Shorewood Stages 3-Day Plein Air Festival in September

Sept. 2, 2013

50+ Professional Artists To Participate in 3-Day Event

Come September, you’ll wonder if you’re in Paris, Greenwich Village or a thriving art colony. Surprise! It’s Shorewood’s first annual “Plein Air Shorewood” Festival where more than 50 talented, professional artists will paint outdoors throughout the Village on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, September 19-21. Paintings created during this 3-day weekend, that also includes a variety of other art-themed community events, will then be offered for sale at a Saturday night, September 21, Gala/ Reception/Auction at the Village Center/Shorewood Public Library (3920 N. Murray Ave.).

“Plein Air Shorewood” is attracting professional artists/painters from across the Midwest, many of whom are national award winners. Cash prizes for best of show and first, second and third place will be awarded by a jury of nationally known painters: David Lenz, James Maki and Nancie King Mertz, and author/art historian Diane Buck. Lenz, Maki and Buck are all Shorewood residents. Award winners will be announced on Saturday between 6-6:30 p.m. before the Gala/Reception/Auction.

Shorewood is distinguishing itself as a thriving arts community. “Wisconsin is a leader in the most number of plein art events taking place each year, and now Shorewood proudly joins their ranks,” says Dick Eschner, Chair of Shorewood’s Public Art Committee, which is presenting and managing the event. “We also have a significant number of professional artists who live and work in the Village, and our community continues to support the arts and pave the way for other artists to participate in our art-related events.”

Other “Plein Air Shorewood” committee members include Patricia Algiers, Don Berg and Jenny Steinman Heyden, all Shorewood residents. Each of these volunteers has extensive backgrounds in art, design and event planning – and they have been working for more than 6 months with Village officials, groups and organizations, and professional artists to plan and execute this first-ever event that will engage the entire community.

In addition, “Plein Air Shorewood” coincides with the third anniversary of the installation of the Village’s first major art acquisition, “Spillover II,” by internationally known artist Jaume Plensa. It is a cooperative venture of the Public Art Committee and the Village of Shorewood. “Spillover II” was permanently installed and dedicated in September 2010 at Shorewood’s Atwater Park (Lake Dr. and Capitol Dr.).

“Plein air” is a French expression that means “in the open air” and describes painting outdoors in natural light. In the mid-19th century, French impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camile Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir popularized plein air painting making it an important art movement. These famous artists would have loved setting up their easels in Shorewood to portray the charm and ambiance of the Village.

Shorewood is fortunate to offer an extensive selection of outdoor venues to paint – from private homes to businesses to our schools, handsome parks and lakefront. Painters will be seen throughout the Village as they employ their talents for all to enjoy, up close and personal. Watching plein air painters is fascinating because the artists must work quickly to catch the fleeting natural light effects. Typically, the initial painting is completed in two to three hours before the quality of the light changes. The artist may return to the same location another day, at the same time, to complete the work or make adjustments. Art fans of all ages will enjoy following this intriguing process.

According to James Hempel, a Shorewood resident and professional plein air artist who will be participating in the event: “As artists, we will be exploring the entire landscape of Shorewood, seeking to capture the most beautiful, interesting and evocative views, from the stony beaches of Lake Michigan to neighborhoods of bungalows and quaint storefronts, to the wooded river park land. Because we create our work on the spot, out in public, I believe plein air is the perfect bridge to bring art to the community.”

Each day of the event will include opportunities for anyone in the community to meet and greet the artists as they paint outdoors, as well as during these special after-hours social settings:

Thursday, September 19
• 7-9 a.m. Artist Welcome Breakfast at the Senior Resource Center, 3920 N. Murray Ave. (lower level of Library).
• 6-9 p.m. Artist and Community Celebration at Hubbard Lodge, 3565 N. Morris Blvd., with live music. Food and beverages for purchase.

Friday, September 20
• 7-9 a.m. Community Breakfast Celebration at Atwater Park (Capitol Dr. and Lake Dr.) to celebrate the third anniversary of “Spillover II” and acknowledge the generosity of an anonymous donor who made the sculpture possible. Meet Village leaders, artists and volunteers.
• 6-10 p.m. Kensington Square Festival: Community celebration in the 4500 N. block of Oakland Ave. with live music, artists, food and beverages (for purchase), and a performance by the McMenamin Irish Dance Academy and the band Loud Mouth Soup.

Saturday, September 21: All events open to all at the Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N. Murray Ave.
• 10 a.m.-12 noon Collector’s Sneak Peek: Preview of paintings
• 6-6:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony
• 6:30-10 p.m. Plein Air Gala/Reception/Auction: Paintings on display in a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and entertainment. It is anticipated that more than 150 paintings will be presented for sale.

“Plein Air Shorewood” will also engage students and parents in free demonstrations prior to the 3-dayevent. On Thursday evening, September 12, Milwaukee artist Fred Bell will offer a painting demonstrationduring Parent Orientation Night at Atwater Elementary School, 2100 E. Capitol Dr. On Wednesday,September 18, Manitowoc artist Jason Prigge will work with students in Kevin Karman’s art classes at Lake Bluff School, 1600 E. Lake Bluff Blvd. For details about these demonstrations, contact Jenny Steinman Heyden at 414.534.6287.

“Plein Air Shorewood” is an excellent opportunity for sponsorship and community involvement. A variety of sponsorship packages is available, including underwriting for artists’ receptions and awards, musical entertainment and the end-of-event gala. Volunteers are also needed for help for activities throughout the event weekend. There are a myriad of opportunities for anyone interested in the arts, especially public art,to participate and promote plein air throughout the state. All inquiries can be made to

Shorewood is thrilled to offer this unique painting exhibition and community celebration of the arts. Wendie Thompson, President of the Wisconsin Plein Air Painters Association, explains that “people who may never have considered purchasing original art all of a sudden enjoy the hunt of a plein air acquisition. The communities that host these events develop a collected history of their community in paint. These works travel to other areas and are beautiful reminders of the place they were made!”

“Plein Air Shorewood” is being presented by Shorewood’s Public Art Committee. Founded in 2007, the committee is comprised of dedicated volunteers with extensive backgrounds in art, architecture and/or urban planning. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of the paintings will benefit Shorewood’s Public Art Program.

The Shorewood Foundation is the Major Presenting Sponsor of “Plein Air Shorewood.” Since 1964, the Shorewood Foundation, a 501 (c)3 charitable organization, has provided a way for Shorewood residents and friends to support the community’s institutions, facilities and services with their donations. Additional support is being provided by a variety of community organizations and groups including the Shorewood Men’s Club, the Shorewood Woman’s Club, the Shorewood Senior Resource Center, the Shorewood Historical Society, the Shorewood Business Improvement District, and the Village of Shorewood Marketing Program, as well as other corporate and individual sponsors.

For more information, e-mail or visit

Plein Air Shorewood Public Art Committee
Dick Eschner, Chair:
Patricia Algiers, Co-Chair: • 414.333.3881
Don Berg, Co-Chair: • 414-303-5588
Jenny Steinman Heyden, Co-Chair: • 414.534.6287

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