PARRSBORO, N.S. – Plein air – painting in real time in the open air - is the fastest growing art movement in the history of North America, and the International Parrsboro Plein Air Festival is now recognized as the top event of its kind in Canada.
From June 20 to 23, 30 top painters will make their way to Parrsboro to compete for more than $8,000 in prizes, and they are coming from right across the continent: British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York State, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington DC.
The Parrsboro Plein Air Festival has also moved into the upper echelons of plein air competitions in the United States.
“PleinAir Magazine featured an article called Dreams from Nova Scotia which gave it a rave review, and all the visiting artists have had the same enthusiastic response,” Parrsboro Creative board chair Michael Fuller said in a release. “Without exception, they have been swept away the warm hospitality, the high presentational quality of the festival, and by the spectacular location.”
Virginia artist Lynn Mehta’s testimonial summed it up perfectly when she said Parrsboro is a painter’s paradise.
“Our Plein Air Festival is a "game-changer," said Parrsboro Creative Executive Director Robert More. “By attracting artists from across Canada and the United States, it’s become a driving force in building an international reputation for Parrsboro as a major art destination, and it’s also the perfect combination of art and cultural tourism. We believe that it’s just a matter of time before PIPAF will draw large crowds of visitors whose spin-off spending will pump significant dollars into the local-regional business community, a key factor in realizing the Parrsboro Creative vision of developing a vibrant cultural economy in Cumberland County.”
The marquis event of the festival is The Collectors Preview and Artists Awards Night on Saturday June 22.
This is the first showing of 70 brand new paintings – hot off the press! More said it’s a high-energy, entertaining celebration and the judge for 2019 is Nancy Tankersley, an internationally recognized artist who is a central figure in the contemporary plein air movement.
Tickets for awards night are $100, which can go to the purchase of a painting, or $40 for admission only.
This provides an opportunity to purchase a favourite painting before the public arts sales, and it’s also a chance to mix and mingle with the artists. Complimentary wine and delicious appetizers are included.
On Sunday, June 23, there are two Public Art Exhibitions, one at The Hall (44 King St.) and one at Art Lab (121 Main St.), both from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and both are free of charge.
Sunday also features the Quick Draw contest, a crowd favourite which is open to all the visiting plein air artists and also to any members of the public.
“This is one of our most popular events,” Parrsboro artist Janet Doble said. “We encourage all age levels to participate, and last year we had several teens come out to paint, and even some six to 10-year-olds. It really was a joyous experience and so exciting to see community and professional artists painting side by side all over Main Street”.
Business owner Lori Lynch said the artists mean a lot to the community.
“It brings a new energy to the town, and it’s one more thing that shows Parrsboro is really on the move. By becoming known throughout the Maritimes and by drawing attention from across North America, our Plein Air Festival is bringing in more tourists from far and wide, and this is helping to lead this community into a bright new future.”