Monday, April 13, 2009

Plein Air Painters to Capture Forgotten Coast on Canvas (Florida)

More than 20 nationally acclaimed artists will gather on Florida's Forgotten Coast in early May to participate in the 4th annual Great Plein Air Paint Out, May 7-17, 2009. Painters will set up their easels and pull out their brushes to document the landscape and culture of this last vestige of authentic "Old Florida" - a sparsely developed stretch between Mexico Beach and Alligator Point.

The public is invited to visit the exhibits and attend many of the special public events that will occur throughout the 10 day Paint-out.


There will be four exhibits that operate throughout the event.

The Wetroom Exhibit will consist of art, fresh off of the easel, which arrives daily at the Historic Cotton Warehouse on the waterfront in downtown Apalachicola. The "wet room" will be open from 11am-5pm for the viewing and purchase of these masterfully produced paintings. Visit each day to experience the excitement as the event unfolds.

Available Works Exhibit (Opening May 10) will feature paintings created during previous Plein Air paint-outs. Art viewing and sales will be open daily from 12-5 pm in the WindMark Village Center. These works have grown increasingly popular and stimulate discussion of how the area has changed since the event first began.

St. Joe Collection (Opening May 10) Presented at SummerCamp exhibiting over 40 plein air paintings purchased from the last three years of Forgotten Coast events. View the Collection daily between 12-5pm.

Plein Air Classic Exhibit. Private collectors from the region have generously loaned their favorite paintings to present the Plein Air Classics Exhibit. The Gulf County Tourist Development Council will host the exhibit daily, May 11-15, from 9 am to 5 pm at the Gulf County Welcome Center, overlooking the bay in Port St. Joe.

Public Events

Quickdraw. Artists, amateurs and professionals, are invited to celebrate the Plein Air tradition by gathering on Reid Avenue in downtown Port St. Joe to participate in the Forgotten Coast Quickdraw on May 9. The excitement begins with artists taking two hours, beginning at 10 am, to paint the beauty of Port St. Joe. At noon the sidewalk will be lined with easels displaying the fruits of the morning's work. Awards will be presented and art will be sold off the easels. There will also be music, shopping, and a creative art project for kids. The Quickdraw is presented by the Port St. Joe Redevelopment Agency, the Gulf County Chamber of Commerce, and the Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition. Applications and contest rules are available at or at the Port St. Joe Redevelopment Agency. For more information, contact Lorinda Gingell at 850/229-6899.

Student Art Day. Highly sought after for their instructional skills, the participating Plein Air artists will devote Tuesday morning, May 12, to Student Art Day. Students from local schools will receive one-on-one mentoring to create a plein air work. This event will take place 10 am-12 noon in Maddox Park in Port St. Joe and will be followed by a community luncheon at the Gulf County Welcome Center, hosted by the Port St. Joe Lions Club and the Junior Service League. The students' completed paintings will be displayed in the Wetroom Exhibit through the duration of the event

Free Artist Demonstrations. Art enthusiasts are encouraged to attend a series of free artist demonstrations and receptions throughout the 10 days. Three historic lighthouses will be featured during the series to include Cape San Blas on Sunday, May 10, Carrabelle's Crooked River on Monday, May 11, and the St George Island Light on Thursday, May 14. Artists will be in Mexico Beach on Wednesday, May 13, in Port St. Joe on May 8, at the Salt Air Farmer's Market in Port St. Joe on Saturday, May 16, at the WindMark Village Center on May 16, and on Apalachicola's working waterfront on May 8, 9, 16 and 17. For a complete schedule and details visit

Art as a Window. This panel discussion will explore the way history, local culture, and the artist interact, will feature noted art historian Mallory O'Connor, Voices of the Apalachicola author Faith Eidse, and plein air artist Mitch Kolbe. The program will be held in the loft of the Historic Cotton Warehouse above the Wetroom on Friday, May 15, from 2-4 pm. Funded by the Florida Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, the program is free and open to the public.

