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National Museum of Wildlife Art to Host 13th Annual Plein Air Fest, Etc.

May 14, 2024

The National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) will host Plein Air Fest, Etc. for its 13th year on Saturday, June 15, 2024. This event is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., including complimentary access to the Museum galleries.

Nearly 50 invited artists will paint from NMWA’s Sculpture Trail, which offers stunning views of the National Elk Refuge. Attendees are invited to browse and bid on the fresh artworks in a silent auction from 12:15 – 1 p.m. “This event is a community favorite, and for good reason! Not only does the public have the unique chance to watch plein air artists at work, but they also have the opportunity to purchase these newly created works,” says Museum Director Steve Seamons. All proceeds will benefit the Museum and participating artists. The event also includes live music from Tasha & The Goodfellows and food for purchase from Palate restaurant, ending at 1:00 p.m.

Ben Walter, the 2023 Best in Show Winner, plans to return this year, as do several beloved Western Visions (NMWA’s annual fall show + sale) artists like Nicole Gaitan, Patricia A. Griffin, Amy Ringholz, and Kathryn Mapes Turner. “The artists are truly the heart and soul of this event, and we love connecting them directly with the community through Plein Air Fest. With artwork at every price point, it’s also an incredible opportunity for emerging collectors to purchase works of art, often for the first time,” says Michelle Dickson, the Museum’s Director of Programs and Events.

This year’s event will include two participation categories for the artists: plein air and al fresco. “Some artists want the full plein air experience—painting what they see in front of them at that moment—while others interpret it more broadly and enjoy painting outside using reference photos of their subject,” says Dickson. “We wanted to accommodate both.” The plein air category allows artists to paint any regional scene of their choice, and they may begin painting anywhere in the area. In contrast, participants in the al fresco category have no limitations on subject matter. The Best in Show award winner will be chosen from the plein air participants, while the al fresco category will not be judged.

All artists will be on the Sculpture Trail by 10 a.m. to finish their pieces live and in person. At 12:15 p.m., all works created during the event, whether in the plein air or al fresco category, will be available via silent auction.

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