Zion Na­tional Park Plein Air In­vi­ta­tional

Now in its 10th year, Zion Na­tional Park Plein Air In­vi­ta­tional cel­e­brates paint­ing in the great outdoors.

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

Springdale, UT

The Zion Na­tional Park Plein Air In­vi­ta­tional is an op­por­tu­nity for 24 artists to come to­gether as a close-knit com­mu­nity of cre­ators for a week of paint­ing in the idyl­lic beauty of this fed­er­ally pro­tected land. It also of­fers col­lec­tors the chance to view and pur­chase art­work born from an at­mos­phere of ca­ma­raderie and cre­ativ­ity. The 10th An­nual Zion Na­tional Park Plein Air In­vi­ta­tional, or­ga­nized by Zion Na­tional Park and the Zion For­ever Project, be­gins on Mon­day, Novem­ber 5, lead­ing up to the “Art-in-the-park” Paint Out cel­e­bra­tion on the Great Lawn in front of the Zion Lodge on Satur­day, Novem­ber 10.

Events through­out the week in­clude artist demon­stra­tions, wet-paint ex­hibits and evening lec­tures. The one-hour demon­stra­tions will run Mon­day through Wed­nes­day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with artists ro­tat­ing ev­ery hour. A silent auc­tion fea­tur­ing works pro­duced dur­ing the Paint Out will be held that Satur­day at the Zion Lodge, while plein air pieces cre­ated dur­ing the week will be avail­able for pur­chase from Novem­ber 9 to 11 at the Zion Hu­man His­tory Mu­seum. An open­ing re­cep­tion, held on Novem­ber 9, is the only tick­eted event and al­lows vis­i­tors first op­por­tu­nity to view and pur­chase works, ac­cord­ing to Mark Preiss, Zion For­ever Project di­rec­tor.

And as this year is the de­cen­nial an­niver­sary of Zion Plein Air, it’s an es­pe­cially mo­men­tous event. “It’s pretty amaz­ing when you think about how the event has grown, and I don’t think any­body could have imag­ined that 10 years ago this event would have the res­o­nance and pres­ence that it does now,” says Preiss.

“It’s kind of be­come like a big fam­ily re­union,” says Bill Cramer, who is the featured artist this year. Al­though the scenery is beau­ti­ful, “my friends, the peo­ple that go to these events year af­ter year and the peo­ple that run them” are what Cramer says he looks for­ward to most. Upon ar­rival, Cramer says he hikes around to get a lay of the land. While he comes with a list of places he paints at ev­ery year—like Zion Canyon or Kolob Ter­race—the artist also brings a list of new places to try. At times, other artists will in­flu­ence where he goes. “I’m to­tally open to serendip­ity and just let­ting it hap­pen. Al­most ev­ery turn of the road has some­thing to paint,” Cramer says.

Other artists par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2018 event in­clude Gregory Stocks, Suze Woolf, Bon­nie Mcgee, Roland Lee, Michele Usi­belli and Cody Delong. Speak­ing to the shared sense of be­long­ing that Zion Plein Air In­vi­ta­tional evokes, Preiss says, “The whole com­mu­nity feels that way—the gate­way com­mu­nity of Springdale, lo­cal cit­i­zens, the park it­self. That feel­ing of com­mu­nity is very much a part of the cul­ture of the event...many of these artists have con­tin­ued to im­prove on their craft, and what we’ve found is that Zion is sort of the grand fi­nale of the sea­son here in the West, and that seems pretty ap­pro­pri­ate.”

The Zion Lodge Great Lawn.

2018 featured artist Bill Cramer works on a piece dur­ing a pre­vi­ous Zion Na­tional Park Plein Air In­vi­ta­tional.

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