City of Cripple Creek

Happening in Cripple Creek: The Once Upon in the West Art Show

Artist painting at the Once Upon a Time in the West Art Show

The Cripple Creek Heritage Center is an amazing resource for locals and visitors alike who are interested in learning about Cripple Creek and Victor, Colorado. Stepping into the visitor’s center, you can learn about how high we are in elevation, the animals taking up homes in the area, the history of both underground and surface gold mining that still continues today, and much much more. But in the lower level of the Heritage Center, a spectacular art show is taking place, and has been for the past ten years.

In its 23rd year, the Once Upon a Time in the West Art Show is being showcased in the Cripple Creek community, yet again, to show off some of best Western and Native American artistry in the area. But the show is much more than an art show and unlike many you have seen in the region. Each year, the show chooses a theme for the show. This year’s theme was the Year of the Eagle.

Assembling the Art Show

The art show takes three weeks to assemble, and not just because they are hanging lots of art, but because the entire show is decorated with elements of the outdoors. They bring nature inside practically filling the entire lower level to make the exhibit even more of a spectacle. Guests will get a nice whiff of pin trees when they descend into the lower level to view the art show.

Once Upon a Time in the West Art Show Exhibit

The show opened this year on June 22nd to the public, and art already was flying off the walls and into the homes of interested buyers. They’re currently showcasing, paintings, pottery, leatherwork, photography and much more.

The Art Show Ceremony

Around 6:00 pm, the organizer of the show, Jon Zimmer (Walks Alone With Friends), and the Founder of the show, Rod Sutton (Little Bear) dressed in the appropriate Native American regalia to perform a Native American Blessing and a Purification Ceremony where they burned sage. They were careful to the honor the Teller County Stage 2 burn ban, while also honoring the four directions.

The ceremony took place just outside the lower level of the Heritage Center where a Tee Pee and Totem pole were placed amidst haystacks to create the ceremony’s arena. Ray White dressed as an Eagle Dancer and was accompanied by his wife, Jeep White, who played the drums for her Eagle Dancer.

Once Upon a Time in the West Art Show Ceremony

Before guests moved back into the Heritage Center, they could choose to be smudged with sage for purification.

Around 250 people attended the show’s opening night to marvel at the one of a kind art pieces and watch the unique ceremony.

Featured Artists

  • Sofia Balas
  • Dan Russell
  • Rod Sutton (Little Bear)
  • Jon Zimmer (Walks Alone With Friends)
  • Tim Penland
  • Vera Egbert
  • Marishka
  • Matt Atkinson
  • Judy Cheyney
  • Beth Held
  • Rita Randolph
  • Michelle Rozell

They are also hosting the band Monument Creek Can Kicker on Saturday, June 30th in the lower level of the Heritage Center between 1 – 4 pm.

Once Upon a Time in the West, the Year of the Eagle, is a free show open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Sunday. The art show will continue through July 5th, 2018 and is open late on July 4th where Cripple Creek will hold it’s 4th of July Fireworks Celebration. We recommend you make a visit to the show, like their Facebook page, and leave a review of your experience!

Animal Skulls at the Once Upon in the West Art Show



Visit Our Other Attractions!

Cripple Creek Hiking Trails and Tours