which is awesome," she said.

She added that all of the artists are handpicked for the event, and every piece of their work on display and for sale will be handmade with nothing at the show being mass-produced. The show will go off rain or shine, and Cunningham is hoping for nice, mild weather.

"This location is gorgeous, and being right on Maggie's pond is great, so hopefully it will be really good this year," Cunningham said, adding that the art festivals are some of the longest-running events in town and "every year we try to make it better and better."