Those who love Colorado’s breathtaking landscapes as much as the landscape artists who paint them will have an opportunity to support both at the Friends of Browns Canyon fundraiser on Saturday, June 3, from 5-8 p.m. at the Joshua Been Studio and Gallery, 139 W. First St., in downtown Salida.
A number of local artists are contributing original paintings, drawings, photography and even handmade felted art – all depicting Browns Canyon National Monument or Colorado public lands in general – to the sale, with a portion of each sale benefitting the nonprofit Friends of Browns Canyon organization. Although the show and sale will be held in Been’s downtown Salida studio, he’ll take down some of his own art to showcase the approximately 30 pieces from other artists during the one-day event. “We’ll have a variety of artwork, styles and media,” he says.
As a landscape artist, Been can be found painting plein air scenes of Browns Canyon National Monument at least once a week during the summer months. “I try to resonate with the viewer the beauty of the land and landscapes around here,” Been says. “With a painting, you are seeing a handmade thing, but I hope it brings good vibes, a sense of adventure and hopefully inspires people to get outdoors.”
Been says it’s important to him to support organizations such as Friends of Browns Canyon, Trout Unlimited and the Central Colorado Conservancy because of their efforts to protect the inspiring open spaces that he loves to paint. “These groups are keeping our views beautiful and protecting the land.”
With the recent designation of Browns Canyon as a national monument and the local stretch of the Arkansas River deemed Gold Medal Waters, more tourists will be coming to Chaffee County to access the incredible fishing, rafting, hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities. Preserving the quality of the pristine waters, forests and unspoiled wildlife habitat amid increased recreational use will require a higher level of protection and resources, Been adds.
Linda Gibas, president of the Friends of Browns Canyon, said proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to promote the importance of protecting public lands and assist with efforts such as erosion mitigation and prevention, trail development, signage and educational programs. She hopes people will not only attend the show and sale and purchase a piece of artwork they love, but also become a member of the Friends of Browns Canyon.
“We need to protect our public lands because special interests want to capitalize on them,” Gibas says. “And public lands are really the only places where people can truly find solitude and quiet in a natural, outdoor setting.”
Throughout the art show and sale, beverages and appetizers will be available and music will be provided by T.J. Hittle. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.