Fraser Valley Arts hosts Plein Air @ Altitude festival |

Fraser Valley Arts hosts Plein Air @ Altitude festival

Festival highlights the beauty of Grand as artists create works in the outdoors

Evergreen resident and watercolorist Carol Newsom paints the Fraser Snowplow during Plein Air @ Altitude 2021. Carol and her husband Tom Newsom are both artists and will return to paint at Plein Air @ Altitude 2022.
Steve Fitzgerald/Courtesy Photo

Fraser Valley Arts’ second annual Plein Air Festival, “Plein Air @ Altitude” will be held from Friday, Sept. 2 to Saturday, Sept. 10. Over 25 artists from both Grand County and across the country will have their canvasses stamped with Plein Air @ Altitude insignia and will be creating works of art in Grand County throughout the week. The public may view and purchase the works in two ways:

On Friday, Sept. 9 the Plein Air @ Altitude Reception and first-chance art auction, hosted by Rendezvous Colorado and catered by Adventures Decanted, will commence backstage at the Rendezvous Event Center in Winter Park from 6-8:30 p.m. The silent auction is the first opportunity to see and purchase one-of-a-kind Grand County artworks from the entire week. Get tickets at

On Saturday, Fraser Valley Arts will hold a plein air (open air) festival at the Rendezvous Event Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include: a chance to watch artists creating quick draw paintings between Cooper Creek Square and the Rendezvous Event Center; a workshop for onlookers to create their own acrylic plein air paintings with supplies and instruction from Fraser Valley Arts for a nominal fee; and a viewing during which art from the festival can be purchased.

Those who would like to see artists painting en plein air during the week may do so at the following places and times:

  • Saturday, Sept. 3, in and around the town of Fraser. On Saturday afternoon, artists will show and sell their first days’ creations at the Fraser Mountain Mural park from 2-4 p.m. to coincide with the Jack Kerouac sculpture dedication.
  • Sunday, Sept. 4 at Winter Park Resort from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 6 in and around the town of Grand Lake.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 7 in and around the town of Hot Sulphur Springs, including the Grand County Historical Society’s Pioneer Village Museum.
Fine art painter Anita Winter painting at Plein Air @ Altitude in 2021.
Steve Fitzgerald/Courtesy Photo

“Plein air” painting (French for “outdoors”) was developed in the 1800s by French impressionists including Claude Monet, Pissarro and Renoir. Plein air painting is done outside, emphasizing natural light, airiness and the artists’ impression of the nature around them.

“For me, … the surrounding atmosphere brings (a landscape) to life, the light and the air which vary continually,” said Monet of the craft. “For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.”

Fraser Valley Arts is dedicated to expressing the beautiful atmosphere, stunning mountain landscapes and unique subjects of Grand County. The non-profit arts organization was formed in January of 2021 with the mission to build, promote and sustain creative endeavors across the Fraser Valley. They provide the community with artistic opportunities in cooperation with the Fraser Valley Recreation District, the town of Fraser and other stakeholders.

Fraser Valley Arts offers classes and seminars, events such as the Fraser Mural Festival and a revival of the Plein Air tradition in Grand County, in collaboration with other like-minded organizations in the valley. The organization has also taken on the mission of funding creation for the Fraser Center for Creative Arts, a vision created by the Town of Fraser and its stakeholders. The overall goal of the all-volunteer board is to engage with all people of the valley, offering creative programming and access to all.

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