Show Preview | Escalante Canyons Art Festival

Escalante, UT
Various locations, September 22-27

Dennis Farris, Virgin River, Below the Streaked Wall, oil, 24 x 24.

Dennis Farris, Virgin River, Below the Streaked Wall, oil, 24 x 24.

This story was featured in the September 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Escalante, UT, is a town of just 800 people, but it’s situated among beautiful public lands and wilderness, has recently been designated a national historic district, and hosts an art festival that rivals larger art markets. From September 22 to 27, the Escalante Canyons Art Festival brings art and entertainment to the small western town with a plein-air painting competition, speaker series, live music, workshops, and art fair and sale.

Up to 100 plein-air painters converge on the town and begin painting on September 19 for six days, then show their works to the public on Saturday, September 27, at the Escalante Community Center. Open to painters of all levels and ages, it’s a unique take on the plein-air competition and something that sets it apart from invitational and juried events. “We have artists who sell their work in major metropolitan areas, and last year, one of our award-winning artists was a child in the community who was 8 years old,” marketing director Allysia Angus says. “It’s just a really comfortable, fun event where you’ve got that full range of experience interacting with each other. And all levels seem really open to talking and sharing their techniques and learning from each other.”

Starting Monday, September 22, and running each day during the week, evening programs for visitors and patrons bring workshops, demonstrations, and a speaker series. The latter includes talks by keynote speaker David Leland Hyde about his father, celebrated wilderness photographer Philip Hyde, and by Paula McNeill, who will discuss this year’s featured artist, Arlene Braithwaite. The festival culminates downtown on Friday and Saturday with the plein-air exhibit and art sale, arts and crafts sale, and live music from local and regional bands. “It’s the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this year, and being situated where we are, right in the heart of crazy amounts of public land and designated wilderness, we’re doing programming that overlaps with that history,” Angus says. “Escalante is a place that capitalizes on the beautiful landscapes that are around us. It’s a lot of fun.” —Joe Kovack

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Featured in the September 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art September 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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