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Plein Air Fest, Etc. to Take Place at the National Museum of Wildlife Art

June 2, 2022

The National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) will host Plein Air Fest, Etc. for its 11th year on Saturday, June 18, 2022. This event is free and open to the public from 9am-1pm, including access to the Museum galleries.

More than 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, taking place from 12:15-1pm. All proceeds will benefit the Museum and participating artists. The event also includes live music from the Chanman Band and food for purchase from Palate restaurant, ending at 1:30pm.

This year’s event builds upon past successes while also offering exciting new additions. “The three-way connection between the artists, the community, and the Museum is what makes this event so meaningful,” says Michelle Dickson, the Museum’s Director of Programs & Events. This year, “We want to broaden the overall experience by expanding the roster of painters. We’re excited to host the artists who have been with us since the beginning of the event 11 years ago, and to welcome a dozen new artists who have been suggested by local galleries.” Last year’s “Best In Show” winner, Andrew Kneeland, plans to return this year, as do Natalie Connell, Skip Larcom, and Bart Walker, all of whom have participated in the event for multiple years. “These artists are popular with the community and, over the years, have made this event a truly inviting and uplifting experience,” Dickson says. New artists to the Plein Air Fest, Etc. family this year include Amber Blazina and Peggy Judy, among others. “Renowned artists are not new to Plein Air Fest, Etc.—we’ve had Kathryn Turner and Amy Ringholz participate in the past—but this year there will definitely be more,” Dickson says. “I think it will be exciting to have community artists painting alongside artists who have pieces in museum collections across the country.”

Also new this year is the offering of two participation categories for the artists: plein air and al fresco. The plein air category allows artists to paint any regional scene of their choice, and they may begin their painting anywhere in the vicinity. All artists will be on the Sculpture Trail by 10am to finish their piece live and in person. Al fresco is interpreted more broadly, where artists enjoy painting outside using reference photos of any subject. “Artists interpret their subject matter and create their pieces differently and we wanted to accommodate that.” says Dickson. The “Best in Show” award winner will be picked from the plein air category while the al fresco category is not judged. All of the works created during the event, whether in the plein air or the al fresco category, will be available to buy via silent auction beginning at 12:15pm.