Brown County Art Colony Weekend Pays Tribute to Area’s Unique Art Heritage, September 11-13

One of America’s original artists’ colonies honors its past, keeps the tradition alive

NASHVILLE, Ind. – Steeped in rich art heritage, Brown County has and always will be a haven for artists. Drawn to the area’s breathtaking vistas, lush scenery, and interesting characters, artists migrated to the region nearly a century ago to establish their own art colony, one of the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Remnants from the early colony can still be seen today throughout the county, manifested by the over 180 working artists who still call the area home. This September, Brown County will pay special tribute to its historic roots during the Brown County Art Colony Weekend. September 11-13 art will come to life through several unique events, including live plein air painting demonstrations, the 27th Annual Great Outdoor Art Contest, a Village Art Walk, opportunities to interact with local artists, an art history panel discussion, and more.

As one of America’s original artists’ colonies, art is more than a hobby in Brown County, it is a way of life. Presented by the Brown County Art Guild in collaboration with the Brown County History Center, the T.C. Steele State Historic Site, the Brown County Art Alliance, and the Brown County Playhouse, Brown County Art Colony Weekend not only honors the area’s past, but also exemplifies how Brown County continues to honor its handmade heritage every day.

Brown County Art Colony Weekend will kick off Friday, September 11 with an opening reception and birthday celebration for Brown County’s founding father of the arts, T.C. Steele. It was the talented Impressionist painter who was the first major artist to make his home in Brown County, attracting other artists to relocate and later establish the Art Colony of the Midwest.

Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Brown County History Center and will include refreshments, a birthday cake for Steele, and live entertainment by the Bloomington Classical Guitar Society Ensemble. This event is free and open to the public.

Art will continue to abound on Saturday, September 12 at the 27th Annual Great Outdoor Art Contest. This event, which will take place on Steele’s home turf, will feature live plein air painting on the picturesque grounds of the T.C. Steele State Historic Site from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Paintings will then be judged in the Formal Garden Area, with winners announced at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Not only will the Great Outdoor Art Contest provide an opportunity for guests to see art in action, but also to sample local fare. Food trucks and vendors will be on site, serving up fan favorites to hungry art lovers. A beer garden by Quaff On! Brewing Company will open at 11:30 a.m., with an outdoor concert performed by rising stars, The Jefferson St. Parade Band, beginning at 2 p.m.

Art, food, and entertainment all rolled into one, the Great Outdoor Art Contest is the perfect way to spend the day, as well as to get a taste for Brown County’s art heritage. Pay tribute to an art legend and fall in love with Brown County’s beauty just as Steele did nearly a century ago. There will be a $2 parking fee charged upon arrival, with all other festivities at the event free of charge excluding food and drink purchase.

Events at the T.C. Steele State Historic Site will wrap up just in time for Art Colony Weekend’s next event, the Village Art Walk. Head to Nashville, where several downtown art and craft galleries will remain open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Be sure to stop by the Brown County Art Guild, a participating venue, to admire unframed paintings from the Great Outdoor Art Contest taking place earlier in the day, along with paintings by other local artists. The Village Art Walk is self-guided and free.

Stick around on Sunday for another full day of art and fun. Start the day early with a breakfast with the Nashville Cityscape Plein Air painters at 7:30 a.m. Hear interesting artist tales as these painters share their stories over a meal at the Artists Colony Inn.

After filling up on breakfast, the Nashville Cityscape Plein Air Painters will head out for their PaintOut from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. See these artists at work as they paint scenes in the Village, as well as throughout the county. Live painting demonstrations are free of charge.
Discover Brown County’s art history during a panel discussion at the Brown County Playhouse. At noon on Sunday, learn how the Brown County Art Colony got its start, as well as how it has evolved over time. Get the inside scoop from panelists who knew early Brown County artists and authors who have written about them.

After the panel, pop over to the Brown County Art Guild for the weekend’s closing reception. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Art Guild will be offering refreshments, with paintings from the Great Outdoor Art Contest and the Nashville Cityscape PaintOut on display and for sale. Both the art history panel discussion and the closing reception are free and open to the public.

Experience art firsthand during this one-of-a-kind Brown County weekend. Make plans to attend Art Colony Weekend, September 11-13, and get lost in the creativity of the county.

For more information on Brown County Art Colony Weekend, please visit
About Brown County, Ind.: No matter what you’re looking for, escape comes naturally in Brown County. Eclectic boutiques and galleries, breathtaking scenery, welcoming accommodations, and endless outdoor adventures await in one of America’s original artists’ colonies. From art to the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, and for most, it’s only a short drive away. Unplug from daily life and reconnect with one another as you experience the rustic beauty and artisanal charm of Brown County. Plan your escape today…you’ll be glad you did.