The Art of Ranches

We hope you will join us September 24 for our 20th annual Art for the Sangres fundraiser. The event is a celebration of beauty – art, land and community. The setting: A Painted View Ranch, three miles outside Westcliffe in the stunning Wet Mountain Valley. It could not be more aptly named for the occasion.


Wet year in the WMV - Grape Creek Ute Springs

Many say the beauty of the landscape cannot be replicated. But even seasoned connoisseurs of the fine arts might be surprised, at each and every show, by the depths of emotion and meaning that can be found through the various mediums.   What our artist friends bring us is nothing short of spectacular.  

Paintings of landscapes are my favorites. I love looking at the land, and to look at the land through the eyes of an artist is a gift.

Above our kitchen table at home is a large painting, a gift, called “One World.” It blends some dozen worldly cities into one, with architecturally juxtaposed buildings and infrastructure. I’ve grown to like it, but it’s not like watching the clouds come over the Sangres. I could look at those mountains all day.

Yet within natural landscapes, my eye is drawn more strongly to land managed for productivity. Hayfields cut, raked, windrowed and baled, as if priming and painting the land. The smooth edges of fields following the topography. Irrigation ditches running gently curving grades. Bales scattered, for a moment, among the rolling fields. Groups of cattle clustered here and there. All with the mountains as backdrop.

Ranches are an art. They are the art of stewarding the land. They are the art of making a living off the land. The art of survival and heritage. Cattle and hay are what grows well here, as time has shown. Other food can be grown here, too, but the economics need figuring out. Still, ranching might be more beautiful. Manicured yet wild. Somehow it catches multiple aesthetics.

Old ranches evolved into the landscape. The homestead buildings are tucked in out of the wind, behind trees or hills. Off the road a little – not too far.  

Even cowboy style, a 150-year-old look -- clean and fit but ready to get dirty. Still looks good. Still around because it works.

Built to last. Right? We hope so. But it takes all of us to make that happen. Art is an incredible tool to bring people together, to make new connections and to share a dialogue about land health, community health and the long view to the future.

You can help us. Please join us September 24 at A Painted View Ranch. Come see for yourself.

Thank you!

Ben Lenth

Posted in News


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

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