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Press Releases

Brown County Art Colony Weekend Pays Tribute to Area's Unique Art Heritage, September 9-11

September 2, 2016

Steeped in rich art heritage, Brown County has and always will be a haven for artists. Drawn to the area’s breathtaking vistas, lush scenery, and interesting characters, artists migrated to the region nearly a century ago to establish their own art colony, one of the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Remnants from the early colony can still be seen today throughout the county, manifested by the over many working artists who still call the area home. This September, Brown County will pay special tribute to its historic roots during the Brown County Art Colony Weekend. September 9-11 art will come to life through several unique events, including live plein air painting demonstrations, the 28th Annual Great Outdoor Art Contest, a Village Art Walk, opportunities to interact with local artists, music, and more.

As one of America’s original artists’ colonies, art is more than a hobby in Brown County, it is a way of life. Presented by the Brown County Art Guild in collaboration with the Brown County History Center, the T.C. Steele State Historic Site, and the Brown County Playhouse, Brown County Art Colony Weekend not only honors the area’s past, but also exemplifies how Brown County continues to honor its handmade heritage every day.

Brown County Art Colony Weekend will kick off Friday, September 9 with an opening reception and birthday celebration for Brown County’s founding father of the arts, T.C. Steele. It was the talented Impressionist painter who was the first major artist to make his home in Brown County, attracting other artists to relocate and later establish the Art Colony of the Midwest. Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Brown County History Center and will include a birthday cake for T.C. Steele, a special presentation on Brown County artists, and entertainment by the Matt Romy Duo. Admission is $10 per person.

Art will continue to abound on Saturday, September 10 at the 28th Annual Great Outdoor Art Contest. This event, which will take place on Steele’s home turf, will feature live plein air painting on the picturesque grounds of the T.C. Steele State Historic Site from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Paintings will then be judged in the Formal Garden Area, with winners announced at approximately 3:15 p.m.

During the event, there also will be food from Ralph and Ava’s, beer from Grand Junction Brewing Co., and an outdoor concert by Celtica beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Art, food, and entertainment all rolled into one, the Great Outdoor Art Contest is the perfect way to spend the day, as well as to get a taste for Brown County’s art heritage. Pay tribute to an art legend and fall in love with Brown County’s beauty just as Steele did nearly a century ago. There will be a $3 parking fee charged upon arrival, with all other festivities at the event free of charge excluding food and drink purchase.

Back in the Village of Nashville, the Brown County Art Guild will host an artist talk with Peggy Brown from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. This will be followed by Art Colony Weekend’s next event, the Village Art Walk. During the Art Walk, several downtown art and craft galleries will remain open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Be sure to stop by the Brown County Art Guild for live entertainment. The Art Walk is free and open to the public.

Stick around on Sunday for another full day of art and fun. Start the day early with a breakfast with the Nashville Villagescape Plein Air painters at 7:30 a.m. Hear interesting artist tales as these painters share their stories over a meal at the Artists Colony Inn. Admission is $10 for the public and free for PaintOut participating artists.

After filling up on breakfast, the Nashville Villagescape Plein Air Painters will head out for their PaintOut from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. See these artists at work as they paint scenes in the Village and beyond. Live painting demonstrations are free of charge.

Enjoy a live performance by the Hungarian Slacks, including Brown County Art Guild artist member Wyatt LeGrand, at the Brown County Playhouse from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. At this mid-afternoon benefit for the Art Guild, guests also will be able to meet the artists competing in the Villagescape Plein Air Paint Out at the Art Guild next door to the Playhouse. Tickets for the afternoon concert are $20.50 and can be purchased online at or at the door.

A closing reception at the Brown County Art Guild will round out the weekend’s festivities. From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., the Art Guild will be offering refreshments, with paintings from the Nashville Villagescape PaintOut on display. The closing reception is free and open to the public.

Experience art firsthand during this one-of-a-kind Brown County weekend. Make plans to attend Art Colony Weekend, September 9-11, and get lost in the creativity of the county.

For more information on Brown County Art Colony Weekend, please visit

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