Show Preview | Escalante Canyons Art Festival

Various locations in Escalante, UT, September 28-29

Scotty Mitchell, Incoming Storm, pastel landscape painting

Scotty Mitchell, Incoming Storm, pastel, 14 x 19.

This story was featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!

For two days in September, the small and pristine town of Escalante, UT, doubles its population as people pour in for the ninth annual Escalante Canyons Art Festival. More than 100 artists are participating this year, including Leslie Jenson, Scotty Mitchell, and Nancy Lewis. Events during the festival include the Plein Air Painting Competition, an arts and crafts show, lectures, workshops, and live entertainment.

The arts and crafts show takes place in the Festival Plaza and the Escalante Exhibit Hall. Numerous vendors display and sell fine-art paintings, photography, pottery, jewelry, and other handicrafts.

The Plein Air Painting Competition is September 21-27. The artists paint in and around Escalante, a town of about 800 people located in the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante 
National Monument. “It’s very beautiful, very rugged, and very remote—and it’s an absolute paradise for painters,” says festival director Sandy Larsen.

A one-day paint-out takes place on September 26 at Escalante Town Park. “We decided to have the paint-out in town this year to give artists a chance to paint the historic architecture in Escalante,” Larsen says. Artists can work within one mile of the park, making it possible to paint scenes of the town, the surrounding landscape, or both.

Each artist then submits one piece for the Plein Air Painting Competition and Exhibition, which hangs in the Escalante Community Center September 28-29. Additional paintings created during the week are sold at the artists’ booth outside the Community Center. An awards ceremony is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, with $8,000 in prizes awarded.

Last year’s winner of the Artists’ Choice award was Utah landscape painter Brad Holt. “We’re excited to have Holt as the featured artist this year,” Larsen says. “He has been with us since the beginning and is a great artist and a wonderful guy.” Holt recently returned to painting after many years of pursuing other interests and careers. The artist says he rediscovered the joy of painting when he “stopped trying to record the world and learned to let each painting cohere within itself as an object of beauty.” —Lindsay Mitchell

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Featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition
Or click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!


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