A. R. Mitchell Museum

The A. R. Mitchell Art Museum is located at 150 E. Main, PO Box 95, Trinidad, CO, 81082, 719-846-4224. "The Mitch" is open May 1-October 3, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday , 12 p.m.-4 p.m. with admission $3 per person, kids and members free. Sundays free admission to everyone. Please call for off-season hours.

The "Mitchell" is housed in a 1900s western style building with the original tin ceiling, wood floors, and a horseshoe-shaped mezzanine. This spectacular building was a department store when it was originally built. The main floor features a selection of more than 250 original paintings by acclaimed western artist and illustrator Arthur Roy Mitchell and his contemporaries. The mezzanine offers a wonderful gallery space where featured artists exhibit their works. The First Street Gallery features local artists' exhibitions and stimulates the imagination with some of todays finest modern art. The Atrium Gallery at the Mitchell- 148 Main Street, Third Floor, can also be entered through the ground level First Street Gallery. It features working-artist studios and a gallery in a beautiful turn-of-the-century building which displays the work of renowned Western artist, A. R. Mitchell.


Currently on display are vintage cameras depicting the history of photography from the 1900s to the present and "Century of Commerce" which portrays the many businesses that contributed to Trinidad's rich history. The museum houses the Aultman Photographic Collection, scheduled for display later this year, depicting the history of photography from the 1600s to the present and "The faces of Trinidad" which portrays the many cultures and occupations that contributed to Trinidad's rich history.

Visit the Mitch, for a true sampling of what the west once was and what it has evolved to be. You won't be disappointed! It is a four star experience.





A generous grant from Evergreen Corporation funded the final phase of electrifying the third floor. The third level now houses the First Street Gallery, Atrium Gallery, Young Artists Gallery, ten artist-in residence studios, a six wheel pottery studio with six kilns, a children's classroom, and a combination multimedia Gallery/Little Theater.

The Mitchell houses several art programs including adult pottery classes and children's classes. This collaborative effort with Trinidad State Junior College is just another way that the Mitch acts as a center for the arts in Trinidad.




A. R. Mitchell

Arthur Roy Mitchell (1889-1977), renowned Western artist and historian was born on his father's homestead west of Trinidad, Colorado. In 1907 he hired on as a ranch hand in New Mexico. By his late teens, he was sketching scenes of cowboy life and doing political cartoons for newspapers.

Following the service in World War I, he traveled to New York, where he studied art under Harvey Dunn, George Bridgman and others. During the next 20 years he created more than 160 cover paintings for Western pulp magazines. Summers he spent painting in Colorado and the Southwest.

In 1944 Mitchell returned to Trinidad and started the first art class at Trinidad State Junior College, which he continued for 14 years. In 1959 he designed the official "Rush to the Rockies" emblem commemorating the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush. Concurrently, Mitchell sought to preserve and restore a historic complex of Trinidad buildings-The Baca House, Bloom Mansion and Pioneer Museum. Through his unretiring efforts the Baca-Bloom Museum complex became a reality and he remained Curator until 1975.

"Mitch," as he was affectionately known, received the Honorary Trustees Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City in 1976. The mission of the Arthur Roy Mitchell Museum established in 1982, is to perpetuate the cultural legacy of Mitchell by offering rewarding and educational opportunities through historical and artistic experiences.

"You look over the back trail, and you see the fine friends you've made, and you see you've managed to make a living doing something you really loved, so how could anyone ask for more?"___ Arthur Roy Mitchell


Four Anniversaries in 2006

100th Anniversary of the Jamieson Department Store building, 150 East Main Street in Trinidad. The store moved into the spacious building in 1906. Today the building is home to the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art.
60th Anniversary of the Art Department at Trinidad State Junior College. Arthur Roy Mitchell founded the department for the 1945-46 academic year and taught there for 14 years.
50th Anniversary of the Pioneer Museum (now called the Santa Fe Trail Museum) at the Trinidad History Museum. Mitchell opened the museum for its first full season on May 30, 1956. The Colorado Historical Society property also contains the Baca House (where Mitch once lived), Bloom Mansion, Historic Gardens, and the Museum Bookstore.
25th Anniversary of the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art. The museum contains artwork by Mitchell, Harvey Dunn, and other artists. The Mitch also displays Hispanic religious art, cowboy gear, and Indian artifacts.




”A Journey Down the Trail with Mitch”

His story begins in Trinidad, where he was born in 1889, and in New Mexico, where he found work as a ranch hand in 1907. By his late teens, he was sketching scenes of cowboy life and doing political cartoons for newspapers. Mitch then spent some time in California before attending art school in New York City and joining an arts circle in New Jersey. Artists Harvey Dunn, George Bridgman, and Grant Reynard were among his friends and mentors. Mitch’s colorful oil paintings, which feature cowboys and horses, became popular as covers for western pulp fiction magazines. He also did numerous oil paintings and sketches of Trinidad landscapes. As a historian, Mitch especially loved Trinidad’s pioneers, the heyday of cattle ranching, and the Santa Fe Trail (Trinidad was founded on the historic commercial road in 1861).

In 1944, Mitch returned to Trinidad after being diagnosed with cancer and then lived a long and productive life. He started the Art Department at TSJC in 1945-46, where he taught for 14 years. In 1959, he designed the official “Rush to the Rockies“ emblem commemorating the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush. In September 1955, Mitch opened the Pioneer Museum on a trial basis for three weeks and opened the museum for its first full season on May 30, 1956. Over the next 17 years, Mitch helped expand the historic complex to include the Baca House and Bloom Mansion and then to transfer the property to the Colorado Historical Society. He retired from his position as the museum curator in 1975.

A year later, the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City gave Mitch the Honorary Trustee Award. At retirement, Mitch had moved to Denver to be close to his sister, Ethel “Tot” Erickson. Tot had had supported his careers as an artist and curator and the two were very close. Mitch died in Denver in 1977. The Mitchell Museum opened in 1981 and moved to its current location in 1991. Today the museum boasts artwork by Harold Von Schmidt, Nick Eggenhofer, Larry Heller, Ned Jacob as well as Mitch, Dunn, and Reynard. The museum also houses a collection of historic photographs, Spanish Colonial art, Plains and Pueblo Indian artifacts, and cowboy and ranching gear.

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