Stemming from its humble beginnings in 1966 as the Crested Butte Society, the festival’s founding members were committed to preserving the history of the Crested Butte community and the artistic vigor of the town. In line with this philosophy, the Society launched the first Crested Butte Arts Festival in 1971. This event was a way for local artisans to display their work, create financial stability, and to ensure the quality of life offered by a small community.
What began as an informal gathering of mostly local artisans selling their wares, has evolved into one of the most competitive juried art shows in the West. Local and visiting patrons enjoy the FREE, rare, and unique opportunity to meet and converse with over 165 international visual artists, view a variety of live music and entertainment, create as a family in our Children's Art Alley, partake in art classes, and learn about the artists' processes via free and live artist demonstrations.
Although the festival has become much larger than its founders may have expected, it has stayed grounded in its commitment to the community and works diligently to provide sustainable year round outreach programs in the Gunnison Valley.