3rd Annual Prescott Plein Air Art Festival Celebrates Area’s Iconic Beauty

With workshops and other events preceding the festival, this annual celebration offers attendees a chance to observe and interact with artists painting in outdoor settings

From October 13-16, 2022, fifteen professional artists will take their studios outdoors, painting at scenic locations around the Prescott area as part of the 3rd Annual Prescott Plein Air Art Festival. Presented by the Highlands Center for Natural History and the City of Prescott, in partnership with the Prescott National Forest and Touchmark at the Ranch, this special event will showcase Prescott’s natural, historical, and architectural beauty. There will also be pre-Festival events beginning in May, including workshops for adults and children, a pre-exhibit and sale at Yavapai College Gallery, artist demos, an “Artists in the Gardens” reception and a post-exhibit and sale at Mountain Artists Guild in Prescott.

Referencing the French expression for “in the open air,” plein air art festivals involve artists who paint in outdoor settings and strive to capture the spirit and essence of a landscape or subject by incorporating natural light, color, and movement into their work. Artists participating in the Prescott Plein Air Art Festival have been selected by a jury and hail from across Arizona, as well as Colorado and Utah. They may be found painting anywhere throughout the Prescott area, but the public is invited to observe and engage with them at no cost as they create their art at specific accessible sites, at the Constellation Trailhead and at the downtown Courthouse Plaza.

In the months leading up to the festival, a series of events will invite the public to delve into the world of plein air painting. For instance, from May 18-20, acclaimed artist Gretchen Lopez will host a workshop designed to teach attendees how to capture the natural light and beauty of the Prescott Highland Center’s trails and gardens. From August 8-10, artist Betty Carr, a Master in the American Impressionist Society, will lead a workshop focused on techniques for painting the effects of light in a floral still life and a landscape setting.

“The Dells” by Franz Rosenberger

In October, the Plein Air Art Festival will launch on the 13th with three days of painting and conclude on the 16th with an Artist Reception, Gallery and Sale at the Finn at Touchmark at the Ranch. This closing reception will offer guests an opportunity to visit with the artists, learn more about the plein air style of painting and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces directly from the artists. Following the reception, the Mountain Artists Guild will host a post-exhibit and sale.

As a regional hub for lifelong learning through outdoor education since 1996, the Highlands Center is a science-based, nonprofit organization that strives to help children and adults alike discover the wonders of nature and become wise caretakers of the land. Operating on an 80-acre campus near Lynx Lake through a Special Use Permit with Prescott National Forest, the Center aims to nurture a meaningful sense of place and foster an appreciation for and knowledge of the Central Arizona Highlands. To learn more about the Center and the Prescott Plein Air Art Festival, or to enroll in the upcoming artist workshops, visit https://highlandscenter.org/prescott-plein-air/.

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