Artists take their easels outdoors for the Denver Plein Air Arts Fest

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Paint the town! Local artists registered in the Denver Plein Air Arts Fest have been taking their talents to the streets -- and the foothills -- painting locations around town.The artists "set up an easel and then they have to paint what they see and they have to finish the piece in one standing," says Robin Riddel Lima, executive director of the Golden Triangle Museum District, which organizes the event.

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GMTD has been organizing the Plein Air festival for six years. This year, it partnered with Denver Mountain Parks and the Lariat Loop Heritage Alliance to organize eleven paint-outs in parks and urban locations that will run through mid-September. "This year we included the Denver Mountain Parks because it's their hundredth anniversary, and so we chose the parks on the Lariat Loop, and that included Red Rocks, Evergreen Lake, the Buffalo Overlook," Lima says. "They've been so excited about the artists coming to the parks and paint that they've asked that they participate again next year."

For the first time, children were also invited to paint in the festival. "I think our youngest artists this year was at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion, and she's five," Lima says.

Artists can still register and then join in the remaining paint-outs, which run from dusk to dawn at the following spots:

Sunday, September 2: Confluence Park

Saturday, September 8: Evergreen Lake in Dedisse Park

Monday, September 10: 16th Street Mall

And from 3 to 5 p.m. on September 16, there's a Wrap-It-Up Reception at the Mount Vernon Country Club.

But the festival won't end there. After the last event, artists can submit one or more of the paintings they created at the paint-outs at one of three locations: the Byers-Evans House Museum, the Native American Trading Company and Gallery 1261, or the Center for the Arts Evergreen. After judges pick their favorites, the pieces will be shown in an exhibit that will run at the Denver Central Library's Vida Ellison Gallery from November 13 to December 31.

All the art will be for sale, with 60 percent going to the artists and 40 percent back to the GTMD's production of the event, "so it's a self-sustaining, grassroots, local effort to promote art and culture," Lima says. "But also this year, we're giving a percentage of the sales to the Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation's dictionary drive, where they provide dictionaries and thesauruses for all the third-graders in the public schools of Denver."

For more information, go to the Golden Triangle Museum District website.

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