Arts & Culture in Ouray
Our local arts organizations and entertainment venues in Ouray County fill every month of the year with a variety of performances and presentations. They run the gamut from intimate coffee houses, to quirky bars, to turn-of-the-century theaters to outdoor stages with million-dollar views (and great acoustics!). Every week musicians, singers, actors, comedians, magicians and dancers display their talents and experts share their knowledge about local history and international issues at events big and small.
Photo courtesy of Wright Opera House
Ouray County's Historic Performing Arts Venues
The Wright Opera House: In Ouray, the Wright Opera House hosts an entertaining line up of musical, performing arts and theatrical events throughout the year, as well as historical lectures, weekly independent films and box-office hits. This historic opera house was built in 1888 to counteract the early mining settlement's vices with culture, and today it's the center of Ouray's cultural landscape thanks to an ongoing renovation program.
Sherbino Theater: The Sherbino Theater, operated and restored by the nonprofit Ridgway Chautauqua Society, has become a lively space where art, creativity and community thrive. Built and opened in 1915 and designated a Colorado State Landmark in 1991, each year the popular venue hosts about 30 live music events with local, regional and national acts, 15 arts classes, 12 lectures, three community theater productions, 12 film presentation,s eight poetry readings and several fundraising events. The nonprofit and the Town of Ridgway also organize and outdoor film series each summer.
Ouray's Fellin Park and Ridgway's Hartwell Park: These two town parks feature stunning scenery, wide grassy areas and each year in June and July, they are the venue for a free Thursday evening concert series that brings national acts to these gorgeous settings. Ouray's Mountain Air Music Series programs each Thursday night in June and the Ridgway Concert Series programs each Thursday night in July. There's nothing quite like dancing or hanging out with your friends, family and community in the park accompanied by great live music and the warm light of the mountain sunsets.
Become a Part of Our Art Scene
When planning a visit to Ouray and Ridgway, plan to expand your horizons and treat yourself with a hands-on art experience - and we don't mean just shopping. Yes, our galleries, studios and gift shops have amazing collections of artwork to purchase and our friendly shopkeepers and artists are always ready to share their knowledge and creative process with you but for a truly memorable experience check out one of the classes or annual festivals listed below.
Weehawken Creative Arts Workshops & Classes: This local nonprofit has been transforming the lives of adults and children through arts education, dance programs and beloved community events for decades. Whether you're looking for personal or professional development - or just a fun afternoon or evening - Weehawken has a year-round schedule filled with opportunities to learn and create. Known for its dance classes that produce talented young performers, Weehawken also has weekly drop-in dance, yoga and Zumba classes for all ages and visitors. Schedule your long vacation around a theater workshop for your kids or set up a babysitter and enjoy an evening or day class devoted to visual art and writing. Your choices are limitless and always have professional artists guiding the classes.
Annual Michael McCullough Amateur Sculpture Competition for Adults & Youth: June 9, 2019 marks the seventh year of this contest, which attracts amateur sculptors as young as 14 to sculpt five pounds of clay into a masterpiece in just two hours; a panel of professional artists determines the winners and awards hefty cash prizes. This contest was created in honor of local Ridgway sculptor and arts advocate, Michael McCullough, with John Billings, Sculpture House and Weehawken Creative Arts as the co-presenting organizatons. Get your hands in some clay or just join the public to silently observe during the 2 hour creation period. Refreshments and treats are served served outside during the entire event and people will be encouraged to play with multiple clay materials at "play stations."
Artists' Alpine Holidays: This August will mark the 58th year of the oldest juried art show in Colorado, sponsored by the Ouray County Arts Association. At the weeklong show, local, national and international artists are exhibited at the Ouray Community Center. Artists take to the streets during the Paint-Out on Main Street an put their new works up for bid at auction. If you're an artist, consider submitting your work during the open call each spring!
Ridgway Rendezvous Arts & Crafts Festival: This two-day Rendezvous comes to Ridgway's beautiful Hartwell Park during the second weekend of every August. The festival showcases fine arts and original crafts from up to 140 talented vendors from across the country, combined with music, food and drink, making it one of the most highly anticipated art shows of the season on Colorado Western Slope. Apply to be a vendor or just come, enjoy and go home with a unique vacation memory wrapped up in a beautiful piece of art.
San Juan Chamber Music Festival: Every year the Ouray County Performing Arts Guild offers opportunities to hear live music performances by world-class classical chamber musicians under the artistic direction of world-renowned concert pianist Max Levinson. The festival features evening concerts in Ouray and Ridgway and master classes for students. OCPAG also continues to expand its year-round palette or performing arts offerings with performances ranging from ballet to African dance and from Shakespeare to the Open Bard contemporary poetry series. Its popular Salon Series allows participants to get "up close and personal" with arts performers in private homes while enjoying gourmet meals.
Sneffels Fiber Arts Festival: If fiber arts are your thing, plan a peak-leaf season September trip to Ouray County to experience the Sneffels Fiber Arts Festival at the historic Ouray County Fairgrounds & 4-H Event Center. Organized by Weehawken Creative Arts, this festival features three days of fiber artists and vendors as well as free demonstrations (an often a fluffy animal or two) over the weekend.