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Eagle Plein Air Festival

Bring painters and patrons together

Story Drew Dodson  Photos Allie Zeyer

This June, top artists in the region will flock to the Treasure Valley as the Eagle Plein Air Festival returns for its fourth consecutive year. Not to be confused with aviation or aeronautics, this plein air festival features scores of talented artists from all over the region coming together to literally paint from life in the open air. Made famous by Claude Monet and other French Impressionists in the 19th century, this unique style mandates that artists paint landscape scenes while being exposed to the elements, including rain, wind, extreme heat, cloud cover and dynamic lighting.

“It’s almost like the art Olympics because it’s so challenging and there’s so many variables out there,” said Meg Glasgow, owner of Finer Frames in Eagle. While she only dabbles in plein air painting, Glasgow has spent the last year coordinating and planning everything about the week-long festival, from funding, to the schedule, and even the artists being featured. As the festival start date of June 2 draws closer, those responsibilities have only ramped up.

“This became my full-time job starting in about February,” she said. “We’re [Finer Frames] the heart and soul of this festival. I’m kind of like the festival ringmaster.”

Cool titles aside, being the director of a festival is actually quite difficult, as it turns out. After spending the last several months attracting professional artists from places as far as Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Utah, Glasgow’s focus has shifted to ensuring patrons have every opportunity to meet, work alongside, and learn from their favorite artists.

“What’s so awesome about this festival is that it brings the art patrons and the painters together,” said Glasgow, adding, “That is the magic.”

Perhaps the best all-around opportunity to get in on the “magic” of the festival is at the signature event at Eagle Island State Park: Art on the Island. Held on Thursday, June 7, from 5-10 p.m., this event features the union of three wonderful worlds: art, jazz, and wine. Attendees will have the pleasures of soothing jazz melodies and wine from the top wineries in Idaho as painters and patrons alike come together for a night of fun.

“It’s kind of like art matchmaking,” said Glasgow. “The artist gets to do what they love to do, but in a way that becomes more meaningful when you have someone who appreciates it at the same time.”

Registered painters will participate in an hour and a half long quick draw competition before immediately turning the pieces over for judging, followed by a wet paint auction to close the evening. Wine, beer, and food vendors will be scattered throughout, and a portion of proceeds from art sales will benefit the Idaho Jazz Education Endowment.

In addition, the festival boasts a nocturnal paint-out from dusk until dawn in which artists paint by streetlight or moonlight. With a bevy of other events slated for the week, the Eagle Plein Air Festival is helping give the city an identity of its own that residents can take pride in.

“It’s more of a cultural experience for Eagle,” explained Glasgow. “There’s no other event like this around in Southwest Idaho at all.” More information on ealgepleinair.com

Schedule of Events:

Saturday, June 2, 2018
Summer Plein Air Workshop with Carol Johansen | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | $99
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Pastel Plein Air Workshop with Bonnie Zahn Griffith | 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. | $99
Monday, June 4, 2018
Daily Demo at Finer Frames: Nadene Kranz | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. | FREE
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Canvas Stamping | 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. | FREE
Daily Demo at Finer Frames: Sherri Carter | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. | FREE
Art and Wine Pairing with Brandon St. Martin | 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. | $40
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Daily Demo at Finer Frames: Sue Tyler | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. | FREE
Frank LaLumia Lecture: Plein Air Around the World | 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. | $10
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Eagle Island Paint Out | 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. | $5 Park Admission
Daily Demo at Finer Frames: Davina Parypa | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. | FREE
Art on the Island: Art, Wine, Jazz and more | 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. | Ticketed Event
Friday, June 8, 2018
Paint Out at Sawtooth Winery | 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. | FREE
Daily Demo at Finer Frames: Chi E Shenam Westin | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. | FREE
Community Paint Along at the Eagle Senior Center | 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. $10
Nocturnal Paint Out | Dusk to Dawn | $10
Saturday, June 9, 2018
State Street Paint Out in Downtown Eagle | 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday Art Market at Finer Frames | 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | FREE
Quick Draw Competition at Heritage Park | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | FREE
Festival Awards Show and Sale at Finer Frames | 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. | FREE
Plein Air Painters of Idaho Demonstrations | 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. | FREE