Plein Air event drawing good crowds—auction is Saturday

Keersten Jensen arrived in Spring City this week from her home in the Salt Lake Valley to spend some time painting outdoors and creating works of art for Spring City’s Plein Air competition.

SPRING CITY—Even amidst Sanpete County’s smoky skies, painters have turned out in force to participate in Spring City’s Plein Air competition, which started this week and culminates with the grand reception on Friday night and then the auction and art show on Saturday.

Almost 100 artists will take their palettes to the pastoral landscapes around Spring City to take part in “Plein Air,” or the act of painting outdoors, said event organizer Chris Anderson.

A few of the artists were disappointed the smoky skies obscured the views of the mountains during a couple of days early in the week, but the air has cleared and participation has been great, Anderson said.

There is a new category this year called Thrive125 that will double the prize money of the competition, Anderson said. In honor of Utah’s statehood in 1896, artists will be required to paint structures that existed in Sanpete County in 1896, or other subject matter relating to Utah’s statehood, he said. Such things might include the Manti Temple and pioneer houses.

Artists will turn in their completed painting by Friday afternoon, Sept. 3. Later that evening at 7 p.m. a reception will be held in the Spring City Arts Gallery, 79 S. Main Street. Award winners will be announced during the reception. 

On the morning of Saturday, Sept. 4, registered artists will participate in a “paintout” event and the finished paintings will be sold at a live auction, which starts at 1 p.m.

Anderson encourages visitors to come early on that Saturday and watch the artists at work, then bid on and purchase the “paint-out” paintings they like the most. An exhibition and sale of art will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on that Saturday. This is a great chance to add beautiful works by some remarkable artists to your collection, Anderson said.

Participating artists will be competing for cash prizes in two categories, general and Thrive125. In each category, there will be $1,500 for the winner, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place. Honorable mention awards include a $100 cash prize. A number of other cash and purchase awards will also be offered.

  Paul Bingham will judge this year’s competition. Bingham is a longtime art dealer who owns a gallery in Mount Carmel Junction.

The Spring City Arts annual Artist Studio Tour will also be held in Spring City on Saturday, Sept. 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Over 15 prominent artists will open their studios and galleries to the public. This year the studio tour will be open to all visitors, with no need to purchase tickets. Visitors can pick up a map of the participating artist studios when they arrive at the Spring City Arts Gallery. 

For more information, visit springcityarts.com. or the Spring City Arts Facebook page.