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Wayne Art Center hosts 16th annual Plein Air Festival

Prashi Agarwal / The SPOKE

By Prashi Agarwal, Staff Reporter

Through their paintings, artists bring the intricacy of the outdoors to life. The Wayne Art Center Plein Air Festival provides a platform for imaginative artists around the country to gather and let their creativity take over in the form of art.

The 16th Plein Air Festival, held at Berkley Farm in Wayne, brought 32 nationally acclaimed artists to Wayne to compete and paint from May 5 to May 10 for $25,000. Artists typically adhered to the theme of “local treasures” by painting landscapes, architectural features or small towns within a 25-mile radius of Wayne. Their art will be displayed and sold in an exhibit in the Wayne Art Center until June 22. The Plein Air Festival in Sedona, Arizona inspired the executive director and founder of the festival, Nancy Campbell, to bring it to Wayne to showcase the uniqueness of the area.

“The nature that surrounds us is very different from what you see in Arizona. We have our own beauty, and they have their own beauty,” Campbell said. “We have a lot of generations of families that recognize the beauty of our area, like if they have been to the Devon Horse Show or taken the train from Wayne. That’s the thing people relate to and that the community and this festival embrace.” 

Many local artists participated in the Plein Air Festival this year, where they could paint over a span of six days. Elaine Lisle, a first-time participant from Bryn Mawr, had mixed feelings about the festival.

“I’m always nervous for these kinds of things since it’s painting 24/7 for six days, and it’s exhausting. I think the adrenaline kicks in though, and it’s exciting to be a part of a group painting the community,” Lisle said.

At the end of the sixth day, May 10, a collector’s preview and sale was held to award $25,000 in cash prizes to the top winners. The juror who chose the winners this year was Jill Carver, a full-time professional artist from Colorado.

Another artist who competed in the festival, Mick McAndrews from Downingtown, was a returning participant and enjoyed the aspect of engaging with other artists but had a varying opinion on the competitiveness of the event.

“I like being with the other artists. We spend time together and have meals together and just enjoy each other’s company, but it’s also competition,” McAndrews said. “To be honest, art shouldn’t really be competitive, so that aspect, I find a little disconcerting, but the people that are involved with art in general and at these festivals are wonderful people and just good people to spend time with.”

Prashi Agarwal can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Prashi Agarwal
Prashi Agarwal, Staff Reporter
Prashi Agarwal is a sophomore and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She reports for T/E Life, Multimedia and Opinion sections and takes photos at numerous sports games. Outside of The Spoke, she is a part of Conestoga's ECHOES and HOSA boards, is active in Girl Scouts and plays tennis.