A! Magazine for the Arts

Kyle Buckland

Kyle Buckland

Plein Air Abingdon spans three days

March 27, 2019

The Virginia Highlands Festival in partnership with the William King Museum of Art announces a new program for the spring, called Plein Air Abingdon. This three-day festival of painting outdoors serves as a new art event in Abingdon for professional artists, a showcase for the WKMA, and as a fundraiser for the Virginia Highlands Festival. More than $1,500 in cash and prizes are awarded to talented artists who register and participate.

Tickets are not necessary for the general public. This event is free and open to everyone who would like to watch artists at work and see the final results on display at the WKMA.

Artists are required to register in advance at vahighlandsfestival.org.

Professional plein air painters who have registered have two days, April 25 and 26, to create their new work in and around historic Abingdon, Virginia.

Plein Air Abingdon opens to students, amateurs, and professional artists April 27.

A plein air painting workshop is led by artist Kyle Buckland from 10 a.m. to noon, April 27.

A “Quick Draw” competition is held April 27 from 1-3 p.m. All are invited to create a new work in just two hours. Visitors to Abingdon see artists throughout downtown along Main Street, painting and drawing. Artists return to the museum with their work for jurying at 3 p.m.

A pop-up gallery, cocktail party and awards ceremony are held from 5-7 p.m.

At the April 27 evening event, collectors are invited to come purchase works of art created during the three day festival, including “Quick Draw” artwork. Proceeds from these sales will be divided with half of the sales proceeds going to the artist and half going to the Virginia Highlands Festival.

More than $1,500 in juried cash prizes are awarded to participating artists Saturday, April 27 at the pop-up gallery and reception.

“Plein Air Abingdon brings professional artists to our hilltops, sidewalks and front porches in a communitywide celebration of outdoor painting,” said Christine Berg, chair of the event. “We are inviting artists from throughout the country to join us. With expansive vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop to our historic town of Abingdon, the stage is set for some beautiful new works of art.”

Becky Caldwell, festival executive director, calls the event a “love letter” to the town of Abingdon. “Abingdon gifts us with a beautiful town, people and life to capture. In return the artists gift us with their perspective and capture a moment in time with an emotional poignancy you can only get from the hand of an artist.”

Betsy White, WKMA executive director, says, “William King Museum of Art is delighted to partner once again with the Virginia Highlands Festival on this project. It brings together artists and art lovers in our community in a unique way and celebrates the architectural history and natural beauty of Abingdon.”

This will be the fourth year of this collaboration, which began as a one-day event called “Paint the Town.”