WindMark Beach, Fla. - A decade ago, a group of friends sat and talked about how the Forgotten Coast was quickly changing and how this last vestige of old Florida needed to be preserved for future generations. It was this discussion in the living room of event founder, Richard Carrell, which was the catalyst for what has become one of the most respected plein air events in the nation.
The first year the paintings were displayed in a tent set on a stretch of property which has become WindMark Village Center. “We are so pleased that St. Joe Company has agreed to host the 10 year anniversary celebration,” states Joe Taylor, Event Chair. “They have donated the use of five commercial buildings which will include the Wetroom, Presentation Hall, the Plein Air Cafe’, the Masters Gallery, and the Plein Air Marketplace,” Taylor said.
There will be activities and exhibits in all eight participating communities along the coast, from Mexico Beach to Carrabelle. The Eastpoint Visitor Center will host the Opening Luncheon at noon on Friday, May 1, and Apalachicola’s Riverfront Park will be the center for the Quickdraw on Saturday morning, May 2, starting at 9am. Awards will be presented between noon and 1pm. A special reception will follow that evening featuring the opening of the Florida’s Finest en Plein Air Exhibition and a keynote address by Joshua Rose, Editor of American Art Collector Magazine. The Quickdraw and reception is sponsored by American Art Collector magazine. Reception tickets are $20 per person.
Artists and community members will gather for Plein Church on Sunday morning on the dock at Riverfront Park at 9am. Both invited and visiting artists are encouraged to bring their easels for a special blessing. That afternoon pastel artists, Nancie King Mertz and Greg Barnes, will complete a demonstration at Lynn’s Quality Oysters in Eastpoint.
Monday, May 4th, a demonstration will begin at 2pm in Salinas Park on Cape San Blas and an artist’s reception starts at 4pm. That evening will feature full moon paint outs at the Lighthouse in Port St. Joe and in Riverfront Park in Apalachicola.
Tuesday, May 5th, Carrabelle will host the activities with demonstrations on Marine Street starting at 2pm and then a reception at Rio Carrabelle from 4-6 pm.
Wednesday, May 6th, will focus on St. George Island. Student Art Day will begin at 10am in Lighthouse Park and a community lunch will follow at noon around the lighthouse. Painting demonstrations will be provided in the park beginning at 2pm. Artists and enthusiasts will enjoy a reception from 4-6 pm at Shimmering Sands Realty. At 7pm, Jean Stern, Executive Director of the Irvine Museum, will be the guest of honor for a book-signing in the Shimmering Sands boardroom.
Thursday, May 7th, will be hosted by the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. The demonstrations will begin at 2pm (Eastern) and the reception will follow at 4pm. That evening at Presentation Hall in WindMark Village, Jean Stern will give a lecture titled “100 years of Plein Air.”
Friday, May 8th, will feature demonstrations in Port St. Joe at the lighthouse at 9 am and in Riverfront Park in Apalachicola at the same time. At 2 pm in Presentation Hall, Jean Stern will facilitate Art as a Window, an artists’ roundtable discussion with Donald Demers, Mary Erickson, David Boyd, Jr., and Tracey Frugoli. That evening, the TGIF Celebration will feature fresh local seafood and dancing on the dock in Riverfront Park, tickets are $10 per person including dinner.
Saturday, May 9th, will begin with demonstrations in Apalachicola at Riverfront Park and in Port St. Joe on Reid Avenue, both beginning at 9am. Jean Stern will provide consultations in the Wetroom from 11 am to 3 pm in preparation for the Collectors’ Gala which will begin at 6:30 pm in Presentation Hall. That evening, the Artists’ Choice Award will be presented and collectors will be offered the artists’ selections of the best work from the week. Collectors’ Gala entrance begins at $100 which is applicable to a 2015 art purchase.
Sunday, May 10th, is Art in the Afternoon. Featuring a special brunch to honor Mother’s Day and art activities for the children, this is the last chance to view and purchase from the 2015 paintings. Reservations for brunch are recommended. The children’s activities, music and art exhibition are free and open to the public from 11 am to 3 pm. Mother’s Day brunch is $20 per adult and $10 per child under 12.
The event has five new features for the anniversary celebration, including 11 daily exhibitions with the Masters’ Gallery located in the Chill Tower at WindMark being the newest. The Plein Air Cafe’ will operate daily for lunch from Monday, May 4th, to Sunday May 10th, featuring a series of Lunch and Learn programs where participants can engage with artists and plein air experts. The Plein Air Marketplace, sponsored by Plein Air Magazine, will be open each day from 11 am to 5 pm showcasing arts supplies to include paints, brushes and frames, providing a relaxation station for visiting artists and displaying work of the Plein Air Portraits artists, Dawn Whitelaw and Hiu Lai Chong. The Plein Air Portraits provide collectors an opportunity to have a custom plein air painting completed during the 10- day event; details are available online. To ensure everyone has a chance to be involved with the event, six plein air Painting Stations will be set up across the region where first time painters can create their own plein air painting with one on one guidance from a professional artist. All supplies are provided for these two hour sessions by Blick/Utrecht Art Materials. Sessions must be reserved in advance on the event website.