Local artists are invited to participate in an exciting event this year on the Clay County Fairgrounds during the World’s Greatest County Fair.
Spencer’s Arts on Grand is hosting its first “Plein Air at the Fair” painting festival at various locations throughout the fair. They are currently seeking artists interested in participating in this unique artistic event.
Plein Air art is a style of painting originating in France in the mid-19th century. It is characterized by the artist using natural light and creating his or her piece while sitting amidst the atmosphere in which they are painting, as opposed to work created in a studio setting.
According to Sandy Thiessen, Arts on Grand board member and Plein Air at the Fair Committee Member, the event proves to be multi-dimensional for both artists and fairgoers.
“ ‘Plein Air at The Fair’ will bring the artist and the fairgoers together during the creative process,” Thiesen explained. The artists will draw an envelope in the morning containing a mapped region on the fair grounds to create his or her art. The artist selects the day in which to create his or her art, sets up an easel and begins work in the midst of the fair activity that surrounds him. Meanwhile, fairgoers enjoy the process as they witness the artwork being created before them. It really is a fun, amazing process to witness.”
This year, the Iowa State Fair initiated its first Plein Air event with 10 participating artists. It proved to be a popular attraction for fairgoers.
“The Plein Air officials at the Iowa State Fair reported to have received tremendous feedback from the fairgoers during the program. “Several Clay County residents who traveled to Des Moines for the State Fair saw the beautifully-created art, and returned excited to see if Arts on Grand would ever consider hosting a similar event right here in Spencer at the Clay County Fair.” Thiesen explained. “The truth is, we had discussed it in the past, and decided ‘Why not? Surely, we have artists from our area who’d be willing to participate.”
The Clay County Fair’s Plein Air event has fewer guidelines than the Iowa State Fair’s event. “We felt it would be better to have fewer rules this year as we kick off the program to encourage participation,” Thiesen explained.
‘Plein Air at The Fair’ painters are encouraged to preregister to participate in the Arts on Grand-sponsored event by Tuesday, September 4. Artists will receive a free gate pass admitting them to the Clay County Fair. Late entries are welcome. They can use any medium to create their art work of any size. They must provide their own supplies to create the art.
Artists will check in at The Art Barn on the Clay County Fairgrounds. Each artist may paint or draw from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. any one day during the Clay County Fair Saturday, Sept. 7 through Saturday, Sept.14. There will be no painting done on the final day of the fair, Sunday, Sept. 15. Throughout the day, artists will have support from Art Barn volunteers and staff to make sure they stay hydrated and comfortable. Artists must turn their completed work of art by 5:30 p.m. the day in which they selected to create.
All completed ‘Plein Air at the Clay County Fair’ artwork will be displayed at Arts on Grand Art Barn during the fair and at the Artisan’s Road Trip October 12-13, 2019. All pieces will be voted upon at Arts on Grand during the Artisan’s Road Trip, and a prize will be awarded for The People’s Choice Award. Artists will retain ownership of their work upon completion of the Artisan’s Road Show in October.
For more information about the Clay County Fair’s Plein Air at The Fair event, contact Melissa Cadmus at Arts on Grand at 712-262-4307 or Sandy Thiesen at 712-262-7407.
Feature image: Local artist Bruce Morrison working in plein air style, which will be used during the Arts on Grand 2019 Clay County ‘Plein Air at the Fair’ event.