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