September 22 - September 25, 2022

We are now accepting artist applications for entry into the festival.

Application Dates: April 25 – June 30, 2022  ♦   Application Fee: $40   ♦   Notification Date: July 15, 2022

Central City Opera seeks 25 artists to participate in the 2022 Central City Plein Air Festival, Thursday, September 22 – Sunday, September 25.

Up to 25 artists will be selected to paint the fall landscapes and historic architecture of this Colorado mountain town. The festival culminates in an Exhibition, Sale, and Awards Reception on Sunday, September 25 in which the paintings created throughout the weekend will be on display and available for purchase.


The Central City Plein Air Festival is open to all artists 18 and older. Entries must be submitted electronically, along with a non-refundable application fee of $40. Required application information includes 3-5 artwork images and an artist bio/statement that will be later shared with festival attendees.

Artists are selected through a blind juried process consisting of one juror. The judge will review all submitted applications and select up to 25 artists to participate in the 2022 event. 

The previous year’s Best in Show Award and Quick Draw winners are invited back without jury process.

Notification of selected artists will be sent to each applicant via e-mail no later than July 19, 2022. Artist agreement forms will be emailed to those who have been accepted following the announcement.

Image Requirements

Each artist must submit 3-5 images of the Plein Air artwork in JPEG format, color space preferred format with a resolution of 300 DPI (max 4000 pixels on the longest side). Submitted artwork images must be representative of the type, style, and medium of artwork the artist plans to create during the festival itself. Applicants may only submit images of artwork that has been created entirely of their own skill with no assistance. No digitally manipulated images are allowed. You may only adjust for brightness, contrast, color correction, and to remove scratches and debris.

Event Requirements

All artwork must be completed on-site, within a 2-mile radius of the Central City Opera House area between September 22 and September 25, 2022. No studio artwork is permitted for judging. Artists are asked to paint 3-5 original paintings for prize judging at the Exhibition and Sale on Sunday, September 25, 2022. Canvases will be stamped with an approved insignia as they arrive. Only artwork with this stamp will be permitted in the Exhibition & Sale and this authentication must be visible on the back of the artwork substrate. Artists are required to attend the Public Awards Reception and Exhibition and Sale on Sunday, September 25, 2022.

For the safety of the attendees, staff and fellow artists, Central City Opera requests that all participating Plein Air artists must be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of status.


  • This event supports Central City Opera House Association (Central City Opera), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
  • Central City Opera will retain 40% of all sales revenue generated throughout the Exhibition and Sale. Participating artists will be required to price their artwork at the fair market value, plus a 40% inflation. Art submitted to the Exhibition and Sale will be purchased as donations to Central City Opera.
  • Central City Opera will remit artists’ earning within thirty (30) days after the exhibition closes. Artists are permitted to take commissioned works, but these requests are subject to the same commissioned rate. Payment for any commissioned pieces must also be made at the time the commission is requested by the buyer.

Cash Awards

  • Best of Show: $1,200
  • 2nd Place: $800
  • 3rd Place: $400
  • Artist Choice Award: $500
  • Best Opera House Painting: $500
  • Quick Draw Competition Award: $300


Lodging is available to each participating for five (5) nights, for the cost of a $25 cleaning/sanitation fee. Lodging is available beginning Wednesday, September 21st through Sunday, September 25th.  Artists will be housed in the historic Victorian homes owned by Central City Opera House Association. Please note, the Victorian Homes available for artist lodging are group accommodations. Artists will share a kitchen and bathroom with up to 11 other artists. Additionally, artists who choose to take advantage of these lodging accommodations will be required to bring their own linens and toiletries (sheets, towels, pillows, shampoo etc.).

Artists are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from Central City, Colorado.

Important Dates
June 30, 2022 Online Application Deadline
July 15 - 19, 2022 Artist Invitations sent via email
Artist Agreements sent via email
July 27, 2022 Selected Artists confirm participation
September 21, 2022 Artist arrival
Registration open

 September 22, 2022

Artist arrival & Registration
All Day Paint-Out
Artist Welcome Reception

 September 23, 2022

All Day Paint Out
September 24, 2022 All Day Paint Out
Quick Draw Competition (Eureka Street)
Concert in Opera House
September 25, 2022 Private Preview Party (Central City Opera Donors & Art Collectors)
Public Awards Reception and Exhibition & Sale
Concert in Opera House


Licensing for Promotion

Artist acceptance to the event grants Central City Opera a nonexclusive license to use images of participating artists in Central City Opera promotional purposes including, but not limited to, the invitation, website, posters, advertisements, social media account and subsequent year’s prospectus. Participating artists must sign a photo/video release authorizing Central City Opera to reproduce and use said photographs/recordings for use in Central City Opera advertising, publicity, commercial or other business purposes.