Grand Canyon, cultural hot spot

Grand Canyon Association's Celebration of Art opening reception starts this Saturday.

Grand Canyon Association's Celebration of Art opening reception starts this Saturday.

Jazz, rock and classical concerts. Art installations. Painting demonstrations. Cultural exhibitions and dance performances. An international feel.

Makes me think of New York City.

But, I'm talking about the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon National Park features a pretty impressive hole in the ground. It's what draws thousands of visitors each year. It is awe-inspiring.

But for those that live and work at the Canyon, and for some visitors, there is a rich cultural landscape to take advantage of as well.

The Grand Canyon Music Festival's 29th season wrapped up another successful run this past weekend. The festival featured performances by some of the chamber music world's most exciting performers including the ETHEL string quartet and Catalyst Quartet, violinist Joe Deninzon, guitarist Steve Benson and harmonica virtuoso Robert bonfiglio as well as vocal performances from husband and wife singers Kirk Dougherty and Cabiria Jacobsen bringing some of opera's greatest hits to the Grand Canyon Music Festival stage.

If you didn't catch a concert this year, you can still get your cultural fix this week as the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art presented by the Grand Canyon Association (GCA) is under way. The event features close to 30 accomplished "plein air" artists. What does that mean? Put simply, paintings executed outdoors and representing a direct response to the scene or subject in front of the artist.

Friday morning the event wraps up with a quick draw event. Participating artists will find a spot along the South Rim and complete a painting to be auctioned off just hours later on the lawn in front of the El Tovar. All proceeds benefit the GCA. It's a lot of fun to watch the artists work and then see the painting sold to art collectors and fans minutes later.

For more information on the Celebration of Art and an event schedule visit www.grandcanyon.org.

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