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Outdoor festival celebrates art in Yellowstone



By Christine Gianas Weinheimer YELLOWSTONE FOREVER

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park from Sept. 26 to 30 just might see the next artistic masterpiece in the making. The first annual Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational, hosted by Yellowstone Forever, will celebrate the current and historical presence of art in Yellowstone by bringing 14 of the nation’s best artists to paint “en plein air” throughout the park.

“Art and artists have played a pivotal role in the history of Yellowstone and its establishment as the world’s first national park,” said Heather White, president and CEO of Yellowstone Forever. “The Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational celebrates that legacy and carries on a great tradition of creative expression in this wonderland.”

Artists were among the first to bring proof to the American public of the wildlife and visual wonders found within Yellowstone. Thomas Moran’s paintings and drawings, in particular, are said to have helped convince Congress in 1872 that this landscape was exceptionally beautiful and valuable to the nation.

While Yellowstone’s wonders are now known worldwide, art still plays a significant role in the park. Artists flock to Yellowstone to interpret its magic through paint, film, clay, and other media; and in turn their work sparks interest in Yellowstone among its viewers.

“Yellowstone is a national treasure,” White said. “We hope this event will inspire artists and visitors from around the country to appreciate and care for this magnificent place.”

The Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational activities are free and open to the public with park admission. During the event, visitors will have the opportunity to attend daily painting demonstrations at scenic landmarks throughout the park. Visitors can pick up a map of specific artist demonstration locations at any of Yellowstone Forever’s Park Stores throughout the park.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Morning Paint-Out will take place at Madison Junction from 9-11 a.m. All participating artists will have only two hours to complete a painting of Yellowstone. Also that day, visitors can take part in family-friendly plein air painting session and an afternoon artist-in-residence demonstration at the Yellowstone Art and Photography Center at Old Faithful.

A selection of the artists’ “wet paintings” produced during the week will be displayed alongside studio-produced pieces at the Old Faithful Lodge Recreation Hall. These pieces will be available for viewing and purchase on Sunday, Sept. 30.

Featured artists from across the United States, with a specialty in plein air painting, were invited to participate in the event. The renowned and award-winning artists include, among others, James McGrew, Jim McVicker, Jennifer Hoffman, and Kathryn Mapes Turner.

“I love engaging with people as I paint,” explains Texas-based painter Suzie Baker, who will be one of the featured artists at the event. “Plein air painting holds the unique distinction of connecting the public to the artwork and artists in a way that few other forms of painting do. They feel part of the painting, they are part of the story.”

Turn to page 45 to read about painter Greg Scheibel, a nationally-recognized Bozeman plein air painter also participating in the event.

Yellowstone Forever is the official education and fundraising nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park. Proceeds from the event will benefit priority projects and education initiatives in the park.
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