It is beyond doubt that a large-scale, plein air painting event cannot take place without the strong organizational skills of its planners, but it will always be the participating artists that make the occasion a success. It is the artists, who, in the role of ambassadors, bring the community and the Arts together. Through the representation of the familiar - the local flora, fauna, landmarks, and atmosphere - plein air painters make the Arts more accessible to the public, and raise appreciation for what it is that artists do. As such, plein air events benefit not only the town in which they are held, but the Arts as well.
|J. Stacy Rogers|
Earlier this month, High Bridge, New Jersey held its inaugural, plein air "Paint Out," and for a first-time gathering, the positive response was overwhelming. Over thirty artists from as far away as Florida travelled to this former mid-Atlantic steel town to, in the words of Councilwoman Victoria Miller, "remind (the community) of the beauty that surrounds us every day." Though the day was a bit chilly, the skies were sunny and clear, and the resulting artwork was of the highest caliber. At the end-of-the-evening awards reception and silent auction, attendees were treated to live jazz music, hot apple cider, and treats from the nearby Garden Gourmet eatery. Artists, town officials, and borough residents, were all heard to remark how much they loved the event, and how they were looking forward to repeating the Paint Out next year.
Bridge at Arch & Main
Cash and material prizes were awarded to the top three artists as chosen by this year's two-member jury, local High Bridge artists Aida Birritteri and Matthew D. Innis. First Prize ($300 cash, a Cezanne wooden half-box French easel donated by Jerry's Artarama, the DVD Painting Outdoor Light by Brian Neher, and the DVD, Drawing Closer to Life by David Kassan) went to Olya Powzaniuk for her pastel "Bridge at Arch & Main." Second Prize ($200 cash, a $50 gift certificate from Jerry's Artarama in Princeton, NJ, the DVD Painting Outdoor Light by Brian Neher, and two episodes of American Painting Video Magazine on DVD) was awarded to Anne Kullaf for her pastel "Main Street." Patricia Nebbeling took home Third Prize ($100 cash, the DVD Painting Outdoor Light by Brian Neher, two episodes of American Painting Video Magazine on DVD, and a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant Circa, located on High Bridge's Main Street) for her oil painting depicting "Thomas Street."
Accolades are due to all of the painters who were participants in this year's event. Without the involvement of the artists who came out that day, and those who donated items to the prize packages (David Kassan, Brian Neher, and Michael Klein), High Bridge's 1st Annual Paint Out would not have been such a great success. A special thanks is also due Event Coordinator Michele Schwartz without whose tireless efforts, this event could have never taken place.
|Artist Victoria Herrera painting at Springside Farm, a tract of land preserved by the High Bridge Borough|
To learn more about the High Bridge Paint Out, and to see how you can participate in next year's event, please visit the HBPO website, http://hbpaintout.com, or contact the planning committee directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see more images of the Paint Out, and learn more about the small but vibrant community of High Bridge, those interested can also follow HBPO on Facebook.