Festival Fever

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Sedona Plein Air Festival

Art and artists have always played a major role in shaping Sedona’s culture, so there’s something about seeing artists setting up easels on Sedona’s streets and trails that just feels right. We’re referring to the Sedona Arts Center’s seventh annual Sedona Plein Air Festival on Oct. 21-29. The juried event attracts 32 of the top plein air (French for “open air”) artists from across the country; at least half of the artists are new to this year’s festival, says Vince Fazio, SAC’s director of the School of Arts.

This year, the festival kicks off on Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. with an opening exhibition, Reflections on a Pond, featuring 198 paintings from artist Kevin Macpherson of New Mexico. The exhibit will be on display at SAC through Oct. 26. Vince says the concept of the one-man special exhibition is new to this year’s festival. “We could not have had a better choice than Kevin Macpherson,” he says. “He is the quintessential plein-air painter but so much more. Reflections on a Pond played a role in inspiring an entire movement in art. There are painters who emulate his method of creating a painting each day. Our school has a number of these ‘painting a day’ artists on the faculty. This will be a very engaging exhibit.”

On Oct. 22 from 1:30 to 4 p.m., the artists gather for a paint-out in Uptown Sedona followed by a sidewalk art sale in front of SAC from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Starting Oct. 23 and running through Oct. 27, the plein-air painters can be found creating their works of art throughout Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon – you never know who you’re going to stumble upon and where. The artists are happy to talk about their inspiration and the painting process, so don’t be shy.

“People should get out and walk the areas where we are having the paint-outs,” Vince says. “Seeing the work as it is being made gives the sense of how intense an activity painting is, and this informs your experience at the final exhibitions of finished works.”

The fest schedule also includes guest speakers Kevin Macpherson (Oct. 25) and Arturo Chavez (Oct. 26); an artist’s day in Jerome (Oct. 26); and a quick draw at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (Oct. 27). The festival culminates in the Art Lovers Wine Gala on Oct. 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Sedona Arts Center. The only ticketed event of the festival ($100 per person) includes wine and hors d’oeuvres as well as the chance to purchase festival art before it goes on sale to the public on Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Funds raised from the gala benefit SAC’s art education programs. The Plein Air Festival and SAC’s spring art auction are the nonprofit’s two major fundraisers.

Sedona Plein Air Festival, Oct. 21-29 @ the Sedona Arts Center, 15 Art Barn Road in Uptown Sedona; events also take place in Jerome and at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, 336 SR 179. All events are free of charge with the exception of the Art Lovers Wine Gala, which is $100 per person. For more info, call 928-282-3809 or visit www.sedonapleinairfestival.com.

MORE THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN SEDONA: Secret Sedona, Sedona Bluegrass Festival, four-wheeling, kayaking, hang gliding and skydiving, wine tasting rooms, best pizza in Sedona, Sedona calendar of events, cool summer fun, Sedona skygazing, Sedona dance classes

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