About 50 pinstripe artists, sign painters and airbrush artists came from as far away as Ireland and Australia to attend the third annual Brushmasters Getaway at Wisehart Springs in Paonia.
"We're just here to learn about lettering and meet other artists and make connections," said artist and co-organizer Taylor Nagel, who traveled from Michigan to attend the getaway.
The first getaway was held at Wisehart Springs in 2017 and attracted more than 100 artists. Last year the event was held in Kentucky. "It just wasn't the same feel as in Paonia," said Nagel. "The facility is beautiful, the view is beautiful. We just love it here."
Pinstripe artist and part-time North Fork area resident Cory Mroz brought the first getaway to Paonia. That year, Mroz, Nagel and other artists created the 8X16 "Welcome to Paonia" sign now permanently displayed on Highway 133 adjacent to the Redwood Arms Motel.
Mroz, AKA "Mr. Oz," has been involved in the automotive paint industry for 17 years. Known internationally for his designs, his work has been featured on the Discovery Channel show, "American Chopper" and in numerous publications. Most recently he won Best Paint in an Abu Dhabi show.
Mroz said that growing up he was fascinated by the big, colorful signs that greeted his family as they traveled from town to town. Coming home to Paonia and seeing the sign, said Mroz, "is awesome. It's surreal to know that some of our artwork is here in Paonia welcoming people when they come through."
For this year's project Nagel worked with artists from Australia, Ireland and Florida to create a brushmasters getaway sign that will travel to future getaways. "This is the work of people from all over the globe," said Nagel.
This year's event was recorded on video for a future documentary, said Mroz. "We want people to know more about the story."
The sign will return to Paonia for the fourth annual getaway, scheduled for Sept. 16-19, 2020 at Wisehart Springs. Owner Art Wisehart said he looks forward to their return. "This is the best group of people we've ever had here," he said. "I love all the creativity going on."