Patron's Party. Artists will be asked to reserve their very best work to present at the Patrons' Party on Saturday evening, May 16, from 6:30-10:30 pm. This special event, held in the Wetroom in Apalachicola, will include delicious food, live music, and the opportunity to purchase the best art from the paint-out. Tickets are $75 per couple or $40 each.

Art in the Afternoon. The final segment, Art In The Afternoon, is a free, family-oriented celebration of the Plein Air event. Children will enjoy fine arts projects, area music students will perform, and artists will paint on-site from 11am-4pm on Sunday, May 17. The Wetroom will extend into the street and overlook Riverfront Park in Apalachicola. This will be the last chance to purchase plein air art, mingle with the artists, and ask them to personalize a message on purchased paintings.

Dual Opening Receptions will kick-off the event on Friday, May 8, from 6-8 pm at the WindMark Village Center in the East and at SummerCamp in the West. The "meet-and-greets" with plein air artists, patrons and event organizers are free and open to the public. The WindMark reception will provide a preview of available works from previous paint-outs and the SummerCamp affair will present the St. Joe Collection.

The artists will frame the initial two days of paintings to be hung for the Wetroom Reveal, Saturday evening, May 9, from 6-8 pm in the Historic Cotton Warehouse in Apalachicola. This opening of the "wetroom" will be the first opportunity to purchase the 2009 paintings. Tickets are $15 and include hors d'oeuvres, wine, and music.

The "great paint-out" is a 10-day event coordinated by the Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition, a non-profit organization established to produce regional multi-community cultural events that improve the quality of life for the coastal area. The communities of Mexico Beach, WindMark Beach, Port St. Joe, Cape San Blas, Indian Pass, Apalachicola, Eastpoint, St. George Island, Carrabelle, SummerCamp and Alligator Point have joined forces to produce the most impressive art event seen along the coast. Funding from both the Gulf and Franklin County Tourist Development Councils has been used to promote the event to a national market aiming to attract art enthusiasts and collectors. "The crème de la crème of artists will be painting along the Forgotten Coast and our local residents and visitors will get the first chance to purchase these paintings that capture and preserve what we all love about this area", said Founder Richard Carrell.

Artists participating in this year's event include Frank Bruckmann, New Haven, CT; Luke Buck, Niveah, IN; Gene Costanza, Eugene, OR; Katie Cundiff, Sarasota, FL; Charles Dickinson, St. Augustine, FL; Cynthia Edmonds, Winter Park, FL; Mary Erickson, Marshville, NC; Sally Evans, Winter Park, FL; Harold Frontz, Lexington, NC; Tracey Frugoli, Morton, IL; Richard Gallego, Palmdale, CA; James Hempel, Milwaukee, WI; Allison Hill, Mohegan Island, ME; Mitch Kolbe, Palm Harbor, FL; Morgan Samuel Price, Altamonte Springs, FL; Lori Putnam, Nashville, TN; James Richards, Athens, GA; Tom Sadler, Orlando, FL; Diane Scott, Hingham, MA; Robert Simone, St. Petersburg, FL; and Theodore Tihansky, Monhegan Island, ME.

Plein Air (pronounced pleyn air) comes from the French term "en plein air," meaning "in the open air." It is a style of creating art in the moment outside, primarily (but not necessarily) from nature. Although this type of art is often thought of as landscape painting, many other subjects can be depicted, including still life, figures, portraits and architecture. A true plein air painting is done on location, capturing the atmosphere and establishing a sense of place. Many artists agree this is the true test of skill, as it requires complete confidence in placement of color and brushwork in a short amount of time. The work is valued for its sense of spontaneity and for the skill artists develop at quickly and deftly capturing the essence of light or shadow on a subject. Plein air art is not created in a deliberate or planned manner, it is fresh and uncontrived, created from life as it happens.

The public is invited, encouraged even, to locate, stop and watch the painters throughout the week. To view the entire schedule of events, enter the Quickdraw contest, or purchase tickets, visit the website, or call 1/800/378-8419. The 2009 Plein Air Paint Out is funded, in part, through the Franklin County Tourist Development Council. To learn more about arts and art related events in Franklin County, please visit
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