A little preview piece on a painting extravaganza in Wexford. Fingers crossed for the weather, but there is always the contingency of 'The Sky and The Ground' one of Wexford's many taverns to retreat to
Wexford is accustomed to hosting international visitors. For more than six decades, the town has been a magnet for discerning opera buffs during the annual festival held in October. Artexhibitions are a substantial element of the fringe activities of the opera festival. From the 27th of July , art takes centre stage as an influx of arty types of a different hue is expected to descend on the South East seaside town when ‘Art in the Open’, Irelands international plein air festival gets under way. The annual event , devoted to the practice of painting outdoors, an activity associated with the French Impressionists, is in its’ eighth year and ‘thankfully going from strength to strength’ according to festival organiser, Alma Hynes. Last year, around 200 artistsfrom across Europe and the US set up their easels in some of the most picturesque spots in the county. Six ‘Paint-Outs’ are again the core of Art in the Open 2015 featuring some of the most stunning scenery, charming villages and historic towns the South-East Ireland has to offer. This year the locations include New Ross, Wells House and Gardens, Kilmore Quay, Hook Head, The Irish National Heritage Park and, of course Wexford town.
The participants, a mix of amateurs and established artists can participate in a range of workshops, lectures and walks over the six day festival. There are picnics, barbeques and designated pubs for painterly pints .
‘Quickdraw’, a timed charity event where artists have just two hours to complete a painting is expected to ‘draw’ a good crowd of local observers to the Bullring on Sunday August 2nd. There are several sponsored prizes from local businesses. At the sound of the steward's horn, participants put down their brushes and line up their easels for half an hour of judging, prizes and an on-street sale of paintings before the paint is even dry. Proceeds of an affordable entry fee (payable on the day) and 10% commission on sales will be presented to a local charity.
If you are not of an artistic persuasion yourself, you can come and watch paint dry and perhaps acquire an artistic impression of local landmarks. Each artist may submit two works for the final exhibition. The works are framed and sell for between €100 and €500. A €5,000 prize pot will be awarded . Last year’s winner of the Gold Mayoral Prize of €1,000 was Mary Duffy for Purple Rasta Tree.
Let’s hope for all the plein air enthusiasts, the canvas stays dry and the sunny South East lives up to it’s reputation .
Art in the Open runs from July 27th – August 3rd More details on the festival websitewww.artintheopen.org