A few years ago, the fact that the Avalon Foundation’s Plein Air Easton had climbed to be one of the most important outdoor art gatherings in the United States would have been met with lukewarm enthusiasm. While many would immediately applaud any top ranking that comes Easton’s way, the fact was that the general public didn’t have a clue what a “plein air” festival was.
To say that all of this has changed would be a understatement.
Over the last decade, plein air festivals have popped up nationwide. From San Francisco to New Bern, North Carolina, communities are now embracing the outdoor painting experience in record numbers, intentionally recalling the magic of European artists drawn to the challenge and gifts that come with painting outdoors, including the likes of Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, and Renoir.
And unlike the early days, when events only attracted the artists themselves (and a few savvy collectors), the plein art movement is now attracting sizable audiences who enjoy the public events and educational programs built around the art itself.
The fact that Plein Air Easton is the most popular in the country is no surprise to the Avalon Foundation’s CEO Al Bond and chief operating officer Jess Bellis. For 19 years, the foundation has slowly reinvented what a plein air competition means for a community.
All of these invocations will be on display as the Avalon staff and over 250 volunteers welcome more than 60 artists from all parts of the globe and their building fan base with an opening reception at the Trippe Gallery in Easton this Friday night, followed by ten days of workshops, music, food, and art shows in almost every part of Talbot County.
The Spy asked Al and Jess to come by the Spy studio for a short chat about Plein Air Easton 2023 and some highlights planned.
This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Plein Air Easton please go here.