The Seneca Lake Plein Air Painting Festival marks its seventh anniversary this year and began on Thursday, Oct. 2. The festival, which invites 30 talented artists from across the country to participate, is the result of a collaboration between Billsboro Winery, the Smith Center for the Arts, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the greater Geneva community. In addition to exciting showcases of professional art, the festival is set to have many opportunities for HWS and Geneva students to participate.
Community outreach is one of Plein Air’s basic principles. This year, the festival has moved to the fall in order to include students from the Colleges who are interested or artistically-inclined. The festival is also partnering with many other local artistic initiatives, such as the Geneva Music Festival, which will select one piece generated by Plein Air artists to be featured on all of its publicity.
“This is an event for Geneva to come together, a melding of the greater community participating in one event,” says Aliceann Wilber, head coach of the William Smith soccer team and member of the Plein Air committee. “To be in the moment of the event builds a bigger sense of action, of doing and of being.”
Plein Air will offer several days of artistic opportunities. During Thursday and Friday, the selected artists will arrive in Geneva and devote their time to painting Geneva from their perspectives. On Friday, Oct. 3, the artists will showcase their work throughout local businesses as part of the Geneva Night Out initiative. Geneva Night Out is a free monthly arts and cultural event in downtown Geneva, N.Y., on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. Art openings, exhibits and showcases hosted by local businesses and galleries allow visitors to explore the creative energy and dynamic range of local art in all its forms.
Saturday, Oct. 4 will see the festival’s Paint-Off Competition, in which artists of all ages may enter a timed contest. This portion of Plein Air has several divisions based on age and welcomes students from the Geneva City School District and Hobart and William Smith, as well as the greater Geneva community.
“Here it will be possible for the public to see artists doing their work in real-time and even make purchases on the spot,” says Wilber. “Artistic students can be part of the greater group of artists and get their start here.”
Following the competition, there will be a gala reception and silent auction at 5 p.m. inside the Katherine D. Elliot Studio Arts Center, where guests may enjoy live jazz, wine and light appetizers. All entered artwork will be available for silent auction. The evening will culminate with the awards ceremony for the participating artists. There is no cost for any HWS student who wishes to attend this reception.
In addition to festival events, 2013 winning artist George Van Hook will offer a painting and drawing workshop on Monday, Oct. 6 and Tuesday, Oct. 7. An internationally-recognized painter, Van Hook will discuss his works, art history and techniques for oil and watercolor painting. Participants are free to work in the medium of their choice.
Proceeds from sales will go to the artists involved, and a portion will benefit the Smith Center for the Arts, which puts on many cultural and art events throughout the year. A local institute, the Smith Center for the Arts has been a festival partner for several years as well as a strong advocate for local artistic events.
More information on the Plein Air Festival may be found online.