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A Week of Art, Culture, and Experience

The Eagle Plein Air Festival

By Chelsea Chambers Photos Jim Peterson

The Eagle Plein Air Festival, now in its 5th year is attracting painters from all over North America. More than seventy painters are expected to turn Southwest Idaho into an outdoor living art gallery the first week of June. There are plenty of opportunities to explore, experience, expand, and discover art, music, food, culture, and friendship!

The Eagle Plein Air Festival will be held at various locations across Eagle, Idaho and the Treasure Valley. Some of these locations include Eagle Island State Park, Underhill Garden, Heritage Park and Sawtooth Winery. The community is encouraged to come out and watch the painters. Free painting demonstrations will be held daily from 11:00am to 1:00pm at the festival headquarters of Finer Frames.

“Over the course of a week, the Eagle Plein Air Festival hosts numerous artist workshops and presentations, culminating in our signature Art in the Garden event featuring an artist quick draw, blues concert, art auction & wine tasting. Don’t miss out!says contributing coordinator, Meg Glasgow.

So, what does Plein Air mean exactly? It hails from the French word en plein air, which is an expression that means “into the open air.” Essentially, plein air can be described as the “not-so-simple” art of painting outside.

Now, painting outside might not seem like a big deal, but when you take into consideration the fluctuation of weather and the nature of being outdoors, it starts to become a bit less simple, and a bit more… unpredictable. And that is part of the beauty of the Plein Air Festival: you never quite know what you’re going to get. Whether the sun will shine, or the rain will pour and what affect that has on art and artists. It is genuinely a one-of-a-kind experience that you can’t get anywhere else. From competitions to viewings and wine-tastings, the Eagle Plein Air Festival has everything to keep you and your loved ones entertained all week long!

The festival kicks off with Art in the Garden on Saturday June 1st at the newly renovated Underhill Gardens above Shadow Valley Golf Course. The event turns painting into a spectator sport. Patrons are invited to watch the artists complete a painting in 2 hours while enjoying a blues concert and sipping Idaho wines. This fun and entertaining evening ends with a wet paint sale and live art auction. Wine, beer, cider and a variety of food options will be available for purchase. Bring your low-back lawn chairs or blankets for the hillside. Tickets are $35 per person and include the concert, wine-cider-beer tastings & festival souvenir wine glass. Kids 12 & under are free.

On Thursday June 6th the State Street Paint Out brings the painters to downtown Eagle for a two hour quick draw painting competition from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. While you watch the painters, enjoy the live music in in Heritage Park. The Billy Blues Band will be entertaining the crowd from the Gazebo concert stage.

So, what are artists, vendors, and attendees saying about the event?
Artist, Michael Polk had this to say, “This event gets better each year. It’s a wonderful week for artists. I love participating. Wine paint-outs, demonstrations each day, workshops, and a goody-bag for early sign-up, whoop whoop whoop! Let the party begin!”

Another artist, Shashank Rao, shared his sentiments, “I participated as an artist in 2018. I loved the experience of meeting talented artists in Idaho. I was perhaps the only international artist and I felt very welcomed in the way people received my artwork! Eagle Plein Air Festival truly embodies the foundational principle of all great art, ‘Openheartedness.’ I’m excited to participate again in 2019!”

The festival concludes with an awards show and sale reception on Saturday June 8th at Finer Frames. See all of the paintings created during the week and celebrate with the artists in a public reception from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.

The paintings will be on exhibit at Finer Frames and Eagle City Hall through the end of June. The closing reception and your last chance to see the paintings is Thursday June 27th at Finer Frames.

For more information, visit eaglepleinair.com.