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International Parrsboro Plein Air Festival returning June 20 to 23

Alison Menke paints Pinky Creek Road during the 2018 Plein Air Festival in Parrsboro. The 2019 version of the international festival will run from June 20 to 23 and will feature 30 of North America’s 30 finest plein air artists.
Alison Menke paints Pinky Creek Road during the 2018 Plein Air Festival in Parrsboro. The 2019 version of the international festival will run from June 20 to 23 and will feature 30 of North America’s 30 finest plein air artists. - Contributed

Painting in real time in the open air

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 coming back for another edition from June 20 to 23.

Thirty of North America’s finest plein air painters will be in Parrsboro to compete for more than $8,000 in prizes, and they are coming from right across the continent.

The Parrsboro Plein Air festival has moved into the upper echelons of plein air competitions in both Canada and the United States.

“The quality of the work of the 2019 PIPAF artists is phenomenal,” Parrsboro Creative board chair Michael Fuller said.

Canadian painters like Nova Scotia’s Poppy Balser and Quebec’s Chantal Julien are producing brilliant work while artists such as Kirk Larsen and Neal Hughes rank among the heavy-hitters in the United States. And then, there’s festival judge, Nancy Tankersley, a central figure in the American plein air movement and the founder of the prestigious Plein Air Easton in Maryland, who is internationally recognized for her unique style as a contemporary impressionist.

The festival is getting rave reviews, including one from PleinAir Magazine that produced a six-page feature called Dreams from Nova Scotia and described the region as a “spectacular environment.”

Fuller said the visiting artists say they have been swept away by the warm hospitality of the community, the high presentational quality of the festival, and by the spectacular location.

“PIPAF is a game-changer," said Parrsboro Creative executive director, Robert More. “It’s the perfect combination of art and cultural tourism, and the key to realizing the Parrsboro Creative vision of developing a vibrant cultural economy in Cumberland County. It’s putting Parrsboro on the North American art map, and in time PIPAF will draw large crowds of visitors whose spin-off spending will pump tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy.”

Vice chair David Beattie agreed saying it’s all part of the transformation of Parrsboro into the new arts and culture hub of Nova Scotia, and with events like our Plein Air Festival, it’s happening.

On Thursday June 20, the Judge and Jury Show opens with a superb exhibition of fascinating new work by Judge Nancy Tankersley and by internationally acclaimed artists Joy Laking and Bill Rogers, the Jurors who selected the 2019 PIPAF participants.

A Meet the Artists social at the Two Islands Brewery is planned for Friday June 21 at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, June 22 at 6:45 p.m. the Collectors Preview and Awards Night’s Party will take place with 60 new paintings hot off the press.

This marquis event offers collectors and art lovers an opportunity to be the first to view and purchase these works before general admission at 7:30 p.m. The preview is followed by the Awards Celebration with live music, appetizers and bar.

Public art sales at The Hall and Art Lab are available Sunday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission.

Also on Sunday is the Quick Draw, a crowd favourite with plein air artists painting all over town. The Quick draw offers cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 and registration is $10 for adults, a Toonie for teens, a Loonie for the seven to 12 set, and 10 cents for the 4 to 6 year olds.

“In past years people have really enjoyed meeting the artists and watching them paint, and we love the artists coming here,” said business owner Lori Lynch, “it brings excitement to the town, and it’s one more thing that shows Parrsboro is really on the move. By getting attention from across North America, our Plein Air Festival is building our reputation as destination for great art, and it’s bringing in more visitors from far and wide, and helping to lead this community into a bright new future.”

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