Art for the Sangres to feature local artist, Life photographer

A local featured artist and a special display by a noted photojournalist will highlight the 19th Art for the Sangres on September 26 at A Painted View Ranch in Westcliffe.


The Foothills, 12" x 20", oil by Lorie Merfeld-Batson

The annual art sale hosted by San Isabel Land Protection Trust raises funds to protect working ranches and farms, water, and wildlife habitat in Southern Colorado. Celebrating its 20th year in 2015, San Isabel in partnership with landowners, has protected nearly 40,000 acres of land, 174 water rights and 61 miles of stream frontage with 129 conservation easements.

Plein air artist Lorie Merfeld-Batson of Westcliffe will be this year’s featured artist. She paints mainly landscapes in oils and pastels, and occasionally watercolors.

Merfeld-Batson’s accolades include Best of Show in the 2014 South Park Plein Air Show, and Award of Merit at the nationally juried 2014 Plein Air Artists of Colorado show. She also placed second in the Alla Prima Westcliffe in 2014. In 2015 she is among 30 artists invited to the nationally juried Telluride Plein Air show. 

Merfeld-Batson apprenticed under nationally known oil painter Gerald Merfeld, also of Westcliffe, and studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. In her fourth year showing at Art for the Sangres, Merfeld-Batson said she is honored to have been chosen as this year’s featured artist.

“Of course as a painter of the landscape I am proud and grateful for what this organization has done to protect the scenic beauty of the area,” she said. “One of the reasons we moved here 11 years ago was the unspoiled beauty of the land, and I'm excited that as an artist I can help contribute to ongoing plans to protect the land, water and wildlife of our region.”

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Cattle Drive, Limited Edition print by Grey Villet

In addition, this year’s Art for the Sangres will feature a display of limited-edition prints by the late Grey Villet, who was a chief photographer for Life magazine. His 1960 photo essay documents “The Last Cattle Drive,” from South Dakota to Nebraska.

The stunning and historic collection is currently on display at the Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe. Local resident and San Isabel supporter Peter Hedberg, owner of New West Investment, facilitated the addition of Villet’s collection to this year’s art show.

“What attracted me to this was it’s not just the land but images of man interacting with the land, and that is what San Isabel is trying to preserve,” Hedberg said. “It’s a great narrative and it’s different from anything the art show has ever done.”

In addition to this photo essay, Villet was in the front row of many historic circumstances over the course of his career, photographing Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution, the John F. Kennedy inauguration, and many other important news events. His wife Barbara will be present to discuss the photos at the art show.

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Art for the Sangres is held in a beautiful refurbished barn at A Painted View Ranch. The event kicks off with a special artist party for sponsors of the art show at 5:30 p.m. Friday, September 25. Sponsors will be treated to some new surprises this year.

On Saturday, September 26, open admission is from 1-3 p.m. and may be attended at no charge. The art sale and reception is from 4-7 p.m. Admission is $50 and includes a wine bar and food.

For more information, visit


We have protected more than 42,000 acres through 134 conservation easements.

Conservation easements guarantee long-term protection – through generations of landowners.