A breath of fresh air: Meeker seeks artists for regional contest

If you go…

Meekerpalooza

Aug. 23 to 24, downtown Meeker and Circle Park

— The Meekerpalooza Arts and Music Festival will include numerous art-themed activities, as well as several live music acts. The event is free Aug. 23 in downtown Meeker, with an admission fee of $15 for the activities the next day in Circle Park. Kids under 5 and adults over 75 are free. For a full schedule, visit meekerpalooza.com. The event also will include the results from the Plein Air Art Competition, for which the Meeker Chamber of Commerce will be accepting art entries from Aug. 12 to Aug. 23. For more information on how to enter Plein Air Art Competition, visit meekerchamber.com or call 878-5510.

— Northwest Colorado has countless opportunities for those want to see beautiful landscapes. If you want to recreate a vista of your favorite mountain or pond and share it with others, it could pay off to get to painting in the next couple weeks.

The second annual Plein Air Art Competition, sponsored by the Meeker Chamber of Commerce, is a contest open to artists from all areas with the primary rule that all entries be painted within a 50-mile radius of downtown Meeker.

The Paint Out portion of the event will run from Monday through Aug. 23, as artists find the best spots within the region and capture them by putting paint to canvas.

The contest is specifically for works done “en plein air” — in the open air.

Beth Willey, tourism coordinator for the Meeker Chamber, said the style is perfect for an area that offers so much outdoors.

“We’re outdoor adventurers, we’re rodeos, we’re OHV’s, we’re hunting, we’re fishing, so bringing in any kind of art gives us something a little different for people,” she said.

Last year’s contest saw 10 artists from their local limits and as far as Denver with more than total 50 artworks among them. Willey said she plans to accept up to six paintings per person.

Entries must be submitted by noon Aug. 23 for exhibition and ready for purchase at The Upstairs Gallery later that day. Paintings will also be on display Aug. 24, along with an instructional class and a quick draw contest as part of Meekerpalooza, a festival seeing its first year in the area.

Stephanie Kobald, member of the Meeker Arts and Culture Council, said combining such an event with the already established Plein Air gathering was a natural move.

“We will have something for everybody of all interests and ages,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot going on in those two days.”

Meekerpalooza, held downtown Aug. 23 and in Circle Park the following day, will offer numerous artistic activities for everyone, including an interactive art zone for children, Taste of Meeker for local foodies and live music from local and state bands, such as Clover Loafers, DJ Kevie, Ed’s Music Machine, Grant Farm and James and the Devil.

Willey said she believes the amalgamation of Plein Air and Meekerpalooza will be a huge draw for “new dollars” and new tourists to the town.

“We’re doing more of a well-rounded tourism offering instead of just one type of event,” she said. “It’s something new, it’s something different, and they kind of go hand in hand, so I think both will be very successful. Our community and surrounding communities are getting excited about it.”

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@craigdailypress.com.

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