Staunton’s Plein Air Art Festival


The Queen City is getting ready to play host to artists from Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New York for the Second Annual Plein Air Festival. You might be asking yourself “what is plein air?” The expression is actually French meaning “en plein air,” or “open air,” allowing the artist to go beyond the four walls of a studio and experience drawing or painting in the landscape. In its truest form, a plein air painting is completed from beginning to end on site with the subject matter right in front of the artist.

During the Queen City Plein Air Festival, invited artists will spend three days painting the unique architecture of downtown Staunton, the beautiful gardens on the Historic Garden Week Tour, and the rolling landscapes of Augusta County. Featured locations include internationally known Polyface Farm, the living history museum the Frontier Culture Museum, the newly renovated Blackburn Inn, and Gaie Lea Farm and Venue—just to name a few.  The public can view (and even purchase) the newly completed works of Staunton and Augusta County at the Fresh Paint Gallery Sale on Saturday, April 21 from 6:00-8:30 pm.

Both professional and inspiring artists can get in on the action with Paint Staunton Day, a family-friendly art competition and pop-up show. Artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to compete within three categories: Professional, Amateur, and 16 and Under for a total of $1000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to capture the timeless beauty of historic downtown Staunton. The event culminates with a judging and Pop-Up Show and Sale.

Other festival events include artist demonstrations, lectures, and a workshop by event juror and nationally acclaimed plein air painter, Nancy Tankersley. For more information on the Queen City Plein Air Festival (April 17-22) and a complete calendar of events visit: Visit Beverley Street Studio School.